FOX NEWS BRACES ITSELF FOR CHANGE…. Over the last eight years, Fox News has had it pretty good with a very friendly White House. Not only would Fox News get access and interview opportunities, but the president wanted Fox News aired on Air Force One, and the vice president mandated that every hotel room he stayed in had its televisions already tuned to Fox News (lest he briefly be exposed to another news outlet).

In about 23 hours, that access is going to change quite a bit. Is the Republican network worried about its future? On the contrary, Fox News “seems re-energized,” and some of the network’s “prominent conservative hosts seem invigorated about being back on offense.”

Even some of Fox’s vocal critics think that Fox will thrive in the coming years. “Fox is in a much better position with a liberalish Democrat in the White House than they were with a Republican,” said Eric Alterman, the media columnist for The Nation magazine.

He contends that Fox sells a simple message to its audience. “The things that Obama faces are very complicated and very large, and a lot of things are going to go wrong, especially with the spending levels we’re seeing,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of things that you can point your finger at and say, ‘Yeah, we were right,’ ” he said, referring to critics of Mr. Obama.

“That’s a much simpler thing for them to do,” Mr. Alterman added, “than to defend a failed war and a failed president.”

I think that’s exactly right. Fox News is geared up to cater to its audience — Alan Colmes is gone; Glenn Beck has joined the team; Mike Huckabee has his own show; and Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Roger Ailes have all signed new contracts that will keep them on through the end of Obama’s first term.

Of course they’re “re-energized.” Rich Lowry recently noted, “People get ginned up when the other side is in power,” and pointed to the fact that the National Review‘s circulation increased to 280,000 during the first two years of the Clinton administration, up from 150,000.

Fox News no doubt expects to take advantage of a similar trend, and it’s probably right. There’s a not-insignificant number of people in the country who are saying, “Tell us why Obama’s wrong.” It’s a group of folks who need a cable network, and Fox News will fill the niche.

John Moody, executive vice president for news editorial, disagreed with the notion of Fox as a voice of the opposition to Mr. Obama. He said that the network’s news correspondents would cover Mr. Obama objectively, just as they had Mr. Bush.

Sure, John, tell us another one.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.