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 now bills itself as the "most watched cable news channel" in the United States.
Fox News Channel Iraq war coverage
Fox News presents a wide variety of programming, with up to 15 hours of live programming per day. The following is the usual weekday lineup (as of Jan. 2005, all times Eastern):
- 6 a.m.: Morning programming begins with Fox & Friends, hosted by Steve Doocy, E.D. Hill, and Brian Kilmeade. This is similar to other cable news network programming in the mornings: 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, Bridgette 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.
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 The Selling of the President: 1968 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. 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. Nighttime anchor Sean Hannity 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.
Allegations of bias
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 such slogans belie a network that is far more slanted to the right than its peers and often tailors its news to support the Republican Party. Although most critics do not claim that all FOX News reporting is slanted, most claim that the bias at FOX News is systemic.
Critics of FOX News point to the following as evidence of bias:
- Rupert Murdoch's ownership of conservative newspapers such as the New York Post and The Times.
- Roger Ailes's, the CEO of Fox News, past activities including: Republican campaign work, involvement in the Willie Horton ad and his production of the Rush Limbaugh television show.
- Use of the term "homicide bomber" instead of "suicide bomber" after White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer made the request. The only other major news organization to do so was fellow News Corporation subsidiary the New York Post.
- A ruling in a whistleblower lawsuit that WTVT had ordered fired reporters Jane Akre and Steve Wilson to distort the facts in a story about Bovine Growth Hormone. WTVT successfully appealed on First Amendment grounds. However, the case was against a local affilate station, not FOX News. Appeal Decision (http://www.2dca.org/opinion/February%2014,%202003/2D01-529.pdf) (PDF)
- During the 2000 Presidential Election FOX News was the last major network to retract its call of Florida for Gore, and at 2:16 AM on Wednesday morning, FOX News became the first major network to project Bush as the winner of Florida and thus the election ( (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/11/14/politics/main249357.shtml)), as did all other networks by 2:20 AM.
- John Prescott Ellis, a full cousin of George W. Bush, was one of four consultants assigned by the Voter News Service to FOX News on night of the 2000 Presidential election; thus he was part of the team that recommended FOX News call Florida for Bush, which FOX News did at 2:16 a.m. However, all major networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN called Florida for Bush by 2:20 a.m. Additionally, Ellis admitted to informing Jeb and George Bush several times by telephone how projections were going on election night (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/11/14/politics/main249357.shtml).
- A report released in August 2001 by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, titled "Fox: The Most Biased Name in News," ( (http://www.fair.org/reports/fox.html)) which:
- Claims that, despite his claims to the contrary, The O'Reilly Factor host Bill O'Reilly is conservative; and
- Compared guests on FOX's Special Report with Brit Hume with those on CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports:
| || ||white ||male ||Republican ||conservative |
|Hume (FOX) ||93% ||91% ||89% ||71% |
|Blitzer (CNN) ||93% ||86% ||57% ||32% |
- A study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes reports that, even after adjusting for viewership and political preference, viewers of FOX News were more likely than the viewers of any other network to hold three beliefs, which it labels "misperceptions"  (http://www.pipa.org/OnlineReports/Iraq/Media_10_02_03_Report.pdf) (PDF):
- that the US has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al Qaeda terrorist organization
- However, in the same document PIPA admits that “a few al-Qaeda individuals visited Iraq or had contact with Iraqi officials”
- That weapons of mass destruction had been discovered in Iraq
- Arguably this is not strictly a misperception, since chemical shells have been discovered and have been used in an IED (apparently inadvertently or without much knowledge of how to use them).
- That the U.S. had received wide international support in its decision to go to war.
- This misperception is not necessarily evidence of bias by Fox News, but has possible alternative explanations, such as Fox viewers not caring about world opinion, therefore paying less attention to stories about it.
- Photocopied memos (http://mediamatters.org/items/200407140002) 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.
- In an opinion piece on the Hutton Inquiry decision, 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"  (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,109821,00.html). 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 (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/bulletins/prog_cb/pcb_11/upheld_cases?a=87101)).
- A documentary film, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, makes allegations of bias in FOX News and interviews a number of former employees who discuss the company's practices.
- In October 2004, Carl Cameron, chief political correspondent of FOX News, wrote a news article containing three fabricated quotes attributed to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The quotes included: "It's about the Supreme Court.?"; "Women should like me!"; "I do manicures." FOX News retracted the story and apologized (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,134166,00.html), citing a "jest" that became published through "fatigue and bad judgement, not malice".
FOX News responds. CEO Roger Ailes publicly responded in an online column for the Wall Street Journal ( (http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110005157)), stating 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.
FOX News currently leads the cable news market, earning better ratings than its chief competitors CNN and MSNBC combined; Nielsen ratings show that though more unique individuals watch CNN, FOX News viewers are likely to watch for longer periods of time, which results in higher ratings for it.
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 their numbers, to average 3.3 million viewers daily ( (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3148015.stm)).
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.
The founder of CNN, Ted Turner, said, upon the debut of FOX News, that his network would "squish Rupert like a bug", referring to FOX media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
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.  (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Decisions/2000/DB2000-565.htm) 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" ( (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Letters/2003/lb031107.htm)).
The CCTA applied on April 15, 2004 solely to add FOX News, along with the NFL Network.  (http://www.ccta.com/english/View.asp?t=&x=150&id=331) 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 ( (http://www.friends.ca/News/Friends_News/archives/articles04160401.asp)) On November 18, 2004 the CRTC announced that a digital license would be granted to FOX News ( (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Notices/2004/pb2004-88.htm)). 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" ( (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Notices/2004/pb2004-45.htm)). 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.
FOX News is also carried in Britain and Ireland, with global weather forecasts instead of most advertisments, 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.
FOX News Channel is also carried in more than 30 countries including Bahamas, Barbados, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, and Venezuela, mostly through News Corporation-owned cable and satellite systems.
- FOX News (http://www.foxnews.com/) - the channel's official website
- News Corporation (http://www.newscorp.com/) - FOX's parent company
- Museum of Broadcast Communications: Ailes, Roger (http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/A/htmlA/ailesroger/ailesroger.htm)
- OFCOM (UK) censure of John Gibson's comments about the BBC (http://www.ofcom.org.uk/bulletins/prog_cb/pcb_11/upheld_cases?a=87101)