"'Freedom Watch'" is arguably Tea Party TV in its purest form to date," the New York Times' Brian Stelter writes about a new Fox Business Network show targeted at libertarians.
The show, hosted by Judge Andrew Napolitano, debuted on TV over the weekend after appearing as a web feature and, writes Stelter, represents a move toward libertarian talk for the network that has struggled to attract ratings:
Fox News already dominates the market for conservative TV talk with hosts like Mr. Beck and Sean Hannity, and has generated billions in revenue to show for it. Now, the upstart Fox Business is making room for libertarian talk, too. An aggressive pro-civil liberties, anti-government streak is evident on both "Freedom Watch" and "Stossel," a weekly Fox Business show hosted by the former ABC News anchor John Stossel that was added last fall.
As any libertarian will tell you, there are sharp differences in opinions between conservatives and libertarians, and now Fox has programs for both.
The debut episode, described as a "Tea Party Summit," featured Sarah Palin and Ron Paul, among other Tea Party favorites.
"The front line in the fight for the soul of the tea party movement is here on this show," Napolitano said in the show's open. "From New York, defending freedom, so long America," he said to close the show.
The network hired libertarian Stossel away from ABC News last year.
"I think Fox is seeing a business opportunity here," Jacob G. Hornberger, president of libertarian education group Future of Freedom Foundation, told the New York Times. "There's always been this debate between left and right, liberals and conservatives. All of a sudden here's Napolitano saying, where do you stand on this libertarian position?"
WATCH the opening segment of Saturday's debut episode: