Today, on CNBC, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are giving forth their opinions in interviews on economic issues and politics. Is Fox’s new business channel taking the conservative tack its sister Fox News is reputed to have? So far, the interviews on Fox Business have been lightweight, giving the podium not to political figures but business figures, but asking few hard questions and giving plenty of leeway for spin. Bloomberg, on the other hand, features not personalities but news and numbers, and is much less palatable for those who want to feel in the know, but not be in the swim.
Fox News’ interview with Carly Fiorina about a possible HP-Kodak merger allows the former HP CEO to spin her major and somewhat controversial decision to purchase Compaq as a positive turning point for the company, and ends with a discussion of her latest book. Questions about a possible merger seem to be simply a basis for an interview, and Fiorina claims no inside knowledge, noting that it is a frequent rumor, and proceeds with exchanging compliments on the first day of broadcast.
Bob Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, is interviewed about his generosity towards a school which gave him a break early on, and which needs a break in their lackluster athletics program, according to Kraft. He gets a chance to be one of the first softball interviews on what seems to be a “financial news lite” approach, and which, by leaving out background details, may make impressions on the viewer quite different from an in-depth, critical interview.
A commentator speaking to us from a mini “war room” where he leads his own hedge fund, gives advice which, while lightweight as well, opens a window onto exotic currency trading in Asia, including the Thai Bhat, the Indian Rupee, and the Korean Won. For an introduction, it’s an excellent piece, leading traders who wish to broaden their perspective into new possibilities, and his approach involves trading on U.S. markets with limited loss. A good, safe bet with some international flavor, much like a do-it-yourself project on a handyman show.
Perspective from a Fortune Magazine commentator on the housing market is personal, news that the average consumer can use. He speaks about the follies of the human factor and how they affect the housing market, as emotions prevent homeowners from selling into a down market where their precious investment might not return the effort and pride, not to mention the money that they have invested. The interview also reveals how that emotional response affects the housing market as a whole, and causes a lag in the market and price cycle while equilibrium and the “white flag” as the interviewer called it, arrive a bit later than expected by normal economics.
Interviewers seemed uncommonly appreciative of their first-ever interviewees on the new channel, and perhaps that accounts for some of the softball questions and infomercial-style presentations, but the impression of Fox Business so far is that of a network which will keep people informed, but not overwhelmed with tickers and details.
If the items are well picked and key points appropriately emphasized, it could be just what the average consumer ordered to make them more economically literate and up to date. It could also, in the manner of USA Today newspaper, make an excellent classroom introduction to the financial markets. From a technical standpoint, the likely heavy loads visiting their website on the first day do not seem to be impacting their ability to deliver content. Whether the channel will balance CNBC’s Clinton and Pelosi, or provide the kind of intense detail of Bloomberg in some way, is yet to be seen as the weeks unfold, but Fox Business is pursuing a format which provides another choice in the market of cable financial news and financial news websites.