Only a few weeks after its launch, TalkTV is struggling, says John Harris in The Guardian. Despite Rupert Murdoch’s millions and the “supposedly magnetic presence” of star anchor Piers Morgan, the new TV channel has at times been broadcasting to zero viewers. GB News, a similar outfit launched last summer, is only doing marginally better. Both channels were set up to ape the success of Fox News and other blowhard broadcasters in the US. Rather than stuffy news, they’re all about “talk”: uncensored, anti-woke, and the rest. Their presenters don’t try to make sense of the news – they “quickly take a position and sound off about it”, hoping to generate headlines of their own in the process.
What Murdoch, Morgan and pals don’t realise is that in Britain “the politics of polarisation and fury peaked back in 2016”. After our long and drawn-out exit from the EU, then the misery of the pandemic, people are “weary and jaded”. They don’t want to “spend endless hours watching and listening to angry people” – they want to “consume as little news as possible or tune into something calm, even-handed and rooted in reality”. This trend is being exacerbated by Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, for which people prefer sensitive coverage over hot takes. “Talk,” it turns out, “is not just cheap, but irrelevant.”