It can't be like this ...
This would, effectively, be a UK version of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse), which is a hugely profitable and effective right-wing propaganda machine for the Murdoch mafiosi. So let’s look at what Kel’s garbled info looks like in reality, as revealed by Jim Waterson over at the Guardian. For starters, there are two rivals ready to launch.
“One group is promising a news channel ‘distinctly different from the out-of-touch incumbents’ and has already been awarded a licence to broadcast by the media regulator, Ofcom, under the name ‘GB News’ … A rival project is being devised in the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s British media empire by the former Fox News executive David Rhodes … Both are pitching to a perceived gap in the market”.
As for the presence of Discovery, “Sources with knowledge of the project suggested GB News was in discussions with Discovery about a tie-up, with the potential for an announcement in September”. However, and here we encounter a significantly-sized however, “The challenge both projects face is the UK’s strict broadcast rules on due impartiality, enforced by the media regulator”. Let’s look at how FNC tackles that one.
The Fox News modus operandi was laid out by now former host Bill O’Reilly in a discussion with Jon Stewart: it was, he posited, like the two sections of a newspaper - the straight news part, and the comment section, both being clearly marked in the schedule. While this is true, the “comment” strand of FNC occupies the whole of prime time (2000 hours to 2300 hours Eastern Time, plus the breakfast show Fox and Friends).
... but might be like this ...
Also, that would not get round Ofcom, as witness both FNC and channels like Russia Today falling foul of the rules in the past. But Waterson gives a hint of how the new entrants can deal with Ofcom: what might be called doing a Farage, after the Brexit Party Oberscheissenführer’s seemingly pointless rants to the European Parliament.
Those rants were then parcelled up as stand-alone videos, and promoted via a variety of right-wing, and indeed far-right, social media accounts - plus the press. What Waterson calls “Piers Morgan’s outbursts on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, which regularly become talking points online and drive substantial traffic to tabloid newspapers” use the same idea, as, he notes, do the variously unappealing hosts on Murdoch property TalkRADIO.
... or, most likely, like this
That way, there is less need to stick to the rules: there will no doubt be “balance” - it just won’t get promoted so heavily, if at all. Moreover, it provides one golden opportunity: as Waterson notes, Piers Morgan uses his platform at ITV to help out his old media pals. Yes, here we have a Trojan Horse for a beleaguered press establishment.
What we get might not be like Fox News Channel (a small mercy for which to be thankful), but there is serious method in this media madness. I’ll just leave that one there.
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