Sean Hannity will not give a prediction (yet). But Fox Weather, which will be funded by advertisers, is aggressively poaching star meteorologists in Houston, Seattle, St. Louis and other markets. He’s also taking on the Weather Channel’s top talent, with several Hollywood agents recounting frenzied bidding wars. A leading Weather Channel meteorologist – Shane Brown, whose title was “senior weather product architect” – defected from Fox last month despite efforts to keep him.
Within Mr. Murdoch’s company, the opinion is that the sometimes frozen world of weather television is ripe for disruption. Fox hires a host of meteorologists and weather data analysts for the company, which includes a flashy multi-million dollar studio at its Midtown Manhattan headquarters. The service will cover major national weather events and integrate dozens of local forecasters from Fox’s regional affiliate stations.
The Weather Channel is already casting a shadow.
“They couldn’t even make the headlines on Tropical Storm Bill,” said Nora Zimmett, the network’s content manager, referring to an article from FoxNews.com that some meteorologists critical because he said a relatively mild storm posed a “massive” risk to the east coast.
âI applaud Fox for entering the weather space, but they should definitely leave vital information to the experts,â said Ms. Zimmett, who worked at Fox News in the 2000s. She called climate change a âtopicâ. too important to be politicized, and if they do, they will be doing the Americans a disservice. “
A Fox Weather spokeswoman fired back, âAs Weather Channel focuses on trolling FoxNews.com for unrelated stories, Fox Weather is preparing the debut of our innovative platform to provide critical coverage to an incredibly underserved market.
Climate change is a general concern. A Pew Research Poll in April found that 59% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believed human activity is contributing to climate change. (The figure is 91% for Democrats and those with Democratic views.)
Yet some of Fox News’ conservative commentators, including Laura Ingraham and Tucker carlson, have a habit of minimizing or even denying the threat of climate change. The subject even generated divisions within the Murdoch family: James Murdoch, the youngest son of Rupert Murdoch, reprimand her father last year after Australian media owned by Murdoch dismissed climate change as the culprit in the deadly wildfires that ravaged the country.