For cable news, Donald Trump is no longer the gift that keeps on giving.
At first he was, but now big change is in the air - and it’s all because of the President.
When Mr. Trump initially announced his candidacy for President, the curiosity factor drove millions of Americans to watch him on cable news.
The shock of seeing a flamboyant political neophyte take on well known pols like Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee was immediate.
Then came the Republican debates - and the sight of Mr. Trump diminishing his opposition in very personal ways, blew up decorum.
This was reality TV at it’s best and viewers flocked to it.
There was Trump calling Governor Bush boring to his face. Senator Rubio became “Little Marco.” Carly Fiorina was labeled unattractive by Mr. Trump.
Anything could happen at any time.
The arrogant, mostly liberal national press dismissed Donald Trump as a vulgarian but gave him constant exposure. He was good for ratings and was destroying the Republican Party in the process. Both positive things for the media chieftains.
But then Trump won the nomination and faced Hillary Clinton.
Once again the establishment TV news media derided Trump but hung on his every word. He remained great for business and couldn’t possibly defeat Mrs. Clinton.
They were absolutely certain of that.
But then he won again.
Almost instantly, business plans were put into place. CNN and MSNBC, with a large helping hand from NBC News, set themselves up as the “resistance,” openly demonstrating to their viewers that fair coverage was not even being considered.
The mandate became “destroy Trump.”
Anti-Trump Americans now had two networks that would bash the President non-stop. Because MSNBC was more vicious than CNN, it garnered the biggest audience of the two.
On the other side, Fox News made a corporate decision to support Donald Trump and appeal to the 60 million Americans who voted for him. Because FNC stood almost alone in defending Trump, it remained the highest rated cable news operation - there was no where else for the President’s supporters to go.
But all three cable networks basically stopped covering the news, devoting most of their presentations to Trump. Unending Trump. Always Trump.
Many viewers became exhausted.
So, Fox News has begun losing viewers especially in the 25 to 54 years old category. MSNBC is actually beating FNC in prime time on some nights which rarely happened in the past.
Correction, it never happened.
Many philosophers believe that hate is a stronger emotion than love, and that might be what we are seeing here. The MSNBC people are better haters than the CNN crew although it’s close. MS trounces CNN in the ratings because their Trump loathing is kept at a white hot temperature. It’s almost amusing to watch.
How do they keep it up every hour on the hour?
Fox News allows some of its on air talent to hate Trump too, and that is not sitting well with its core audience who now have alternatives on radio and the net.
But the basic problem with FNC is a lack of entertainment value.
Hating is fun for some; defending the object of hate, not so much.
When Donald Trump leaves the national stage, all three cable news operations will likely decline in a major way. Covering the news fairly and accurately is difficult. Today, cable news doesn’t even try. If you are looking for accurate information and honest perspective, you better bring a strong microscope.
Americans know that. They clearly see what’s happening. And when the blood sport of Trump-era politics finally ends, viewers will not be back for an encore.
They have had it.