Straight news or Fox News? Andrew Bolt's show sends Sky further right on the night
Hours before Malcolm Turnbull said he would call an early election unless the Senate passed his industrial relations laws, Andrew Bolt was revealed as Sky News Australia’s star recruit to “lead discussion” during the election. It is not hard to see that Bolt’s appointment will push the channel even further in the direction of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, which delivers an unremitting and sometimes fearsome diet of rightwing opinion into most homes in the US. The timing of Bolt’s appointment was not lost on some with a cynical frame of mind who thought he might have arrived just in time to do his best to cruel Labor’s chances at the polling booth. But the truth is Sky has been keen to get Bolt on board ever since News Corp chose to stop funding his low-rating political opinion show, The Bolt Report, on Channel Ten. The Weekly Beast: don't say papers are forever at Fairfax Amanda Meade Amanda Meade Read more The pay TV channel, under pressure from ABC’s News 24, which has significantly higher ratings and is free, is keen to offer a point of difference. And whatever you think of Bolt, he certainly attracts attention. The Bolt Report, which the Herald Sun columnist presented on Sunday mornings on Ten for five years, will be transformed into a looser format that will air live every weeknight on Sky at 7pm from May. That’s five hours of Bolt on his soapbox each week – talking about everything from global warming and the Greens to the stolen generations and free speech. The Bolt Report timeslot puts him up against the ABC’s main news bulletin at 7pm, which is Sky’s main competitor in the space. To compete against the highly resourced public news program Sky could only go one way, and that was to be provocative. According to OzTAM ratings figures Sky News averages 12,000 viewers nationally between 6pm and midnight, peaking between 8pm and 10pm at 18,000. For comparison, ABC News at 7pm averages 1m nationally.