Fox News wants to maximize its offerings for its so-called “superfans” through the use of a streaming service that’ll be up and running later this year. From a business standpoint, that’s a bright idea. Over the years, the Erik Wemple Blog has interviewed many Fox News viewers whose loyalty to the network shall never be gainsaid. Our favorite Fox News superfan is the Indiana woman who told the Erik Wemple Blog that she watches the network every night from 6 p.m. through 2 a.m., including repeat programming.
To judge from most ratings reports over the past decade and a half, there are many people like her throughout the land. Despite a great deal of internal turmoil in recent years — which is to say, a full-blown sexual-harassment scandal — Fox News has plowed through the Trump era as the first-place purveyor of cable news.
From a civic perspective, however, the so-called “Fox Nation” streaming service is a clunker. That’s because, well, “Hannity.” The over-the-top streaming service could have featured the work of Fox News’s news-side denizens. Like chief White House correspondent John Roberts, who on Tuesday pushed the White House on its response to last week’s school shooting in Florida. Or Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday” who grills guests year round. Or Bill Hemmer, the staple of the morning news program “America’s Newsroom.”
Instead, “Fox Nation” lands on the perilous side of the network’s content wall. Enumerating the atrocities of current Fox News opinionators is far too much work for one individual such as the Erik Wemple Blog. Let’s just highlight Sean Hannity’s dive into the Seth Rich conspiracy; Hannity’s work as, essentially, a White House aide on behalf of President Trump; Hannity’s participation in a video promotion for candidate Trump; Hannity’s use of subpar polling to prove that Trump is rocking; most other things that Hannity does; and a whopping percentage of the programming on the morning show “Fox & Friends,” plus the hypocrisy and dishonesty of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
That’s the part of the house that the network is seeking to favor with “Fox Nation.” “Fox Nation will take a deep dive into the big issues of the day with live exclusive daily streaming content and long-form programming available only to subscribers. Fox Nation will also include access to exclusive events and 20 plus years of archival FNC programming not available anywhere else,” notes the press release for the service.
Would that the offerings merely duplicated much of the trash on Fox News’s opinion programs. That way, at least, the service might not appreciably infect the public with more flimsy theories. But no: The network’s deals with cable providers prohibit such overlap, meaning that “Fox Nation” will have find new ways to stretch the commodity that is Hannity, a guy who already does a radio show every weekday and a TV show every weekday and tweets practically every day. Indeed, the bosses at Fox News have decided that the country needs more Hannity.
According to the New York Times, Fox News hasn’t yet settled on a price for the Web-only service. One sweetener will be an element that’s not available over television. “Interaction with all of FNC’s popular opinion hosts and personalities will also be a mainstay of the new platform,” notes the press release.
“Fox Nation” is months from launching, so far be it from the Erik Wemple Blog to prejudge the content, as we’ve done in the preceding paragraphs. Just consider, though: Will the likes of Hannity, Steve Doocy and Tucker Carlson ratchet up their standards just because they’re streaming as opposed to broadcasting? If they do, we’ll eat this post in paper format.