Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 3 March 2011

The Sky Falls In

To no-one’s surprise, Jeremy Hunt the Culture secretary (hat-tip to the Reverend Spooner) has more or less nodded through Rupe’s bid for the part of BSkyB that he does not yet own. The only hurdle for the UK Media’s best known interfering foreigner now is to get hold of the broadcaster without having to stump up too much (the initial 700p a share bid has already been rejected by the independent directors, and it is thought that ten quid a share might be more reasonable).

So did Rupe and his troops make any concessions? They did throw the coalition dog a bone in the shape of Sky News (“first for breaking wind”), which will be spun off into another company and thereby retain its independence. So it might be thought that the prospect of a UK version of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) would therefore be avoided.

And that would be to seriously underestimate Murdoch. Fox News, as its management like to point out, is not a pure news operation, as Sky News purports to be. Much of the Fox News output is in the “opinion” strand: the channel’s morning show Fox And Friends is in this category, as are the shows hosted by Megyn Kelly (America Live), Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta van Susteren.

In fact, the only weekday “news strand” content on Fox News is seven hours in the daytime and early evening. The ten hours plus covered by the shows already described overshadows it by some way, and it is this “opinion” programming that brings in the biggest audiences.

But, so what? Well, now that Sky News is being separated from BSkyB, there is nothing to stop Rupe and his troops putting on a channel of what Daily Show host Jon Stewart described as “opinutainment”. After all, Sky News will be a different entity, so there can be no confusion as to which is “news” and which is “not news” as Stewart put it.

Just what that might look like can be gleaned from this clip where the protests in Madison, Wisconsin are routinely exaggerated. State senator walks past chanting demonstrators, Fox And Friends talks of “angry mob”, “violent”, caption says “bullying”. Rupert Murdoch may now be a little closer to bringing that to the UK.

No comments: