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Thursday, March 06, 2014

GOP Civil War will soon be televised

Talking Points Memo: Fox’s monopoly on conservative cable news may soon come to an end.

A Bloomberg Businessweek profile published Thursday revealed founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy’s plans to expand beyond his highly-trafficked website and influential magazine into television with a 24-hour cable news channel called NewsmaxTV — described as a “kinder, gentler Fox” — launching as early as June.

“Our goal is to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing,” Ruddy told the magazine.
Business-wise, this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Demographic trends show that Republicanism — kinder and gentler or not — isn’t exactly a growth industry. Why you’d want to compete with Fox for an ever-shrinking piece of the pie is a bit of a mystery. Maybe a show on Fox or a syndicated Sunday morning yack show, ala “Meet the Press,” but 24 hours of “Gee, but aren’t Republicans swell”? Yeah, I’m not seeing the genius behind this particular business model.

Still, if conservatives want to start whacking away at Fox News, I can’t say I’m against the idea. But Fox is aimed straight at the brainless ‘bagger base, while it sounds like NewsmaxTV would be aimed more at the people that National Review used to try to attract — i.e., conservatives who take a moment to think about things — before they too decided that the gullible and easily riled dummies were easier to milk. That audience that Ruddy seems to want to appeal to may have passed on with Reagan — that is, the real Reagan, not the cartoonish Reagan ‘bagger’s worship now. That audience would be the Reagan/Dole/Kemp conservatives. Or as Tea Partiers call them these days, “RiNOs.”

The GOP Civil War might take to the upper channels of cable, but you’ve got to wonder how long it’ll last.

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