What’s up with Fox Business?
The would be CNBC competitor has had a tough time making inroads since its launch in 2007, and recent CNBC humiliations (such as Cramer on Jon Stewart, or the endless Rick Santelli stunts) don’t seemed to have changed that.
Still, the network believes it has found its angle in bailout fatigue.
“Americans have bailout fatigue,” explains FBN anchor Cheryl Casone. “They’re tired of watching taxpayer money go to private business.”
With its unabashedly populist tone, Red Ink Week is clearly an attempt to tap into some of the same anger that fuelled April’s tax-day “Tea Party” protests — protests that Fox is careful to insist it played no role in organising, even if its wall-to-wall coverage did have the effect of promoting them and boosting turnout. The tea parties were a ratings hit for Fox News, and it’s likely they had a similar effect on Fox Business. And, while Casone says they weren’t the inspiration for Red Ink Week — “We’ve been covering this for months,” she says — it’s obvious the network believes it has discovered its sweet spot at last.
Sweet spot? Maybe.
We really do enjoy some of the network’s populist flair, such as the fact that when it flashes the ticker of a major financial on the bottom of its screen, it puts up a big red BAILED OUT marker above it. CNBC, for all its pro wrestling-like qualities, is way too genteel to mock the big banks like that.
And we can certainly attest to the fact that anti-corporate, anti-government populism certainly holds a ton of appeal right now. But we’re still sceptical tha that you can build a network off of that, because in the end, people disgusted by greed and corruption don’t want to watch a news channel devoted to that. The people who want to watch business news all day long are people who are interested in investing and business (not politics) and so they’ll watch CNBC.
If anything, Fox Biz’s biggest competitor is not CNBC, but Fox News, as that’s the network that still does a great job of capturing the angry-with-the-powers-that-be crowd.