As the saga of the Murdoch mafia’s latest attempt to get its hands on the 61% of Sky that it does not yet own rumbles on, an interesting diversion arrived yesterday in the shape of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse) - or rather its disappearance. Because the decision has been taken that Sky will cease to carry the FNC feed, after 15 years of it being available. The decision has been taken on commercial grounds - allegedly.
The Guardian juxtaposed the two items nicely: “21st Century Fox announced it would withdraw Fox News from Sky in the UK on Tuesday saying that it no longer sees the service as commercially viable … The decision comes as Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, is set to return her verdict on whether to ask the competition regulator to launch an investigation into the Murdochs’ adherence to broadcasting standards in the UK as part of a probe into Fox’s £11.7bn takeover bid of Sky”.
A spokeswoman claimed “[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK … Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK”. There were, it was alleged, a mere 2,000 FNC viewers here.
However, as the Guardian also notes, “the channel has been put under the spotlight in the last year with Ofcom, the media regulator, making a number of rulings against Fox News broadcasts … In the past decade Fox has notched up 22 breaches of its licence and Ofcom’s codes and rules. Of those, seven were against Fox News, with four last year including against a programme which featured a guest who said that Birmingham was a city ‘where non-Muslims just simply don’t go’”.
Moreover, the BBC has added “The company source said that Fox News had about 2,000 average daily viewers, and that the costs of distributing the US network meant it was not in 21st Century Fox's commercial interests to continue … However, figures from the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that Fox News' average daily viewing figures were nearly 60,000 per day this year”.
In any case, what are these “distribution costs” that the Murdoch empire deems so onerous? They just bundle the feed in with Sky News, find it a channel and … ah yes, bundled with Sky News. Therefore easily associated not so much with Sky News, but the people who want to take over Sky. And FNC has been riven with allegations of misogyny, misbehaviour and worse among its staff - even before the bias of the content comes up.
How convenient for a channel that tells you what a world of 100% Murdoch ownership means, which has Rupert Murdoch as its current CEO, and shills incessantly for not only the right, but the white right, the white Christian and evangelical right, to be extinguished - but only in the country where its presence might be a party pooper for the Sky takeover.
Whoever is placing evidence before Karen Bradley, and anyone else involved in assessing the Sky bid, should ensure this move does not prevent the culture secretary getting the fullest possible view of Fox News in all its magnificence.
The Murdoch mafiosi cannot be permitted to sweep their sins under the censorship carpet.