You wouldn’t know it if your social media feed mostly consists of Trump hair memes, but Fox News had a damn good year in 2017. Whether because of a loyal fanbase or a President who tweets policy decisions based on whatever the channel aired five minutes ago, Fox stayed profitable in an era of shrinking viewership, posting its best numbers ever last year. So much so, the channel has decided audiences need even more vitriol defending the moneyed classes against reasonable taxation: The New York Times reports Fox is set to launch a subscription streaming service to deliver invective against teens who don’t like being shot at for even more hours of the day than, um, 24 hours a day of cable news? That’s not enough? Okay, then.
Called Fox Nation, the new service wouldn’t require a cable package, instead streaming right-wing propaganda 24/7 without the need for anything like cable or a satellite dish. Bravely striding into 2007, Fox says the new programs will not overlap with Fox News Channel in any way, thanks to contracts with cable operators, meaning it will be all-new shows and anchors, an entire platform full of wannabe Sean Hannity types just waiting to tell you how Obama is advocating compulsory abortion, or whatever lie is most useful that week. Unlike Sean Hannity, however, these new people won’t already have a giant backlog of easily disproved lies they’ve already told, so we’ll have to give them some time to build up a portfolio.
The cost of the subscription has yet to be determined, but John Finley, who oversees program development for Fox News, thinks the “Fox superfan” will be on board with whatever they decide—and given these are people still supporting a channel that backed treason when it was on Obama’s watch, there’s no reason to think he’s wrong. Finley says dedicated Fox viewers “value our product so much, they go to hotels and if they can’t have Fox, they send us emails. They go on cruises, and if they can’t have Fox, they send us emails. This is a way for us to meet that demand.”
The Times is quick to note that conservative streaming services have a spotty record at best: Glenn Beck’s The Blaze quickly stopped blazing online and became a milquetoast cable channel, and Bill O’Reilly’s subscription service is basically the equivalent of an old man holding a bullhorn in an empty Cracker Barrel, shooting salsa jars and declaring them illegal aliens. Of course, that’s also just because streaming services—like most industries—have a significant ratio of failure in general. And if anything, the glut of far-right media outlets is only growing, given billionaire anti-government zealot Peter Thiel’s plan to create a West Coast version of Breitbart and Sinclair broadcasting’s insidious and highly successful mission to turn all local news into a tool of the rich and conservative.
Still, Finley seems confident that rabid right-wingers want and will pay for even more sources of explaining why we should abolish taxes and push the poor and infirm into work camps (we’re paraphrasing here). “We know who our audience is,” he says. “We know what they want.” Sadly, so do we.