Reuters is reporting that the Vice-President of the Fox Business Network, Kevin Magee, has distributed a memo to his staff admonishing them for being too much like their sister network, Fox News.
Magee: “I’ve been asked to remind you all again that they are separate channels and the more we make FBN look like FNC the more of a disservice we do to ourselves. I understand the temptation to imitate our sibling network in hopes of imitating its success, but we cannot. If we give the audience a choice between FNC and the almost-FNC, they will choose FNC every time.”
Excellent advice. CNN, which has been trying hard to emulate Fox News, should take this advice to heart.
The Reuters article implies that it was Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News, who asked Magee to issue this reminder. FBN has been floundering in the ratings despite optimistic predictions by Rupert Murdoch and others that it would be trouncing CNBC by now. Not only have they not reached that goal, CNBC is pulling in about three times as many viewers.
The curious part of this memo is that it comes in the form of a reminder, as if the network were attempting to focus on business news all along and simply got distracted. That can hardly be asserted when the network’s programming consists of fare that was obviously never intended to be anything but political. They start their day with three hours of Don Imus. That segues in to the overt partisanship of Stuart Varney. In the afternoon they feature right-wing blowhard Neil Cavuto, Libertarian wacko and 9/11 Truther Andrew Napolitano, and immigrant basher Lou Dobbs. The primetime lineup is capped by Glenn Beck wannabe, Eric Bolling. Reminding these conservative evangelists to be less political is like asking a skunk not to stink.
Illustrating their new-found commitment to business journalism, FBN carried the Reuters story about Magee’s memo briefly, but later scrubbed it without explanation leaving a broken link (here is the cached version). Apparently an article reporting that Fox News ought not to be the model for a network ostensibly about business and finance was too much for FBN. And they probably weren’t thrilled about reporting the dismal ratings data either.
What an adorable irony that FBN, after being scolded by their own management for being to Fox Newsy, behaved identically to Fox by censoring the article. Now, do you really think that their lineup of uber-rightist anchors and pundits is going to stick strictly to business in the future? Don’t bet on it.