Fox News is set to launch a new weather channel called Fox Weather. But given the Murdoch-owned media giant’s history of climate denialism, viewers shouldn’t expect accurate climate change coverage.
Fox News is launching a new 24-hour streaming platform all about the weather. Called Fox Weather, the channel will be helmed by Fox News Media chief executive Suzanne Scott and Fox stalwart Sharri Berg.
Competing with The Weather Channel?
Fox appears to be taking aim at The Weather Channel, which recently said it will “double down” on climate change coverage. While cable networks saw their viewership plunge this year, The Weather Channel has held up surprisingly well with 7% growth. As much as 86% of Fox’s past content on climate change has been classified as denialism by a Public Citizen analysis from 2019.
Perhaps Fox’s move hopes to capture some of these viewers—viewers that The Weather Channel says have woken up to the reality of climate change. “Climate and weather coverage are completely linked,” said The Weather Channel’s chief content officer Nora Zimmett. “It’s the most important topic of not just our generation, but generations to come. We have a front seat.”
It’s also likely that Fox’s audience is finally sweating about climate change. Quite literally, with the Pacific Northwest currently inundated by a record-breaking heatwave.
Fox could also be looking to retain viewers from the environmentally-conscious younger generation. Millennials and Gen Zs have demonstrated willingness to boycott unsustainable brands, or businesses that don’t align with their social values.
Using the weather to fuel disinformation
In response to the news of Fox Weather, many have pointed out that Murdoch’s media empire could just be creating another avenue to fuel climate disinformation.
Just last month, Fox’s beloved Tucker Carlson claimed that climate activists are “experiment[ing] to make children smaller”.
The new channel could continue to spread false climate narratives under the guise of “weather”. In April, Fox News used the cold snap to allege that climate change was a complete hoax.
“It’s not just the bigger climate denial,” Allison Fisher, climate and energy director at Media Matters, told Gizmodo. Fox is “specifically using weather to push climate denial.”
Some commentators predict Fox News might even use the weather as a way to attack Democrats or encourage conspiracies. In a Twitter post, comic book author Chuck Wendig joked: “Next up, on Fox Weather: why are hurricanes teaching kids about Critical Race Theory? Then: climate change is just another example of cancel culture gone woke!”
Molly Jong-Fast, editor at The Daily Beast wrote: “Why is Fox launching a weather channel? Is this their way of trying to fight real news about climate change or is it just that older people love watching television about weather?”
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.