Fox News Channel

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Fox News Logo

The Fox News Channel is a United States cable and satellite news channel. It is part of the Fox Television Stations Group, a subsidiary of Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Roger Ailes was named Chairman of the Fox Television Stations Group on August 15, 2005.


Fox News was started in 1996 by Murdoch and Roger Ailes. The two of them perceived a need for a news organization that offered more balanced reporting, one where the facts from all sides would be presented. Main-stream media "Political Correctness" was banished, with the news anchors calling terrorists what they were, (terrorists), instead of referring to them as "militants." As of February, 2007, polls show that over 20% of Americans say their main source of news is the Fox News Channel.

Fox News uses the slogan "Fair & Balanced," carries bipartisan shows like Hannity and Colmes, and daily guest pundits from all sides of the political spectrum. Fox News also is non-hostile to conservative and Christian values, viewpoints, spokesmen, and ideas. Fox News has gained the reputation for reporting the news in an unbiased manner and then allowing the viewer to decide; "We Report, You Decide" is another of their on-air slogans.

Fox News has dominated the ratings of other cable news outlets.[1] Launched by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and former political consultant Roger Ailes as a refuge for viewers fed up with real or perceived liberal bias everywhere in the so-called "mainstream media", Fox is the undisputed ratings champion of cable news. It's been trouncing CNN, MSNBC and CNBC for years, and it quite often draws a much larger audience share than all competitors, combined.

Fair and Balanced

Fair And Balanced Logo

Leftist critics have been known to complain about the "Fair & Balanced" slogan. Former President Bill Clinton exploded at Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace in September of 2006, accusing him of "a nice little conservative hit job" after being lightly pressed by Wallace about his record on fighting Al Qaeda. Democratic politicos and advocates have relentlessly attacked the cable network, sometimes accusing it of being a Republican propaganda mill. Ex Vice-President and notorious environmentalist Al Gore has likened Fox to a right-wing "fifth column." Groups, such as, funded a classic schlockumentary entitled Outfoxed, which purports to expose the channel's nefarious Republican agenda. In a grandstanding gesture of political theatre the group unsuccessfully petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to stop Fox's from using its slogan as "deceptive advertising".

A recent comprehensive study by UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose and University of Missouri-Columbia economics professor Jeffrey Milyo found Brit Hume's Special Report — Fox's most straightforward news show — more centrist than any of the three major networks' evening newscasts, all of which are left leaning. [2] The program is a model of smart news television.

And although it's true that the Fox's opinion shows (as opposed to its news shows) are, as they're supposed to be, frequently bombastic and opinionated, it's equally true that Fox's biggest super-star, Bill O'Reilly is not a mainstream Republican, but a registered Independent who sides with conservatives. He regularly charges the oil companies with price-gouging and attacks big business for quashing the little guy.[Citation Needed] Who can say what host Greta Van Susteren's politics are? She mostly covers the crime-of-the-day stories. Geraldo Rivera has always been liberal on most issues, with the exception of being a strong supporter of the military and stiff penalties for sex offenders.

Liberal commentators go in and out of the Fox studios all over America, every day — some of them, like host Alan Colmes and news analyst Marvin Kalb, and Eleanor Clift affiliated with the channel. There's no doubt, of course, that Fox News is closer to mainstream America than CBS, ABC, NBC or CNN. But, after all, that was its founding mission.

Conservatives have criticism for Fox. Their 'Fair and Balanced' motto allows liberal propaganda and half-truths to gain an audience. Fox's entertainment division has been singled out by the Parents Television Council for obsessive violence and sexual obscenities.


Conservatives argue that Fox's real ethos is not Republican but anti-elitist — a major reason it connects with so many Americans and annoys so many coastal elites. "There's a whole country that elitists will never acknowledge," Ailes once observed. "What people resent deeply out there are those in the 'blue states' thinking they're smarter." This anti-elitism shows itself in Fox's pro-U.S. stance in covering the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and its broadcasters' use of terms such as "terrorist" instead of the politcally correct "militant" to refer to … well, terrorists. Since the Vietnam War era, mainstream journalists have tended to see such blunt language and side-taking as unsophisticated, a betrayal of journalistic objectivity, or perhaps their own ingrained biases against government in general.

Another aspect of Fox's anti-elitism: evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, far from being seen as lunatics or extremists — as too often is the case in the mainstream media — are treated with great respect. "We regularly have on the Rev. Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson and other religious leaders, just as we put on Pat Ireland and Eleanor Clift," Ailes said, continuing, "Most Americans believe in God and have that as their foundation in life. So why shouldn't we have as guests people that they like, respect and want to hear from?" Ailes said he didn't get "too worked up" by a Pew Foundation study that showed that Fox has more Republican viewers than CNN, CNBC or MSNBC and that his reporters and anchors insert their opinions into stories far more than competitors do. Numbers might have something to do with it: Fox is beating the combined audience of the other three. But Ailes dismissed Pew as a "liberal lobbying organization." He said, "Most polls today are not taken to provide information to the public but to get press for the organization taking the polls. I took a poll of Pew, and 98% of my organization found that they were biased", Ailes said with a wink. [3]

In response, Project director Tom Rosenstiel said the study "was not a poll. It was a content analysis designed by a four-university research team and executed at the University of Alabama." One plus for Fox, he said, was that researchers found Fox News stories were more forthcoming about sourcing than their cable rivals. [4]

Fox News Channel and Homosexuality

In regards to the issue of homosexuality, the Fox News Channel and Bill O'Reilly have acted in a way which is not reflective of conservative views (for example, the Fox News Channel donated money to the Lesbian and Gay Journalist Association).

Fox vs fringe views

"What really frustrates liberals about Fox, though, is simply that, along with talk radio and the conservative blogosphere, it has helped shatter the left's near-monopoly on news and information. Fox's opinion-driven programming gives conservatives and liberals a chance to get a fair hearing for their ideas. But Democratic politicians and activists who go on Fox also must defend their views, often against tough questioning, something that happens less often on the networks, where most journalists are left-of-center, survey after survey has shown", said columnist Brian Anderson. "Even more significant, Fox came on the scene a decade ago as a professional news organization that could define and report news as something different from what the elite consensus says it is. To take one of many examples, the corruption of the United Nations' oil-for-food initiative in Iraq, initially downplayed by the mainstream media because of their sympathy for internationalism, was uncovered — deemed newsworthy — on Fox."

All this wouldn't matter if Fox News wasn't so influential. But it is. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 20% of Americans now claim to get news from it, and lots of them (37%) are Democrats or independents. The network's success has also sparked a "Fox effect," leading some competitors to become more open to right-of-center opinions: MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," hosted by former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, is a prime example. Until a few years ago, Democrats never had to deal with all these mediatized conservatives. [5]

Ailes said Fox News has no agenda. His charge to his reporters and anchors is simple: "If you make a mistake, get on the air as fast as you can and admit it. ... Do your homework. Make sure you reach out to a point of view you don't agree with to be sure you have some balance in your piece, because journalists, despite the public perception, are not empty-headed fools. They actually come to the job with some ideas and biases." When asked whether the media have a "conscious bias," Ailes said: "I don't know whether it's conscious or not. I think people who are biased to the left and right are by and large honest people who bring their life experience to whatever their beliefs are. I don't think there's some conspiracy of bias to the left, but I do think that New York and Los Angeles have different views than many people that I know from other parts of the country." [6]

Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, Fox News CEO

This is a transcript of Ailes speaking to the Television Critics Association, which will be enlightening to readers digging into the Fox take on reporting and its reaction to controversy about its mission.

On November 20, 2008, Roger Ailes, who now holds the titles of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, FOX News and Chairman of FOX Television Stations, signed a new five year contract with News Corporation, it was announced by Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. [7]

During Ailes' time with News Corp, FNC passed CNN in ratings in all day parts in 2002 to become the number one news network in the country, nearing full distribution with more than 90 million subscribers. In 2007, he launched the Fox Business News which currently reaches more than 40 million homes and served as the biggest launch in cable television history. Throughout Mr. Ailes' tenure, FOX Television Stations has increased its market share each of the last three years with all time record shares in the last two years. In addition, Fox Television Stations has expanded its local news presence by nearly 100 hours a week in a challenging economic climate.

Tony Snow

In April, 2006 the White House selected Tony Snow, Fox News Anchorman, to be the new White House press secretary. "Snow, who in his roles as a pundit on Fox News and elsewhere has rapped Bush on several occasions, joined the White House only after extracting a promise that he would become an adviser to the president on day-to-day strategy...the former columnist will be the first outsider to become part of Bush's revamped inner circle.", said the Washington Post. Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

External Links

Fox News