Fox News falls to third place in the ratings after years on top, while CNN takes number one spot

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After a news-filled January, CNN took the top spot in cable news ratings, while Fox News fell to number three. The future of both networks remains an open question. Photo by Ayushπ, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Long the king of cable news, Fox News has fallen behind competitors CNN and MSNBC in ratings. The right-leaning network started losing viewers when Trump attacked Fox in November for correctly calling Arizona in favor of Joe Biden. Disappointed in Trump’s loss, some former Fox fans have left to seek even more right-wing content on One America News Network and Newsmax. 

Loss of viewers isn’t Fox News’ only worry. The network is also facing a $2.7 billion lawsuit from election technology company Smartmatic. The company alleges Fox News hosts Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro made false and defamatory statements about the company on air. Another voting systems company, Dominion, has already sued Rudy Giuliani and is said to be working on filing additional lawsuits against Fox News. 

Meanwhile, CNN ratings soared in January during an especially busy news month that included an insurrection and President Biden’s inauguration. The network much maligned by Trump is now number one. 

The head of CNN, Jeff Zucker, has announced he will stay at the company through the end of 2021, when his contract expires. The timing of the announcement is a bit strange. Who announces they are leaving a job in 10 months? But some people wonder if this is an attempt for Zucker to keep his name in the news and try to replace Jason Kilar as the head of WarnerMedia. It’s an open secret that Zucker and Kilar do not get along, and John Stankey, the head of parent company AT&T, is said to favor Zucker.

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Kim Masters

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Kaitlin Parker