I was speaking in a Caribbean nation two weeks ago and enjoying fellowship with a long time US pastor friend, Dean Harvey, and a number of Latin leaders. Every evening before the teaching sessions, a few of us enjoyed dinner together in the central home on the campus, then slipped into a nearby room to watch the evening news.
Our Latin guests—and we two Americans—turned the channel to Fox News.
A number of evenings we watched Glenn Beck. All of us were amazed at how much he talked about God, faith, America’s heritage, and how important it was for the United States to experience renewal. During one commercial break, Fox ran a station message that made the eyes of our Hispanic friends bug out. The beautifully-photographed ad celebrated America’s faith, moral character, freedom, and commitment to fight evil around the world.
One Hispanic leader practically jumped out of her seat and exclaimed: “I need to show that commercial to my staff. That’s exactly what we need in Latin America!”
This leader was learning what many Americans had discovered.
Fox News shares their values, and has quietly become by “remote control voting” the number one news outlet in the United States.
Two week before, I was in the nation of Mongolia which is a poor, land-locked country with a growing, first generation church and rapidly developing economy. One of the major television outlets in that remote Asian nation is Eagle TV, started ten years ago by American missionaries.
While ministering in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, my local guests and friends were also watching Fox News. They, too, were learning the value of faith in God, family, personal liberty, and free enterprise. Fox News was their media life-line to those treasured concepts. The government station in Mongolia still has communist sympathies.
But the new generation of Mongols are watching Fox–and wanting to change their nation.
I can relate.
For all of my adult life I got my news from one of the Big Three—ABC, NBC, or CBS News. As a young adult I enjoyed the banter of “NBC’s Huntley & Brinkley.” Later, I listened to Walter Cronkite with his authoritative-sounding monologues on the CBS Evening News. In mid-life, my anchorman of choice was Peter Jennings, the smooth, slightly-British sounding ABC broadcaster. I noticed that Peter occasionally mentioned God and faith, and ABC featured a “religion reporter.” They seemed to be the closest to my personal worldview.
But Walter Cronkite retired (and Dan Rather was kind of wacky), Peter Jennings died, NBC teamed up with Microsoft and launched a cable news station called MSNBC. But both it and CNN rarely talked about faith, family, and freedom.
Then in 1998, a close Christian friend mentioned it to me that there was a new cable station called “Fox” and said that that I might enjoy the political debates and analysis on a program called “Hannity & Colmes.” Sean Hannity was a passionate conservative commentator and Allen Colmes was a staunch liberal. I did enjoy the honest debate. They offered both sides of an issue, and the overall station seemed to share many of the values that I held dear.
It was a refreshing change.
Then I bumped into Bill O’Reilly and “The Factor.” His show was the most watched program on cable—period. I found Bill honest, blunt, and extremely clear on social and economic issues. I didn’t always agree with him, but he brought on thoughtful guests and interesting segments. I came to trust him as a valuable source of cultural perspective.
Then the “Glenn Beck Show” appeared. Glenn was also a radio broadcaster (like Sean Hannity) who had grown up in the state of Washington, messed up his life through drinking and debauchery, then turned it around and landed a job at CNN. But he didn’t fit there and came over to Fox. He was now a rising star on cable TV, and it was easy to see why.
Glen was entertaining, extremely smart and well-read, and seemed almost biblically prophetic when discussing the problems that America faced as a nation. Over time, he began calling America to return back to God, honor, integrity, respect, and a whole host of other virtues. In August, he used his radio and television platform to host the largest Washington DC gathering during the election year. 500,000 people showed up for a peaceful, character-centered, non-political rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
I believe that in the not-so-distant future, Glenn Beck, might be the number one news show on all of television. He’s on to something.
So is Fox.
And a lot of people are starting to tune in.
In 2008, the Pew Research Center did a study on the breakdown of the Fox News audience. It was interestingly broad:
- 39 percent are Republicans
- 33 percent are Democrats
- 22 percent are Independents.
I’d call that fair and balanced. (If you don’t watch Fox, that is one of their main slogans.)
Then on January 14, 2010, the Public Policy Polling organization, a company that usually works for Democrats, issued a press release with the following headline: “Fox the Most Trusted Name in News.” Here’s a portion of what they had to say:
“Raleigh, N.C.–A new poll asking Americans whether they trust each of the major television news organizations in the country finds that the only one getting a positive review is Fox News. CNN does next best followed by NBC News, then CBS News, and finally ABC News.”
“49% of Americans say that they trust Fox News to 37% who (do not.)…39% say they trust (CNN) compared to 41% who do not…35% trust NBC News, 44% do not…”
“For CBS News the trust percentage was 32%, with 46% not trusting. ABC News clocked in at just 31% trusting, 46% not trusting.”
The PPP poll sampled 1,151 voters on January 18 and 19, 2010. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 2.8%.
It’s pretty clear that in January 2010 the people voted for Fox News.
Here’s a further breakdown of the poll that should send shivers up the backs of secular progressives. Men and women trust Fox News equally. Fifty-three percent of Hispanic Americans trust Fox News, and African-Americans are split: 38% trust Fox and 38% don’t. The rest aren’t sure.
The liberal media would have you believe that the only people that watch Fox are angry old, white, gun-toting men. But that’s a part of the lie. In reality, 61% of Americans ages eighteen to twenty-nine believe that Fox is the best source of fair and truthful reporting.
But it gets worse for the other channels. On November 2, 2010, Fox News’ election coverage was the number one choice of the American electorate for the first time in history. More people wanted to get election results and analysis from Fox than any other cable or broadcast network.
It was historic–and a good sign for America.
I was one of them. I had just flown in from South Korea and switched on Fox election coverage with Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly. Fox interviewed ten conservative commentators and seven liberal ones. I’m sure my colleagues in the Caribbean were also sitting up late watching Fox.
Fair and balanced. That’s the way news should be presented.
So why the great migration to Fox News?
The first reason is that Fox News fundamentally shares the worldview of the majority of American people–a Judeo-Christian view of life. Fox was started by a Catholic businessman, Roger Ailes, who once worked for Ronald Reagan. He’s an astute entrepreneur who loves this country and its founding principles and believes in the Constitution. He’s pro-life and pro-family.
Every person and organization has a pre-dominant worldview. Fox, as opposed to most other cable and broadcast networks, is a center-right institution. America is a center-right country because of our Christian history and foundations. Fox recognizes and celebrates that fact. NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, and CNN do not. They have all become left-to-far-left organizations with a liberal political agenda.
The American people are beginning to wake up to that fact.
Secondly, Fox also believes in fair journalism–that even though each of us has a “default” position, it’s healthy to share many different points of view. Thus, the other major slogan at Fox that is appreciated by more and more people is this: “We Report–You Decide.”
That journalistic balance first attracted me to “Hannity & Colmes.” Sean Hannity generally reflected Christian conservative values, and Alan Colmes intoned a liberal, secular-progressive line. It was interesting and informative to hear them debate and let me decide what was true.
I still appreciate that thoughtful approach today.
Even Fox’s main TV personalities run the gamut of the worldview spectrum. Shephard Smith, the main daytime anchor, is more liberal in his views and most certainly voted for Barack Obama. Greta Van Susteran of “On the Record” also leans liberal, but is very fair minded (she’s an attorney). Bill O’Reilly is a registered Independent who is probably center-right, but is liberal on some issues (e.g. Big Oil and climate change). Sean Hannity is a registered Republican who is definitely conservative. On the other end of the spectrum. Glenn Beck is a non-political libertarian who probably talks about God and faith more than your average church pastor.
Fox also has a full array of contributors who share on a nightly basis–from liberal commentators Bob Bechel and Lanny Davis on the left and Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter on the right.
Fox believes in liberty–the Christian worldview–and justice–being fair to diverse opinions.
Do those qualities some familiar?
Liberty and justice for all.
Now you know why the American people are turning to Fox News.
Until the other news outlets see the light, you might want to do the same.