Broadcasting & Cable’s editor-in-chief Ben Grossman has some thoughts about Fox News Channel:
Say what you want about hosts like [Bill] O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, but their brand of television is entertaining and draws attention. And that’s all they’re paid to do. Everything else is window dressing from a business standpoint.
To write about Fox News, however, and not acknowledge the issues taken by many with the way it does its business would qualify as naive, cajoling or simply uninformed. I have written in this space about my frustration with the lack of ratings for “traditional news,” and that won’t change. I also have seen first-hand the vitriol with which the network can operate, having personally known someone who was a political candidate on the receiving end of what I’d call a blatant hit piece.
But Roger Ailes is not paid millions to hit some moral high ground; his mandate is to keep Wall Street happy, period, by racking up subscription fees, viewers and advertisers.
So say what you will about Fox News Channel, but it offers, objectively, a lesson in how to build and maintain a television brand.