Written by Bruce Walker
The decline and lurch to the left of the Fox News Network provides an opening for any astute conservative billionaire: create a news network specifically intended to provide news from the viewpoint of most of America, which is to say the seventy-five percent of Americans who live in Flyover Country. While the geographic concentration of political power in America is appalling, the geographic concentration of media power is much worse.
Because the media defy elections and, in fact, determine elections, having almost all national news pass through the tiny channel of the New York-to-Washington Beltway is toxic to our national life.
This is not an ideological monopoly, but rather a geographical monopoly. But because the environment between Washington and New York is so utterly artificial and so completely leftist, what has happened to Fox News – a constant drift to the left – is an unrelenting and corrosive force that isolates the media and the government of America from the overwhelming majority who live in Middle America.
Consider a neutral and fair political site like RealClearPolitics. It is not uncommon to have one third of the stories from New York media outlets and one third of the stories from Washington media outlets and the rest from national outlets without a particular geographical designation but situated in the Beltway. On those rare instances in which another city’s media has stories in RealClearPolitics, the city is usually Boston or Los Angeles.
What that means is that the vast majority of Americans are utterly disenfranchised politically in the only area that really counts in a nation as large and media-driven as America. What this also means is that as Fox News declines into irrelevance, as it will, there is a gaping hole for those with the money, the guts, and the vision to create a television network specifically focused on Middle America.
This network should include a news network located in the center of America and dedicated to presenting stories that inform Americans what is happening in this majority of our nation. There is vast ignorance within the Beltway media about how the energy industry works or how wheat and cotton are grown and cattle raised and ores mined.
While Fox News periodically had stories presented from its Beltway offices about the plight of the timber industry in Washington State or the small oil producers in Oklahoma, stories from the Middle America News Network would be produced by those who actually live in these areas and presented to Americans by newscasters whose home is in Omaha or Knoxville or Salt Lake City or Little Rock. This new network would also have a much easier time breaking into the cable news lineup than Fox News did because it would overtly be representing the perspective of local listeners in cities around the nation.
Fox News rightly picked the target audience to make it grow: those millions of Americans disgusted by the ideological monopoly of the leftist establishment media. The Middle America News Network would represent not just the ideologically disempowered, but the culturally disempowered, who find their beliefs and lives treated as weird curiosities. The market share for this news network could skyrocket fast, particularly among the tens of millions of Americans who simply never watch network news any longer.
This new network could also introduce a whole new way of interviewing members of Congress. Instead of having these members show up at a studio in Washington or New York, the network could invite them to be interviewed for national television in their home states. Those who decline an interview might find their likely rivals in the next election interviewed instead with the tag “The Middle America News Network invited Senator Mugwump to discuss the impact of environmental regulations on business here, but he was too busy in Washington to come here for the interview.”
The idea would be to shift always, always, always the focus of attention and interest away from that micron of America that is the Beltway and back to the huge expanse from Alaska to Minnesota to Florida to Arizona that is America. The idea would also be to force both political parties, which is to say Washington Party A and Washington Party B, to actually notice forty or so states that may be called “Flyover Country” if they wish their political parties to have a chance at gaining or holding power.
This network could transform politics in America by forcing the parties to turn from Washington (“The Swamp”) and back to the American people spread all across this land.