Fox News Lost the Election Too, But Let's Not Gloat

To add insult to conservative injury, the right can't even say that its television network won last night. But we shouldn't revel in that too much. 

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To add insult to conservative injury, the right can't even say that its television network won last night. This year's election coverage winner was the typically ratings-starved CNN, not America's most-watched yet somehow not "mainstream" outlet, Fox News. With 8.8 million total viewers over the evening (7pm-2am), 4.4 million of them in the key 25-54 demographic, CNN was firmly triumphant, not a frequent occurrence in the world of cable news. So the Republicans couldn't even get that right! It really was a bloodbath.

Which isn't to say that CNN is the left's network, of course. We'd have to grudgingly say that MSNBC fits that bill, and it is against MSNBC's inherent nature to ever perform well in the ratings. But CNN is certainly a far less right-wing outlet than Fox, with its Karl Rove freakouts and whatnot. (A ratings loser Fox may have been last night, but it was the best theater of the evening.) So just as the day of a new electorate dawns, so too does an era when Fox News's blaring sensationalism doesn't lead the way. (For a night.) It feels good, doesn't it? Bask in the glow for a minute but then move on. We shouldn't gloat too much. About any of this. It's not just that excessive gloating is unbecoming, which it is, it's that that kind of smug poor sportsmanship only serves to set up for future comeuppance and embarrassment.

This is a pendulum, basically, and the big clobbering arm of political anguish will soon enough come swinging back at us. Maybe it will simply be four more years of an intractable House of Representatives that brings it back, or another onslaught of crass attempts to delegitimize the president. Or there could be something more concrete and specific. An(other) epic blunder by the administration, a tremendous and damaging gaffe, some untidy foreign affair suddenly popping up. Whatever it is, that is when all our nyah-nyah-nyahing will come back to smack us. And it's exponential, you know. It will be worse than what we sent out, because this animus can only grow as it passes back and forth between the warring tribes. So best to leave it alone.

It's hard to be that principled, of course. Especially when there are all the Twitter sadsacks and schadenfreudically hilarious websites weeping away today. But we must try not to taunt others in their grief and petulant anger. Yes, because any effort to elevate political discourse to a remotely humane level is a worthy one, but mostly, more tangibly, because it only gives them ammo to send it back to us some inevitable day in the future. Honestly? The thing that scared me most, on a day-to-day level, about the prospect of a Romney victory was the unending rubbing of our noses in the loss that the other side would assuredly engage in. Now now, right-thinking reader. Don't jump to say that you would never do that. Because of course you would. And we don't blame you. But we can certainly anticipate you. So if we don't play the sucks to be you game today, maybe you won't play it tomorrow? It's possible!

We're all allowed a little glee, of course. We all have our own little pincushions that have been meanly fun to poke at today. (Brian Kilmeade looked like someone stole his Big Wheels.) But let's not go overboard. Let's take the higher road: We're sorry for your loss, Fox. And, y'know, everyone else. We've been there before and we know the pain of it. We will not taunt you as much as we may want to, but that means you can't taunt us too much come 2016 or whenever. (Please don't be 2016...) That's the social bargain we'll strike. And we will try our damnedest to hold up our end of it. Just give us one last little check of the #tcot tag on Twitter and we'll be done. We swear. Totally done.

Oh screw it. Look at this crazy video you guys! Hahaha.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.