As Coronavirus Panic Spreads, Fox News Issues 1st Tweet in 16 Months

One of the biggest names in television has returned to Twitter after a bizarre and prolonged absence that was without any real explanation.
Fox News issued its first tweet since 2018 on Wednesday, reminding its more than 18 million followers that it has the latest news regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
“Keep up with all the latest COVID-19 news, including tips on keeping safe and stories of survival, struggle and inspiration, at and watch Fox News Channel on television or online – no authentication required,” the verified Fox News account tweeted.
Keep up with all the latest COVID-19 news, including tips on keeping safe and stories of survival, struggle and inspiration, at  and watch Fox News Channel on television or online – no authentication required.
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There was never any genuine explanation given as to why the cable TV juggernaut and conservative fan favorite left the Twittersphere.
Some have speculated that Fox executives were upset after members of the radical, far-left group antifa posted the home address of Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Twitter in 2018.
“Fox News’ refusal to use the social media platform coincides with the doxing of host Tucker Carlson’s address on it and a large group of Antifa protesters showing up at Carlson’s home in early November,” Claude Thompson wrote in the Washington Examiner in December 2018. “This is the suspected reason for the conservative-leaning cable news network choosing to avoid Twitter, but they continue to not confirm for certain.
“A content manager for Tribune Media, Scott Gustin, tweeted back in November that he was told by a Fox employee that the decision to silence the Twitter accounts was made ‘from the highest level’ and that the silence would persist until the company removed tweets of Carlson’s address and apologized for improperly handling the incident.”
The report was never confirmed by anyone working directly for Fox News.
Instead, the network simply ceased posting on the social media platform — until Wednesday, that is.
Regardless of why Fox News went dark on Twitter for 18 months, the question that comes to mind is: Why is Fox back now?
Why would it make its return to Twitter on a March afternoon in the midst of a public health and economic emergency?
Variety reported that Fox News executives, by opting to return to Twitter, hope to “help disseminate information to people who may be isolated in their homes and help answer questions about coronavirus submitted by viewers.”
If true, kudos to Fox for reaching out to its viewers in a troubled time.
But I have another theory for the return of the cable news giant: Large-scale and protracted national events can be worth a ton of money.
That wouldn’t make Fox bad or an anomaly. It would just mean the network is one of many players at a crowded table all making a play for a portion of a single pie.
With the world in a frenzy over public health and economic concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic, Fox has been leaving money on that table in choosing to sit on the sidelines on Twitter.
There was a time, not long ago, where I had a seat at the table of the daily editorial meetings while working in TV news.
During one of my final meetings, a media consultant advised me that learning to properly utilize and harness the power of social media is the “future” of television news.
While networks, for now, can rely on trusted and loyal viewers, those viewers will soon grow smaller in number as they age out of advertiser-targeted demographics.
Thus, networks must look to social media not only to spread content to younger people but also to encourage those young people to tune in to what is essentially a dying business model.
The strategy is one of buying time as the standard TV news business adjusts to changes in emerging technology, demographics and viewing habits.
A news director told me a number of years ago that TV news, in its current form, wouldn’t survive another 20 years. I tend to agree.
While I certainly enjoy the current Fox primetime lineup of Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, I also understand that Fox News is a business — and businesses cannot survive without capital.
Ratings drive traffic, traffic sells advertisements, and those ads pay the bills.
All news organizations, Fox included, either survive or thrive on how much advertisers are willing to pay them.
Networks are paid nominal sums for being attached to basic programming provider packages, so ratings are essentially everything.
But not all viewers are equal in the eyes of advertisers.
TV news network executives generally decide a majority of their coverage with a specific age demographic in mind. That demographic is people ages 25-54.
Those viewers are coveted by advertisers, who evaluate the health of a program or network largely based on that age group.
While Fox is obviously more friendly to conservative viewers than its cable news competitors, the network is still driven to win the daily battle for not just viewers but the right viewers.
Nielsen ratings released this week demonstrate just how big the battle for viewership is, by virtue of the fact that such information is relevant enough for news headlines.
According to ratings published Wednesday by Mediaite, “Hannity” captured more than 1 million viewers ages 25-54 on Tuesday as Fox won the day by grabbing that key demographic.
By my theory, Fox has chosen to again share its content on Twitter in an attempt not only to monetize recent breaking news but also to attract younger people to the network by offering no-cost, online streaming.

While it is kind of the network to expand its social media presence during the country’s current troubles, it’s likely Fox News is merely adjusting to an evolving landscape — as any smart business should.
As Coronavirus Panic Spreads, Fox News Issues 1st Tweet in 16 Months As Coronavirus Panic Spreads, Fox News Issues 1st Tweet in 16 Months Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on March 20, 2020 Rating: 5

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