每日英語跟讀 Ep.K086: As Fox News Struggles at Home, Murdoch Brings Its Playbook to the U.K.
Beset by declining ratings, upheaval in its on-air ranks and a multibillion-dollar defamation suit related to its election coverage, Fox News is staggering out of the Trump era — blamed by many for seeding the poisonous political culture that brought a violent mob into the halls of the U.S. Capitol.
Yet in Britain, where television news is regulated to avoid political bias, Rupert Murdoch and a competing group of investors are seizing this moment to create two upstart news services that will challenge the BBC and other broadcasters by borrowing heavily from Murdoch’s Fox playbook.
Though these ventures are in competition, they share Murdoch DNA.
Murdoch’s entrant, the less ambitious of the two, hopes to exploit what its executives see as a gap in the British market for edgy commentary and personality-driven programs. The rival venture — GB News, which has different backers but is stocked with veterans of the Murdoch empire — calculates there is an audience for a channel that rejects what it views as the left-leaning political correctness of the BBC.
“British news broadcasting is pretty much a one-party state,” said Andrew Neil, who is the chairman of GB News and will host a prime-time show. “They all come at stories from various shades of left.”
Pronouncements like that set off alarm bells for some British commentators. While Britain has long had a freewheeling, unabashedly partisan newspaper industry, critics say the last thing it needs after Brexit is a Fox-like news channel — one that could sow further divisions and open the door to the kinds of conspiracy theories nurtured by former President Donald Trump, and amplified by Fox.
Last month, critics began an online campaign to pressure cellular carriers, banks and other advertisers to boycott GB News.
Neil struck back at what he called the “woke warriors,” pointing out that they were trying to cancel a channel that had yet to air a program. GB News, he said, would cover issues from the “center, perhaps the center right” — not the hard-right like Fox. Its shows will offer diverse voices and stick to facts, he insisted.
Even if these new services tilt to the right, some journalists say there is little to fear, so long as they avoid spreading false news.
“It is at least plausible to argue that the BBC is seen as being institutionally left of center,” said Simon Jenkins, a columnist for The Guardian. “To that extent, it is plausible to say there is room for something that is right of center.”
Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5282939
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