Nobody is going to accuse Fox News Channel as being an unbiased source. The “news” channel is unapologetic in their right-wing, conservative leanings, and their viewers are mighty and loyal.
However, Fox News has recently announced a new interactive tool that is sure to open them up to a whole slew of contentious comments. Whether or not the conflicting views will out-weigh those in agreement is yet to be seen.
In July, FNC began dabbling with this new tool on the program Special Report with Bret Baier. This tool, named “Bing Pulse,” is an interactive media tool that allows viewers to either “agree” or “disagree” with the commentary being discussed on the show. The viewers can choose to distinguish their gender and political party in an attempt to tally opinions and views from across political lines.
As of today (September 16, 2013), Fox has decided to inflate the utilization of “Pulse” by opening the polls three times weekly, as opposed to the once-a-week availability that has been offered thus far. There is also speculation that “Pulse” will be available during MediaBuzz, Fox’s new weekend media show, hosted by Howard Kurtz, which offers a wrap-up of the week in pop-culture media.
We live in a “plugged-in” world, and viewers these days want to feel like their voices are being heard. With the instant gratification offered to us by outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, entities the world over are constantly trying to keep up with the newest technological breakthrough. This is the main drive behind Fox’s reasoning.
Baier ensures us that he and his panel will maintain the show’s integrity and will not simply posture on controversial topics to incite viewer reactions. “We have walked that line of integrity, keeping the integrity of our show but still having this interchange at home. He believes that walking that line, but not crossing it, is “the future of the business.”
The “Pulse” tool has already proved to be incredibly enticing to fans, as Special Report has already seen ratings spike 21% with viewers between 25 and 54. This, coincidentally, is the demographic that advertisers cater to the most. However, the total viewership increase has been a mere 3%.
Baier has also stated that Fox’s decision to roll-out the real-time poll was an editorial one. Special Report has long been hip to the new trend in social media, offering chat boards that allow viewers to interject. It has also been a great venue to grab responses from producers and talent, and allows viewers to submit questions directly to panelists.
While offering real-time interactive tools such as “Pulse” does prove to be a logistical hindrance (having to weed through bot comments, explaining how the tool works several times throughout the program), Baier and his team think the fruits it yields make it worth it.