Late this morning, as Egypt's streets erupted in violence between protesters calling for Hosni Mubarak's removal and others defending him, Fox News turned its attention to what its apparently believed was the most important news of the day: News Corp.'s announcement of their new iPad-only publication, The Daily.
Beginning at 11 a.m. ET, the network devoted 30 consecutive minutes -- with no commercial interruptions -- to The Daily's launch.
Senior vice president of business news Neil Cavuto kicked off the cross-promotion, seeking to answer the question "what does this mean to me" by linking the publication's all-Internet format to what he termed the "Internet-driven" protests in Tunisia and Egypt.
After Cavuto engaged in a brief discussion with Fox Business' Shibani Joshi about whether readers will be willing to pay for The Daily (answer: absolutely!), the network devoted 16 uninterrupted minutes to a live shot of News Corp.'s launch event for the publication, starting with remarks by Rupert Murdoch.
Apparently already being inundated with criticism of the grotesque synergy on display, Cavuto then broke into the remarks of Apple vice president of Internet services Eddy Cue to defend the network's coverage:
CAVUTO: I'm already getting emails and bloggers going, "Oh, you're only covering this because your boss is Rupert Murdoch." Well, that might have something to do with it, but this is a big event in and of itself, how you look at news. I might remind those in news organizations that whenever Apple comes out with a product, whether they get top executives there or not, they seem to go full throttle on that product announcement because these tend to be cultural events that go beyond a given company. What Rupert Murdoch is trying to do here could go beyond a given company, or a given stock or a given population.
A few minutes later, as Cavuto continued to prattle on about the merits of his boss' new product, Fox began airing live footage of Cairo in a box on the screen under the caption, "Pro And Anti-Govt Protesters Clash."
And finally, after what was effectively a 30-minute commercial, Cavuto threw back to Fox News' regular coverage -- specifically, the "tremendous chaos erupting" on the streets of Egypt.
Of course, that wasn't the end of Fox's coverage of The Daily. The next hour, Cavuto returned for a 17-minute interview with Murdoch. Of course, in step with Fox's mantra, Murdoch balanced promotion of his new publication with attacks on President Obama.
If you're keeping track of Fox's standards for skipping regular coverage, the network is totally willing to pre-empt Glenn Beck to provide coverage of the unfolding events in Egypt. But miss out on Rupert Murdoch's new moneymaker? Perish the thought.