The Fox News has launched a new web site called Fox Nation, which contains a combination of news, opinion, and social networking. When registration begins in two months, participants will be invited to debate issues with one another and post comments.
Fox Nation is clearly basing its appeal on Fox News’s brand of conservative opinion and more balanced news reporting than is extant at other networks. Its statement of purpose reads:
“The Fox Nation was created for people who believe in the United States of America and its ideals, as expressed in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
“It is a community that believes in the American Dream: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One that believes being an American is an honor, as well as a great responsibility-and a wonderful adventure.
“This is a place for people who believe we live in a great country, a welcoming refuge for legal immigrants who want to contribute their talent and abilities to make our way of life even greater. We believe we should enjoy the company and support of each other, delighting in the creativity, ingenuity, and work ethic of one and all, while observing the basic rules of civility and mutual respect and, most importantly, strengthening our diverse society by striving for unity.
“The Fox Nation is for those committed to the core principles of tolerance, open debate, civil discourse–and fair and balanced coverage of the news. It is for those opposed to intolerance, excessive government control of our lives, and attempts to monopolize opinion or suppress freedom of thought, expression, and worship.”
Fox News Executive Vice President Bill Shine describes the site as a “mix between the Huffington Post and Drudge.”
Washington Post media analyst Howard Kurtz suggests that the launch of Fox Nation comes at a good time for the Fox News Network. “The launch comes as Fox News Channel is touting its aggressive approach to the Obama administration, which has led to rising ratings after eight years in which the network’s top commentators often sided with the Bush White House. “
Maintaining the social networking part of Fox Nation to preserve decorum will be a challenge. While Fox News enjoys a great deal of popularity, it does have its detractors. When Fox News touts its “fair and balanced” coverage of the news, there are those of a liberal bent who either laugh themselves silly, or fly into a rage.
The potential for flame wars and people posting libelous content under assumed names is almost endless. Anyone who has ever run a website with a comments section knows the problem. The anonymity granted by the Internet has allowed people to behave in ways that one would hope they would never behave in face to face interactions. Policing the comments of Fox Nation is going to be more than a full time job.
Still, with mainstream media suffering from declining viewership/readership and hence plummeting revenues, it will be interesting to see if Fox can do for the Internet what it has done for cable news.
Source: Fox Nation
Fox Ferreting Out Fans, Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, March 30th, 2009