Today is the first anniversary of the debut of the Fox Business Network, Rupert Murdoch’s newest propaganda platform. Ratings for the network are still so low that, even after a year, Nielsen cannot certify their reliability and they are not published. When numbers were leaked earlier this year they revealed a pitiful performance that drew only 8,000 daytime viewers, and 20,000 in prime time. CNBC, by contrast, drew an average of 284,000 viewers during the day and 191,000 in prime time.
This hasn’t stopped Murdoch from pursuing his ambition for a business channel that would be…
“…more business-friendly than CNBC. That channel leap[s] on every scandal, or what they think is a scandal.”
Ironically, the network that was hatched to put a rosy hue on business news appears to have had the opposite effect on the financial world into which it was born. The week that FBN launched the Dow Jones was at an all-time high. Since then the Dow, which also became the property of Murdoch when he purchased it along with the Wall Street Journal, has plummeted 33%.
Is it mere coincidence that the markets went straight down immediately after having been touched by Murdoch’s bony, demon finger? The first week that FBN was on the air the Dow dropped over 500 points. That should have served as a warning of the devastation yet to come.
On July 13, 2007, FBN’s Managing Editor, Neil Cavuto, disputed reports of the economy’s weakness saying that he “[didn’t] believe a word of it.” Cavuto previously downplayed the significance of the credit crunch, saying that, because “this ‘meltdown’ affects roughly 4 percent of all mortgages out there” there wasn’t really any problem at all. He then blamed market declines on John Edwards, who was running a distant third in the Democratic primaries at the time, but apparently still had superhuman powers over the stock market.
Cavuto’s colleague, Bill O’Reilly, recently asserted that the market was tanking because traders were pricing in a presumed Obama victory in November. [For the record, the market has performed better during Democratic administrations than Republicans for the past 107 years. And investments accrue more under Democrats]. O’Reilly also has a spotty record of financial analysis. He lambasted General Electric’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, with whom O’Reilly is obsessed, saying that he didn’t know how Immelt kept his job after GE’s stock dropped 36%. But O’Reilly must not have noticed that News Corp., the parent of Fox News was itself down 38% – even worse than GE. Maybe he should be asking how Murdoch keeps his job.
So in honor of FBN’s first birthday, investors and news consumers should be aware that this is the sort of credibility you can expect from Fox News and FBN which calls itself: The Network You Can’t Afford To Miss. It’s more like: The Network You Can’t Afford To Watch.