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FOX News

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The FOX News Channel is a US cable and satellite news channel. It is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. As of January 2005, it is available to 85 million subscribers in the U.S. and to further viewers internationally, broadcasting primarily out of its New York City studios.

Launched on October 7, 1996 to 17 million cable subscribers, the nascent network quickly rose to prominence in the late 1990s as it started taking market share away from CNN; the channel is now the "most watched cable news channel" in the United States according to Nielsen Ratings.



Fox News Channel Iraq war coverage
Fox News Channel Iraq war coverage

Fox News presents a wide variety of programming, with up to 15 hours of live programming per day. Most of the programs are broadcast from Fox News headquarters in New York's Rockefeller Center. The following is the usual weekday lineup (as of Jan. 2005, all times Eastern):

  • 6 a.m.: Morning programming begins with Fox & Friends 1st , hosted by Steve Doocy , E.D. Hill, and Brian Kilmeade.
  • 7 a.m.: Fox & Friends is similar to other cable news network programming in the mornings, such as CNN's American Morning with Bill Hemmer and Soledad O'Brien and MSNBC's Imus .
  • 9 a.m.: Late morning and early afternoon programming starts with Fox News Live , a show featuring news, guest analysis, and interviews. Like other American cable news stations, there is news mixed with feature-like stories, as well as commentary and short debates between people on opposite sides of issues, usually between associates of candidates and officials, think tank members, and journalists. Usually hosted by Jon Scott , Brigitte Quinn , and David Asman .
  • 1 p.m.: Linda Vester's talk show with a live audience, Dayside .
  • 2 p.m.: Another hour of Fox News Live
  • 3 p.m.: Shepard Smith's news program, Studio B .
  • 4 p.m.: Fox's flagship business program, Your World , hosted by Neil Cavuto.
  • 5 p.m.: John Gibson hosts The Big Story , a news/commentary program.
  • 6 p.m.: Primetime starts with the political news and discussion show Special Report with Brit Hume , hosted by political reporter Brit Hume from Washington, DC.
  • 7 p.m.: Shepard Smith broadcasts The Fox Report With Shepard Smith, offering various reports on the day's events.
  • 8 p.m.: The network's top-rated show, The O'Reilly Factor. The taped broadcast features commentary from Bill O'Reilly, formerly of Inside Edition fame.
  • 9 p.m.: Conservative Sean Hannity and liberal Alan Colmes debate political issues of the day with guests and analysts during Hannity & Colmes.
  • 10 p.m.: Greta Van Susteren broadcasts On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. This program has an emphasis on stories pertaining to legal matters or human interest.
  • 11 p.m.: Reruns of previous programs are shown until 6 a.m. the next day.

FOX News also produced several newsmagazine shows for its Fox affiliates including FOX Files and The Pulse, both cancelled after short runs due to poor ratings. FOX News Sunday currently airs on many FOX affiliates and is similar in format to other Sunday morning political discussion programs.


The CEO, Chairman, and President of FOX News is Roger Ailes. After he began his career in broadcasting, Ailes started Ailes Communications, Inc and was successful as a political strategist for Presidents Nixon and Reagan and in producing campaign TV commercials for Republican political candidates. His work for former President Richard M. Nixon was chronicled in the book by Joe McGinniss .

Ailes withdrew from consulting and returned to broadcasting in 1992. He ran the CNBC channel and America's Talking, the forerunner of MSNBC for NBC. More recently, Ailes was named Broadcaster of the Year by Broadcast and Cable Magazine in 2003.


Several FOX News anchors have conservative backgrounds and several have liberal backgrounds. Managing editor and host Brit Hume is a contributor to the conservative American Spectator and Weekly Standard. Daytime anchor David Asman previously worked at the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the Manhattan Institute, a conservative thinktank. Former Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow is a conservative columnist, radio host, and former chief speechwriter for the first Bush administration. Primetime co-host Sean Hannity, paired with liberal Alan Colmes, is also a conservative. Hannity even went on tour for George W. Bush before the 2004 election.

FOX News anchors with liberal backgrounds include primetime host Greta Van Susteren who donates to Democratic candidates but does not generally take liberal positions and frequently has the same sort of conservative guests as other FOX shows. She also has former Democratic vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro as a regular guest. Print personalities Ellis Hennican and David Corn (Editor of The Nation) constantly appear on the network's programs. Geraldo Rivera, host of "At Large" on weekends, is also generally considered to be more liberal in background. In an interview prior to his first Fox News Sunday broadcast, Chris Wallace even described himself as a liberal, but also remarked that his beliefs wouldn't get in the way of questioning newsmakers from throughout the political spectrum. Alan Colmes is also a liberal, although he is frequently criticized by the left for what they claim is submissiveness compared to his co-host Hannity.

Former personalities

Ratings success

FOX News currently leads the cable news market, earning higher ratings than its chief competitors CNN and MSNBC combined.

The BBC reported that FOX News saw its profits double during the Iraq conflict, due in part to what the report called "patriotic" coverage of the war. By some reports, at the height of the conflict, they enjoyed as much as a 300% increase in viewership, averaging 3.3 million viewers daily ([1]).

In 2004, the perceived gain in ratings began to become more apparent. Coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Boston ranked higher in the ratings than its two closest cable competitors combined. In September, FOX News Channel made television history when ratings for its broadcast of the Republican National Convention beat those of all three broadcast networks. During President Bush's address, FOX News notched 7.3 million viewers nationally, while NBC, CBS, and ABC scored ratings of 5.9, 5.0, and 5.1, respectively.

International transmission

The channel is now available internationally, though its world programming is the same as its American programming, unlike CNN International, which airs regional programming that is largely independent of its U.S. broadcasts.


Fox News Channel is broadcast on the three major Pay-TV providers, Austar (Satellite, Austar Digital service only), Optus Television (Cable) and Foxtel (Cable and Satellite), being 25% owned by News Corporation.


Since 2002 Fox News Channel is also available for Brazilians, but the commercials are replaced with weather forecasts (except for their own ads). It is broadcasted by Sky Brazil (satellite) and NET (cable), both owned by Rupert Murdoch, the owner of News Corporation.


On December 14, 2000, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) approved FOX News Canada on behalf of the Global Television Network, for broadcast. FOX News Canada was to be a domestic Canadian version of FOX News. [2] The channel, or specialty television service, was never implemented by FOX, and the deadline for commencement of the service expired on November 24, 2004.

On June 18, 2003, the Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association (CCTA), an organization representing approximately 90 cable companies in Canada, applied to add FOX News, ESPN, HBO, and other non-domestic programming to the CRTC's Lists of Eligible Satellite Services on a digital basis. In their application the CCTA duly noted that, absent a change in CRTC policy, some of the channels were likely to be ineligible for addition to the lists as some were partially or totally competitive with licensed Canadian programming. Some Canadian channels additionally might hold exclusive rights. In a lengthy response, the CRTC stated that "the Commission considers that CCTA has not raised sufficient question as to the validity of the existing policy, or sufficient argument or evidence as to the benefits of its proposed approach, to warrant a policy review at this time" and noted that "CCTA has not provided the information generally required for the Commission to consider requests to add services to the Lists. Accordingly, the Commission is not in a position to examine whether it would be appropriate to authorize for distribution any of the specific services noted in CCTA’s request" ([3]).

The CCTA applied on April 15, 2004 solely to add FOX News, along with the NFL Network. [4] CCTA's acting president Michael Hennessy said that the previous "bulk approach... ...was just too big", adding it raised "significant issues" with respect to broadcast rights and competition with existing domestic services ([5]) On November 18, 2004 the CRTC announced that a digital license would be granted to FOX News ([6]). In its proposal, FOX News stated, with reference to FOX News Canada, that "Fox News does not intend to implement this service and therefore will not meet the extended deadline to commence operations" ([7]). On December 16, 2004, Rogers Communications became the first Canadian cable or satellite provider to broadcast FOX News, with other companies following suit within the next several days.

The CRTC's previous refusal to grant Fox News a license had been contested by some Canadians, as well as American fans of the channel, who believed the decision to be politically motivated.

United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

FOX News is also carried in Britain and Ireland, with global weather forecasts instead of most advertisements, by the British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) satellite television network, of which James Murdoch is chief executive officer and in which News Corporation holds a 38 percent stake. It is a sister channel to BSkyB's Sky News.

Other countries

FOX News Channel is also carried in more than 40 countries including Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Grenada, Germany, Guatemala, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, New Guinea, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela, mostly through News Corporation-owned cable and satellite systems.

Allegations of bias

See also: Media bias, Propaganda model

FOX News asserts that it is more objective and factual than other American networks. Its self-promotion includes the phrases "Fair and Balanced" and "We Report, You Decide". However, numerous critics claim that the network has a conservative bias and tailors its news to support the Republican Party. Although most critics do not claim that all FOX News reporting is slanted, most allege that bias at FOX News is systemic.

Critics of FOX News point to the following as evidence of bias:

    white male Republican conservative
Hume (FOX) 93% 91% 89% 71%
Blitzer (CNN) 93% 86% 57% 32%
  • Photocopied memos from FOX News executive John Moody instructing the network's on-air anchors and reporters on using positive language when discussing anti-abortion viewpoints, the Iraq war, and tax cuts; as well as requesting that the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal be put in context with the other violence in the area.
  • An opinion piece on the Hutton Inquiry decision, in which John Gibson said the BBC had "a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-Americanism that was obsessive, irrational and dishonest" and that the BBC reporter, Andrew Gilligan, "insisted on air that the Iraqi Army was heroically repulsing an incompetent American Military" [11]. In reviewing viewer complaints, Ofcom (the United Kingdom's statutory broadcasting regulator) ruled that FOX News had breached the program code in three areas: "respect for truth", "opportunity to take part", and "personal view programmes opinions expressed must not rest upon false evidence". Fox News admitted that Gilligan had not actually said the words that John Gibson appeared to attribute to him; OfCom rejected the claim that it was intended to be a paraphrase. (see Ofcom complaint, response and ruling).
  • A documentary film, Outfoxed, makes allegations of bias in FOX News and interviews a number of former employees who discuss the company's practices. For example, Frank O'Donnell , a former employee of WTTG (a FOX affiliate), says: "We were stunned, because up until that point, we were allowed to do legitimate news. Suddenly, we were ordered from the top to carry [...] Republican, right-wing propaganda," after being told what to say about Ronald Reagan. The network made an official response and a review of selected employees featured in the film and their employment (or non-employment) with FOX News.
  • A news article in October 2004 by Carl Cameron, chief political correspondent of FOX News, containing three fabricated quotes attributed to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The quotes included: "Women should like me! I do manicures," "Didn't my nails and cuticles look great?" and "I'm metrosexual [Bush's] a cowboy." FOX News retracted the story and apologized, citing a "jest" that became published through "fatigue and bad judgement, not malice".
  • A study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism in 2005 found that, in covering the Iraq War in 2004, 73% of FOX News stories included editorial opinions, compared to 29% on MSNBC and 2% on CNN. The same report found FOX less likely than CNN to present multiple points of view. On the other hand, it found FOX more transparent about its sources[12]. Full report
  • A study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, in the Winter 2003-2004 issue of Political Science Quarterly, reported that viewers of the Fox Network local affiliates or Fox News were more likely than viewers of other news networks to hold three views which the authors labeled as misperceptions:[13] (PDF),
    • 67% of FOX viewers believed that the "US has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization" (Compared with 56% for CBS, 49% for NBC, 48% for CNN, 45% for ABC, 16% for both NPR and PBS). However, the belief that "Iraq was directly involved in September 11" was held by 33% of CBS viewers and only 24% of FOX viewers.
    • 33% of FOX viewers believed that the "US has found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction" "since the war ended". (Compared with 23% for CBS, 20% for both CNN and NBC, 19% for ABC and 11% for both NPR and PBS)
    • 35% of FOX viewers believed that "the majority of people [in the world] favour the US having gone to war" with Iraq. (Compared with 28% for CBS, 27% for ABC, 24% for CNN, 20% for NBC, 5% for both NPR and PBS)
Fox viewers were unique in that those who paid greater attention to news were moderately more likely to have these misperceptions than those who paid less or no attention to news.

FOX News responds. CEO Roger Ailes publicly responded in an online column for the Wall Street Journal ([14]), claiming that FOX's critics intentionally confuse opinion shows such as The O'Reilly Factor with regular news coverage. Ailes also claimed critics ignore instances in which FOX has broken stories which turned out harmful to Republicans or the Republican Party such as FOX breaking the story that George W. Bush had been arrested for drunk driving. The story was broken by Portland, Maine Fox affiliate WPXT .

Trademark disputes

In 2003, Penguin Books published Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, by the comedian and writer Al Franken. The book criticized many right-wing individuals and institutions on grounds of inaccuracy; it included FOX News among the media outlets described as biased. Before the book was released, FOX brought a lawsuit, alleging that the book's subtitle violated FOX's trademark in the promotional phrase "Fair and Balanced". On that basis, FOX moved for a preliminary injunction to block the publication of the book. The United States District Court Judge hearing the case denied the motion, characterizing FOX's claim as "wholly without merit, both factually and legally". FOX then withdrew the suit. Franken then suggested that the judge's phrase "Wholly Without Merit" would make a more appropriate slogan for FOX.

In December 2003, the Independent Media Institute , which publishes the Alternet online magazine, brought a petition before the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking the cancellation of FOX's trademark in the phrase "Fair & Balanced". [15] The petition argued that the phrase was so widely used by others as to have no particular association with FOX, and that FOX's use of the phrase was "notoriously misdescriptive of [FOX]'s presentation of news content". [16] As of April 2005, the proceeding was still pending.

In 2002, a small website called began selling T-shirts and other merchandise with a "FAUX News" logo parodying FOX's logo. The products included one that used "We Distort, You Comply" as a parody of FOX's slogan "We Report, You Decide". Lawyers for FOX, charging an infringement of FOX's rights, demanded that the company cease selling all such merchandise, and threatened litigation if Agitproperties did not comply. [17] As of April 2005, the "FAUX News" products are no longer listed on the Agitproperties website.

In 2005, MSNBC began using a new slogan entitled "Fair and Accurate." Fox News Channel has yet to act on this manner.

External links

Last updated: 10-11-2005 22:05:10
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