The 2024 election is shaping up to be unlike any in American history. While there will be candidates on the ballot, it’s likely going to come down to a battle between two warring factions of…media outlets.
The likely nominees — President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump — will be out there and visible this time (that can’t be taken for granted in Biden’s case), but the real fight will be between Fox News and MSNBC, and perhaps other media outlets that align with them.
Without the media attention (in the case of Trump) or the media assist (in the case of Biden), the likelihood that either of the candidates leading the fight for their party’s nomination would be in that position is pretty slim. But they are in those positions, so the only question that remains is which team of media outlets can drag its candidate across the finish line.
Fox News is the only name that really matters in conservative media any more. Others have influence, but only online, and even there they are dwarfed by Fox. Marketing campaigns aside, nothing on television comes close.
Since the death of Rush Limbaugh, talk radio simply hasn’t mattered. The pretenders filling the airwaves preach to a shrinking choir, uninterested in hearing stories or analysis contrary to what they want to be true. No hard truths or contrary facts make the cut. Everyone is terrified of offending their audiences with bits of a reality listeners don’t want to hear.
Fox News is no different. That’s how you go from “A red wave is coming” to Republicans barely winning the House in 2022. Hosts are doing their audiences a disservice because they’re terrified of losing them. In a world where pandering pays off, where social media makes it easier than ever to reinforce your own preconceptions and ignore all else, the echo chamber effect left everyone scratching their heads after the midterm elections.
If the media personalities they trust had been more honest with them, they probably wouldn’t have been so disoriented.
Conservative outlets celebrated a victory at halftime and lost the game. But they didn’t really lose their audience, which is what they really care about. So they’re back at it now.
The polls were horribly wrong in 2016, so why would anyone think they’d be accurate in 2022? Or ever, for that matter? If the polls were so bad last time, why believe them now? Nothing about them has changed.
The only thing that’s changed is how the Democratic Party’s media is acting. They are determined to drag Biden across the finish line, come hell or high water.
In MSNBC-world, Biden is as pure as the cocaine that Hunter used to buy. Every negative story is just a Republican plot. Trump is history’s greatest monster, as corrupt as the day is long, simply because the groupthink gang at “Morning Joe” declare it to be so.
The left-wing media simply dismiss stories of Biden corruption out of hand. Former Biden press secretary-turned-MSNBC “journalist” Jen Psaki exemplified this when she described allegations against Biden as, “A mysterious and sprawling scandal no one can explain, involving bribery and corruption. Now, there is, of course, no evidence at all to suggest any of it is true.”
Neither Psaki nor any of her colleagues bother trying to explain the allegations or the evidence, so it’s entirely possible their audience has never heard of the money trail or the myriad of LLCs through which the Biden family filters money, companies that provide no goods or services for anyone. But this is just wish-fulfillment for an audience far too loyal to look more closely at anything Biden-related.
I’m not suggesting any of these outlets can make a difference on their own, but they aren’t on their own. They are each part of two different ecosystems, preaching to their respective choirs for the express purpose of keeping butts in the pews.
One of them is going to lose. Will that loss cost them audience? It’s unlikely. After years of promoting the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory and shouting about “walls closing in” on the then-president, MSNBC suffered only a temporary dip in ratings. After preaching a “Red Wave” and going so far as to produce a documentary on one Senate candidate (who lost), Fox saw a drop in ratings only after firing the documentary’s producer, Tucker Carlson. And even that drop was temporary.
The only conclusion that can be drawn is that audiences want to be preached to. And the 2024 election is shaping up to be a duel between the Fox News and the MSNBC choirs. The candidates barely matter, and neither would be in the position he is today were it not for those networks.
Someone is going to win, but we’re all going to lose ultimately if things don’t change.
Derek Hunter is host of the Derek Hunter Podcast and a former staffer for the late Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.).