BOB GARFIELD (CO-HOST): To recap, we're discussing how the marketplace might force Fox News Channel into responsible behavior — or even into financial catastrophe. Most of that discussion tends to focus on advertiser boycotts. But Media Matters' Angelo Carusone has just redirected our attention to Fox's real cash cow — say “Moo” — it's you.
ANGELO CARUSONE (PRESIDENT & CEO, MEDIA MATTERS FOR AMERICA): They could have zero commercials, and still have a 90% profit margin, because they are the second-most expensive channel on everybody's cable box. And Fox is in the process right now of renegotiating 40 to 50% of all of their contracts.
GARFIELD: Fox commands about $20 per cable subscriber per year — not per viewer, per subscriber. As long as your cable system embraces Fox to deliver its steady, loyal audience, you basic cable subscriber are underwriting Fox & Friends. So, if this is truly an inflection point, it may be that we can't depend on advertisers to inflect, but instead the cable companies themselves. Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon, and so forth.
Yes, imagine your cable company, which you almost certainly hate for reasons that have nothing to do with politics, as a savior of American democracy, like King Kong vs. Godzilla — only Godzilla is late for your service window.
CARUSONE: (Laughs) That's a good way to put it, yes. It is a weird case where you don't know who to root for, but you know the fight needs to happen. If they are able to successfully complete these renegotiations over the next year, and get more money out of it, there's nothing they can do or say that will get them any meaningful consequences and force them to change. This is really the last opportunity that we have to address the role, and the destructive influence, that Fox News played, current plays, and will play in our society.
I don't think we need to censor them, but I do think that there needs to be a recalibration and some meaningful accountability for all the damage that they've created.