TalkTV: Rupert Murdoch’s challenge to GB News

Piers Morgan has been hired as the star of the new channel

Piers Morgan in 2019
Piers Morgan: ‘divisive’
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)

Rupert Murdoch may have once observed of Piers Morgan that “his balls are bigger than his brains”, said Ian Burrell in the New Statesman, but he has always admired “the UK’s most divisive media personality”. So it’s no surprise that Murdoch has hired Morgan as the star of his latest enterprise, talkTV. It will feature sport and entertainment, but it will be mainly a rolling news channel, with current affairs debate and hourly bulletins.

Morgan – who left his job on ITV’s Good Morning Britain after denouncing Meghan Markle – will host a show on weeknights. TalkTV will “tussle” with the now-floundering GB News station for right-leaning audiences; expect a product with Murdoch’s “unashamedly populist, outspoken and conservative” tone.

Boris Johnson must be delighted, said Will Hutton in The Observer. “Britain’s stubborn attachment to non-Tory values infuriates and worries Conservative politicians”; hence, their customary rage at the BBC and public service broadcasters which report the news impartially. But now their ambition of building a broadcast media “as effective as the fading print media in cheerleading the Conservative cause” seems close to becoming a reality.

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The chief roadblock facing Murdoch as he tries to create an “openly partisan”, US-style news channel is the regulator Ofcom, which polices impartiality in broadcasting. This is why Johnson is so keen to install a “right-wing ideologue” as Ofcom’s chairman: his favoured candidate is the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.

The liberal elite’s stranglehold on broadcasting news is being loosened, said Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph – and they don’t like it at all. Soon, thanks to technology and the market, there will be not one, but two right-of-centre broadcasters to switch to. The old monopoly of the BBC, Channel 4 News and Sky, with their powerful liberal bias, is being broken. “It is this new reality of choice, the crumbling of orthodoxy, that puts so many knickers in a twist.” Political correctness is “losing its grip”. And that “terrifies the gatekeepers”.

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