Yesterday news broke that a new, conservative-friendly network was to be launched by Comcast this summer called RightNetwork. According to promotional material, the new media outlet will be “Pro-America, Pro-Business, Pro-Military sensibilities,” and has been reported to be in partnership with cable giant Comcast, who is currently attempting to acquire NBC-Universal. Update: The NY Times’ Brian Stelter now reports that Comcast has nothing to do with the conservative network.
Comcast denied reports Monday that it is a partner in the RightNetwork, a red state start-up that promises “content that reflects and reinforces their perspective and worldview.”
Comcast, the country’s largest cable provider, was identified as a partner in a promotional document put together by RightNetwork and discovered online by the blog Crooks and Liars on Saturday. Apparently assuming that the document was accurate, The Huffington Post called the venture “Tea Party TV” and put up a story saying “RightNetwork Launching In 2010 With Comcast As Partner.” Other Web sites published similar stories.
Stelter did not include Mediaite in his list, but he very well could have. In the interest of candor, the original version of this post follows.
Now we understand why Bill O’Reilly may have given an unprovoked shout-out to Comcast last week. Last week, the self-professed traditionalist called Comcast an “honest corporation” that could turn NBC around.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Fox News and NBC have long been at battle over news divisions and reportage that has extended far beyond the MSNBC vs Fox News (which is looking more and more like David vs. Goliath.) No, Fox News opinion journalists effectively attacked NBC-Universal parent company GE and its CEO Jeffrey Immelt for, among other things, selling arms to Iran. But last year news broke that GE had agreed to sell its television and movie unit to Comcast (which is still awaiting government approval), and many wondered how Comcast leadership may affect the constant battle between the two news divisions.
Last December, Politico reported that Comcast would not rule out launching a right-leaning competitor to Fox News, but adding that Comcast would not “tamper with NBC or MSNBC’s operations. Well now we know what he is talking about.
It’s still early in the RightNetwork’s launching cycle, and few details have emerged. Their YouTube channel features 15 promotional clips, the leading clip is of actor Kelsey Grammer discussing all things “right.” Other clips promote a right-leaning comedy show called Right to Laugh; a reality show called Running tracking six rookie candidates running from a conservative platform; another show called Politics and Poker and a pro-Tea Party music video by a rapper named “Polatik” (which is most likely deserving of its won “this exists” post for later.)
Judging by the passionate and loyal followers of the Tea Party movement, RightNetworks looks and feels like it will be a successful venture (particularly given the high production values of their show trailers.) By no means should Fox News be worried by this development – more likely, this will be presented by many involved by claiming that “competition is a good thing” and that there are plans for cooperating with one another. But the existence of a potential competitor changes the binary construct of “us vs. them” that Fox News so effectively applies in their approach. Or in other words, FNC can no longer blame the parent company of NBC, if they also have RightNetworks in their fold.
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