The birther movement and town hall protests against health care reform have dominated news coverage in the early days of August. But as the GOP is increasingly seen as a fringe party with falling national support, viewership and profit for the right-leaning Fox News has exploded. The channel reported a 50 percent increase in profit last quarter, and as Gawker discovers, the relationship between GOP support and Fox News is something like a see-saw. The lower the GOP dips, the higher the FNC rises.
The GOP recently notched its lowest approval rating in half a century, notes John Cook, who also compiled this graph.
It's interesting to compare this figure to the evidence I recently found that CNBC's viewership declined as market volatility eased. It's best to think of channels like Fox News and CNBC as more like the Weather Channel and less like NBC. National disasters bring viewers in torrents, which means their fortunes rise and fall with a sense of crisis -- and for Fox News' core viewership, it's clear their party is crisis-mode. I'm sure that if you looked at profit margins for mags like National Review and the Weekly Standard, you'd find a similar profit bump.
"The more viewers Fox attracts, the more voters the GOP repels," Cook writes. I suppose that's technically true-ish, but I'd reverse the clauses. As the GOP collapses into itself, it's core self-identifiers are grasping for the outlets that unfailingly keep the faith. You know what they say about Fox holes.