People who watch Fox News do not wish to be informed by it; they wish to have their beliefs confirmed. Fox News says to them, “Your fears are justified.”
This “confirmation” issue has been researched by psychologists. It’s not just Fox and its conservative viewership. It happens all over the political spectrum.
The death of Clear Communications caused us to re-plug ourselves into cable TV last year for the first time in close to a decade. I flip on Fox from time to time. I find the single-chair pundits like Hannity and O’Reilly (whilst there) unwatchable; the panel shows like The Five are, though, a different story.
Fox does an extremely good job, in those panel shows, of making you feel like you have a group of your friends sitting in your living room having a lively discussion. I don’t see this sort of televised camaraderie going on on panel shows on any other network, with the singular exception of CNBC. It does not surprise me that they have a very loyal viewer base, particularly amongst retirees, who sometimes are lonesome and need to feel like they have a friend in their living room.
There’s a lot of criticism you can level at Fox; well, at all the news networks, for that matter, some more than others. But there is a particular genius in creating formats and hiring personalities that come across as likeable, rather than snarky or know-it-all, on-air, all while talking politics (where it is very *easy* to come across snarky or know-it-all).
Perhaps some of that matters to your dad. I mean, nobody is going to watch Chris Matthews and confuse him for somebody you’d like to have in your living room for a coffee, knowledgeable as he may be.