The Fox News correspondent in London takes a look at British television coverage of the United States and not surprisingly isn’t impressed with the current rash of programmes about America.
Going off at a tangent here, I’ve often wondered what a British version of Fox News would be like. After all it is odd that given Murdoch’s presence across the UK media there hasn’t been an attempt to try something similar.
Thankfully the Murdoch operation in the UK, Sky News, is nothing like Fox. It is the source I usually turn to if I want to catch something live or follow a big, breaking story – it enjoys trust and credibility. The only slightly Foxy thing about Sky is Richard Littlejohn’s show, but even that just smacks of a token gesture.
Until recently I used to think that such a channel would be a tv version of The Sun, with loads of EU-bashing and raging about the latest tabloid moral panic but these days if someone decided to try and replicate the Fox News strategy in the UK – populist, with heavy editorialising, little attempt at balanced reporting or objectivity, sensationalist and trading in stereotypes, the irony is that it would surely produce exactly the kind of programming that the Fox London correspondent objects to.
For a start, it would take an obsessively critical approach to the US, which would appeal across most of the political spectrum from Galloway groupies to Douglas Hurd Tories. Does anyone need convincing that there is a market for that? Regular updates on Bush’s latest gaffes, reports from Iraq under the branded logo “Quagmire Latest”, little gags from the studio presenters about the lack of WMD, a feature on how fat Americans are and then the ‘No-Spin Zone’ with Piers Morgan and Michael Moore.
Sport coverage, while obviously drawn heavily from Sky’s soccer rights deals, would also regularly include bemused snippets from American sports with much sniggering about the amount of ‘armour’ American ‘footballers’ wear, reminders that Britain invented baseball (its rounders stupid!) and of course “They even call it a World Series when they are the only ones playing” (Rather like their Coalitions of the Willing – ha, ha, ha, ha, right Michael?)
Culture features: Is Rammstein’s “Amerika” a reflection of Europe’s growing antipathy to the States? Hip-Hop: Cool except for when Israelis rap “the music of alienation is in danger of becoming one of aggression and oppression”. Cinema: What will be the next Fahrenheit 9-11? Michael?
Perhaps this explains why Murdoch hasn’t launched a UK version of Fox. No, I don’t mean that he would have a problem with making money out of a ludicrous Republican propaganda channel in the States and a ludicrously anti-American channel in the UK, this is Murdoch we are talking about after all.
No, the problem is that for once Murdoch is too late – the market is already saturated.