New Management To “Reinvent” Fox News
Fox News has given in. Bill O’Reilly has been dismissed—with not even so much as a farewell episode. Once again, a great man convicted, with no evidence or proof beyond The Seriousness Of The Charge. And as I said before, maybe there’s an off chance that he is guilty—that’s not the point. The point is that he was convicted without a trial, so as To Avoid Further Controversy.
Many have pointed out how suspicious the chain of events are. The New York Times (a former newspaper) lets out the story with the Holy Grail of “sexual harassment allegations”…of the past…never brought up for years—
And almost immediately, advertisers back off from The Factor like the plague. Because of The Seriousness Of The Charge…and To Avoid Further Controversy.
Well, Bill’s gone. And the question is: Now what?
Specifically, now what for Fox News?
Read this…and prepare for your blood to run cold:
With the ouster of Roger Ailes and now Bill O’Reilly, Rupert Murdoch’s son has overthrown his own network as he moves to reinvent the family company’s profit machine at great risk.
…Fox News is a business he should not be in, [James Murdoch] had told people before, despite its major contribution to 21st Century Fox’s bottom line —20 percent of its profits came from Fox News last year, the biggest-earning division in the company. Presumably, he meant the in-your-face world of conservative cable news with its mega personalities. Indeed, James regarded many of the people at Fox News as thuggish Neanderthals and said he was embarrassed to be in the same company with them.
But, likewise, it would be hard to imagine how James could have been regarded with more contempt by many of the people at Fox News. James was rather exhibit No. 1 of the liberal elite entitlement that Fox had so profitably programmed against.
…When the O’Reilly story hit the Times, he overrode his father and brother again — and, by the same method he had used with Ailes, hiring a Democratic-associated law firm, Paul Weiss, to perform a rubber-stamp investigation. (In neither the Ailes nor O’Reilly investigations were the targets of the investigation interviewed.)
It was, he proudly told friends, a right decision rather than a business decision.
Try this: Turns out this is also part of a major power play for James Murdoch, to effectively take over his father’s channel. So what direction does James Murdoch have, for His New Empire?
…[M]ost immediately, this means that Fox News, that constant irritant in James’ view of himself as a progressive and visionary television executive, will begin to change. Virtually overnight.
In some sense, with the ouster of Ailes and now O’Reilly, James has overthrown his own network. With them there, both men possessing vast industry, institutional, political and corporate powers, it would have been impossible for the owner’s jejune son to have forced change. Now with them gone it’s nearly a clean slate. Fox News must become something else. The almost certain instant erosion of Fox’s prime time audience, built on the spillover of O’Reilly’s long-unbeaten 8:00 hour, means the existential moment begins, practically speaking, immediately.
…Where Fox News is [currently] parochial and America First, the new global brand is worldly and unlimited. It will give his family’s company, once the pirate company, new meaning and new stature — a force for stability instead of upheaval. Murdoch media, in an age of populist disruption, will stand for the established world order.
…[W]here his father took risks in defiance of the respectable world, James, with some kind of head-smacking irony, is now risking the profits and influence his father created (with no small help from Ailes and O’Reilly) in pursuit of some ultimate respectability.
Screaming inside? You should be.
(Incidentally, James is allegedlythe main culprit in that old British phone hacking scandal…. Why he has any credibility in “cleaning house” is beyond me.)
Essentially, James Murdoch says that he wants make Fox more like Sky News—also owned by Rupert, but far more “straight news”, like CNN used to be before all that slow-witted lack of professionalism took hold.
Meanwhile, where do Conservatives go for a TV news channel? Remember, the entire point of Fox News in the first place was to satisfy the en masse desperation for 1) fair and balanced reporting, and 2) a place for Conservative commentators to provide an antidote for all the nonsense of the “mainstream” media. That was why it became the powerhouse that it is—it was actual competition! It was something different—a different perspective from all the other channels, where it was just a question of “How far to the Left is it?”
Taking that sense of difference off the table means taking away the reasons for Fox’s success. After all, what’s the success rate of giving people the Same-Old-Same-Old, just under another label?
Remember “New Coke”?
Assuming James Murdoch keeps the “fair and balanced” part—and considering his apparent need for approval among “friends”, that’s a really big “if”—what about the remaining commentators we know and love? What about Sean Hannity, and Greg Gutfeld, and Tucker Carlson, and all the rest? (I should add that the beloved RedEye—that classic early-morning comedy outing—has been quietly taken off the air, replaced with reruns of shows broadcast earlier in the day).
A lot of people suspect Sean will be next. He doesn’t think so—noting his contract carries him through to December 2020. Still, assuming this Bill O’Reilly nonsense is nonsense, I wouldn’t assume Sean’s 100% safe. The era of proof and Innocent Until Proven Guilty is over, after all.
Provided, of course, you’re on the Right.
All right—look. This is precisely what Andrew Klavan’s often warned us about: We’ve been complacent with one channel on TV, not even bothering to try for anything more. Now, we’re seeing the consequences of that neglect. Fox News is teetering on the brink of destruction…and there’s no clear successor to take the reins, with unapologetic Conservative financiers who’ll hold the line.
So…where do we go from here?
“Well, it’s obvious, Eric—online!”
Obvious, is it? First, do you really think those internet channels get that kind of audience? Second, do any of them have “full-day” programming?
All right—from what I hear, Newsmax is now making inroads onto cable. Alas, it isn’t quite as “glossy” as Fox is.
The Blaze has long showed promise—and Glenn Beck’s dream has been to get it on standard cable, like Fox. But he’s hit roadblock after roadblock on that. The latest, of course, is the whole mutual misunderstanding over Tomi Lahren.
CRTV has barely gotten out of the gate, and already it’s parted ways with Mark Steyn, for some reason. It’s struggling, regardless.
I hate to say it, folks, but unless we see some of those half-channels conglomerating under one banner, I just don’t see it.
Still…there is hope. Remember, not too long ago, the new head of NBC News indicated he’d like to bring MSNBC to the Right—making it “the next Fox News”? Now, wouldn’t that be ironic—Fox goes Left, and the ratings plummet; MSNBC goes Right, and ratings skyrocket.
There’s also One America News Network—and they had the right idea from the beginning. But they’re on those high-number packages. Most people aren’t for that….so OANN had better find a way to go “standard”, and quick.
See, wherever the replacement arises, we need it to reach the masses—not just already-Conservative web surfers who already know about it. And that means we need investors—investors—investors.
Why don’t the Koch Brothers go full throttle with this? It’s a golden opportunity for them, now—lot of profits to be made, taking the reins from Fox. Maybe take OANN and supercharge it to the standard packages. Or finance The Blaze, or Newsmax, or CRTV—or best of all, more than one, combined! Bring on Ben Shapiro, Andrew Klavan, Bill Whittle and his crew, Alfonzo Rachel, and all the others. Do it all, for goodness sake—the Left has so many news outlets; why can’t we?
And while we’re at it, some other efforts we desperately need to do. We need a Comedy Central for our side—ideally with Greg Gutfeld (especially with Fox crumbling), Steven Crowder, Gavin McInnis, Tom Shillue, Michael Lotus, and of course the great Dennis Miller. Just imagine, the return of Dennis Miller Live, where we can once again hear the immortal “I don’t wanna go on a rant, here…” And maybe, for “credibility”, Jay Leno’s comeback. Just to name a few.
We need an entertainment network, with good TV shows. Glenn’s experimented with reality shows—Mike Rowe is almost a given. But we need fictional programming, too: dramas on par with Breaking Bad, sitcoms on par with Last Man Standing and The Carmichaels.
Too hard to start a new channel and make it reach the general public? Then for goodness sake—get involved in the channels that already exist! Again, look at MSNBC’S new direction, and the promise it shows. The belly of the beast, mind you—don’t tell me it can’t be done!
And as for the elephant in the room: What about Bill O’Reilly?
Well, it’ll all depend, I suppose, on whether there is any proof in the first place. I somehow suspect it’ll end up like the lynching of Herman Cain—the accusers mysteriously vanish in a split second, now that the damage is done. If that doesn’t happen, and proof somehow does show up…well, alas.
But if it all turns out to be a witch hunt, Bill comes back stronger than ever—and becomes the face of whatever replacement for Fox arises from the ashes. Perhaps Glenn will bring his old friend onto The Blaze. Perhaps the full-channel appeal of OANN will draw Bill there. But regardless, as Obi-Wan would say: “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
Oh, and in the meantime, James Murdoch…
Eric was raised by Conservative Christian parents, but first became especially passionate about politics in high school, through reading up on economic theory. He also first read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged around this time, for the ARI's essay contests. He now owns a great deal of Ayn Rand's work. Also included in his library are the collected works of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, etc.
Eric is no stranger to writing commentary, as the writer of the Conservative Considerations column on CampCampaign.com, and as a film critic and commentator on FlickRev.com. He has also carried on the Conservative tradition of talk radio commentary, as the host of "Avengers of America" for the USF student radio station, Bulls Radio. In the meantime, he is practicing what he preaches: Striving to enter the professional realm of Hollywood, he has already written and directed short films for the Campus MovieFest, which can be found on his YouTube channel, Hard Boiled Entertainment.
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