To the editor:

Fox News is fond of telling its watchers that "they are the  No. 1 watched cable news channel," implying, somehow, they must be the best.


Several years ago I had a job at WRKO radio, working as an executive assistant for the conservative Gene Burns program. I was excluded from being a producer as, at the time, I was a Canadian citizen and it was forbidden by law (because of the fear of foreigners interfering in our news sources). This is especially ironic considering Russia's current efforts at distortion.
 
Gene was a meticulous reader of many sources before the topic of the day was discussed, with several of us doing the research.
 
When discussing politics with several locals, inevitably if they are on the right, they cite the fact that Fox Chanel is  No. 1. TV and radio channels' most important metric is ad revenue, which is driven by the numbers of viewers or listeners.
 
Fox has made an economic decision to capture most of the conservatives, and let the other sources split the moderates and left-wingers. Asserting that Fox is best because it has more viewers is like claiming "Gilligan's Island" was better than "Masterpiece Theatre."
 
Most people, on the right and left of political opinion, like to listen to people who agree with them and mock the other side. Fox News tells them what they want to hear: China is paying for rising tariffs; Immigrants are taking your jobs; Ukraine, not Russia, is interfering in our elections. This appeals to our confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is like a good back rub: no need to do research or listen to opposing opinion by the lying others, or even professional economists or our intelligence service chiefs.
 
Recently, I overheard a political discussion with a lady asserting that she only watches the No. 1 cable news channel, and when asked if she checked with any other source, exclaimed that, "of course, I also read Breitbart on the internet." The well-trodden path of a right-wing intellectual.
 
Susan Rheault
North Conway
 
 
 

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