Fox News (officially known as the Fox News Channel, commonly abbreviated to FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. The channel broadcasts primarily from studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, New York. Fox News is provided in over 90 countries worldwide, with international broadcasts featuring Fox Extra segments during ad breaks.
The channel was created by Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who hired former Republican Party media consultant and CNBC executive Roger Ailes as its founding CEO. It launched on October 7, 1996, to 17 million cable subscribers. Fox News grew during the late 1990s and 2000s to become a dominant cable news network in the United States. Murdoch is the current chairman and acting CEO of Fox News.
Fox News Channel has been accused of biased reporting, and promoting the Republican Party and conservative causes. Critics have cited the channel as detrimental to the integrity of news overall. Fox News employees have responded that news reporting operates independently of its opinion and commentary programming, and have denied bias in news reporting. As of February 2015, approximately 94,700,000 US households (81.4% of cable, satellite & telco customers) receive the Fox News Channel.
In May 1985, Australian publisher Rupert Murdoch announced he and American industrialist and philanthropist Marvin Davis intended to develop "a network of independent stations as a fourth marketing force" to compete directly with CBS, NBC, and ABC through the purchase of six television stations owned by Metromedia. In July 1985, 20th Century Fox announced Murdoch had completed his purchase of 50 percent of Fox Filmed Entertainment, the parent company of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation. A year later, 20th Century Fox earned $5.6 million in its fiscal third period ended May 31, 1986, in contrast to a loss of $55.8 million in the third period of the previous year.
Prior to founding FNC, Murdoch had gained experience in the 24-hour news business when News Corporation's BSkyB subsidiary began Europe's first 24-hour news channel (Sky News) in the United Kingdom in 1989. With the success of his fourth network efforts in the United States, experience gained from Sky News and the turnaround of 20th Century Fox, Murdoch announced on January 31, 1996, that News Corp. would launch a 24-hour news channel on cable and satellite systems in the United States as part of a News Corp. "worldwide platform" for Fox programming: "The appetite for news – particularly news that explains to people how it affects them – is expanding enormously".
In February 1996, after former U.S. Republican Party political strategist and NBC executive Roger Ailes left cable television channel America's Talking (now MSNBC), Murdoch asked him to start Fox News Channel. Ailes demanded five months of 14-hour workdays and several weeks of rehearsal shows before its launch on October 7, 1996.
At its debut 17 million households were able to watch FNC; however, it was absent from the media markets of New York City and Los Angeles. Rolling news coverage during the day consisted of 20-minute single-topic shows such as Fox on Crime or Fox on Politics, surrounded by news headlines. Interviews featured facts at the bottom of the screen about the topic or the guest. The flagship newscast at the time was The Schneider Report, with Mike Schneider's fast-paced delivery of the news. During the evening, Fox featured opinion shows: The O'Reilly Report (now The O'Reilly Factor), The Crier Report (hosted by Catherine Crier) and Hannity & Colmes.
From the beginning, FNC has placed heavy emphasis on visual presentation. Graphics were designed to be colorful and attention-getting; this helped the viewer to grasp the main points of what was being said, even if they could not hear the host (with on-screen text summarizing the position of the interviewer or speaker, and "bullet points" when a host was delivering commentary). Fox News also created the "Fox News Alert," which interrupted its regular programming when a breaking news story occurred.
To accelerate its adoption by cable providers, Fox News paid systems up to $11 per subscriber to distribute the channel. This contrasted with the normal practice, in which cable operators paid stations carriage fees for programming. When Time Warner bought Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System, a federal antitrust consent decree required Time Warner to carry a second all-news channel in addition to its own CNN on its cable systems. Time Warner selected MSNBC as the secondary news channel, not Fox News. Fox News claimed this violated an agreement (to carry Fox News). Citing its agreement to keep its U.S. headquarters and a large studio in New York City, News Corporation enlisted the help of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's administration to pressure Time Warner Cable (one of the city's two cable providers) to transmit Fox News on a city-owned channel. City officials threatened to take action affecting Time Warner's cable franchises in the city.
During the September 11, 2001 attacks, Fox News was the first news organization to run a news ticker on the bottom of the screen to keep up with the flow of information that day. The ticker has remained, informing viewers about additional news which reporters may not mention on-screen and repeating news mentioned during a broadcast; it has proven popular with viewers.
FNC presents a variety of programming, with up to 15 hours of live broadcasting per day in addition to programming and content for the Fox Broadcasting Company. Most programs are broadcast from Fox News headquarters in New York City (at 1211 Avenue of the Americas), in its streetside studio on Sixth Avenue in the west wing of Rockefeller Center, sharing its headquarters with sister channel Fox Business Network. Fox News Channel has eight studios at its New York City headquarters that are used for its and Fox Business' programming: Studio B (used for Fox Business programming), Studio D (which has an area for studio audiences; and is used by Outnumbered), Studio E (used for Fox & Friends, Happening Now, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and certain editions of America's News HQ), Studio F (used for The Story With Martha Maccallum, The Five, and America's Election Headquarters) Studio G (which houses Fox Business shows), Studio H (Fox News Deck used for Shepard Smith Reporting and breaking news coverage), Studio J (used for Fox & Friends First, America's Newsroom, Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine) and the Web Studio (used for Fox News Live internet shows).
The remaining programs (such as Tucker Carlson Tonight, Special Report with Bret Baier, The Ingraham Angle, Fox News @ Night, and editions of America's News HQ not broadcast from the New York City studios) are broadcast from Fox News's Washington, D.C. studio, located on Capitol Hill across from Union Station in a secured building shared by a number of other television networks (including NBC News and C-SPAN). Audio simulcasts of the channel are aired on XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.
In an October 11, 2009 New York Times article, Fox said its hard-news programming runs from "9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays" and "[is] objective"; however, it makes no such claims for its other broadcasts, which primarily consist of editorial journalism and commentary.
With the growth of FNC, the company introduced a radio division, Fox News Radio, in 2003. Syndicated throughout the United States, the division provides short newscasts and talk radio programs featuring personalities from the television and radio divisions. In 2006, the company also introduced Fox News Talk, a satellite radio station featuring programs syndicated by (and featuring) Fox News personalities.
Introduced in December 1995, the Fox News website features the latest coverage (including columns by FNC television, radio and online personalities). Video clips are also available on Foxnews.com and Foxbusiness.com. Fox News Latino is the version aimed at the Hispanic audience, although presented almost entirely in English, with a Spanish section.
In September 2008, FNC joined other channels in introducing a live streaming segment to its website: The Strategy Room, designed to appeal to older viewers. It airs weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and takes the form of an informal discussion, with running commentary on the news. Regular discussion programs include Business Hour, News With a View and God Talk. In March 2009, The Fox Nation was launched as a website intended to encourage readers to post, commenting on the news. Fox News Mobile is the portion of the FNC website dedicated to streaming news clips formatted for video-enabled mobile phones.
In 2003, Fox News saw a large ratings jump during the early stages of the US invasion of Iraq. At the height of the conflict, according to some reports, Fox News had as much as a 300% increase in viewership (averaging 3.3 million viewers daily). In 2004, Fox News' ratings for its broadcast of the Republican National Convention exceeded those of the three major broadcast networks. During President George W. Bush's address, Fox News attracted 7.3 million viewers nationally; NBC, ABC, and CBS had a viewership of 5.9 million, 5.1 million, and 5.0 million respectively.
Between late-2005 and early-2006, Fox News saw a brief decline in ratings. One was in the second quarter of 2006, when it lost viewers for every prime-time program compared with the previous quarter. The audience for the Special Report with Brit Hume, for example, dropped 19%. Several weeks later, in the wake of the 2006 North Korean missile test and the 2006 Lebanon War, Fox saw a surge in viewership and remained the #1-rated cable news channel. Fox produced eight of the top ten most-watched nightly cable news shows, with The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes finishing first and second respectively.
FNC ranked #8 in viewership among all cable channels in 2006, and #6 in 2007. The channel ranked #1 during the week of Barack Obama's election (November 3–9) in 2008, and reached the top spot again in January 2010 (during the week of the special Senate election in Massachusetts). Comparing Fox to its 24-hour-news-channel competitors, in May 2010 the channel drew an average daily prime-time audience of 1.8 million viewers (versus 747,000 for MSNBC and 595,000 for CNN).
In September 2009, the Pew Research Center published a report on the public view of national news organizations. In the report, 72 percent of polled Republican Fox viewers rated the channel as "favorable", while 43 percent of polled Democratic viewers and 55 percent of all polled viewers shared that opinion. However, Fox was given the highest "unfavorable" rating of all national outlets studied (25 percent of all polled viewers). The report went on to say, "partisan differences in views of Fox News have increased substantially since 2007". A Public Policy Polling poll concluded in 2013 that perceptions of FNC had declined from 2010. 41% of polled voters said they trust it, down from 49% in 2010, while 46% said they distrust it, up from 37% in 2010. It was also called the "most trusted" network by 34% of those polled, more than had said the same of any other network.
On the night of October 22, 2012, Fox set a record for its highest-rated telecast ever, with 11.5 million viewers for the third U.S. presidential debate. In prime time the week before, Fox averaged almost 3.7 million viewers with a total day average of 1.66 million viewers.
In prime time and total day ratings for the week of April 15 to 21, 2013, Fox News, propelled by its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, was the highest-ranked network on U.S. cable television, for the first time since August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. January 2014 marked Fox News's 145th consecutive month as the number one rated cable news channel. During that month, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in overall viewers in both prime time hours and the total day. In the third quarter of 2014, the network was the most-watched cable channel during prime time hours. During the final week of the campaign for the United States elections, 2014, Fox News had the highest ratings of any cable channel, news or otherwise. On election night itself, Fox News' coverage had higher ratings than that of any of the other five cable or network news sources among viewers between 25 and 54 years of age. The network hosted the first prime-time GOP candidates' forum of the 2016 campaign on August 6. The debate reached a record-breaking 24 million viewers, by far the largest audience ever for any cable news event.
As indicated by a New York Times article, based on Nielsen statistics, Fox appears to have a mostly aged demographic. In 2008, in the 25–54 age group, Fox News had an average of 557,000 viewers, but dropped to 379,000 in 2013 while increasing its overall audience from 1.89 million in 2010 to 2.02 million in 2013. The median age of a prime-time viewer was 68 as of 2015. A study done by the Pew Research Center found that around 60% of Fox News viewers identify as conservative.
Fox News Channel originally used the slogan "Fair and Balanced", which was coined by network co-founder Roger Ailes while the network was being established. The New York Times described the slogan as being a "blunt signal that Fox News planned to counteract what Mr. Ailes and many others viewed as a liberal bias ingrained in television coverage by establishment news networks."
In August 2003, Fox sued comedian Al Franken over his use of the slogan as a subtitle for his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, which is critical of Fox News Channel. The lawsuit was dropped three days later, after Judge Denny Chin refused its request for an injunction. In his decision, Chin ruled the case was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally". He went on to suggest that Fox News' trademark on the phrase "fair and balanced" could be invalid. In December 2003, FNC won a legal battle concerning the slogan, when AlterNet filed a cancellation petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to have FNC's trademark rescinded as inaccurate. AlterNet included the documentary film Outfoxed as supporting evidence in its case. After losing early motions, AlterNet withdrew its petition; the USPTO dismissed the case. In 2008, FNC used the slogan "We Report, You Decide", referring to "You Decide 2008" (FNC's original slogan for its coverage of election issues).
In August 2016, Fox News Channel began to quietly phase out the "Fair and Balanced" slogan in favor of "Most Watched, Most Trusted"; when these changes were reported in June 2017 by Gabriel Sherman (a writer who had written a biography on Ailes), a network executive said the change "has nothing to do with programming or editorial decisions." It was speculated by media outlets that Fox News Channel was wishing to distance itself from Ailes' tenure at the network. In March 2018, the network introduced a new slogan and ad campaign, Real News. Real Honest Opinion. The slogan is intended to promote the network's opinion-based programming and counter perceptions surrounding "fake news".
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The network has been accused of permitting sexual harassment and racial discrimination by on-air hosts, executives, and employees, paying out millions of dollars in legal settlements. Prominent Fox News figures such as Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and Eric Bolling were eventually fired after a multitude of women accused them of sexual harassment. At least four lawsuits alleged Fox News co-president Bill Shine ignored, enabled or concealed Roger Ailes' alleged sexual harassment. Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch has dismissed the high-profile sexual misconduct allegations as "largely political" and speculated they were made "because we are conservative".
Bill O'Reilly and Fox News settled six agreements, totaling $45 million, with women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment. In January 2017, shortly after Bill O'Reilly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $32 million ("an extraordinarily large amount for such cases"), Fox News renewed Bill O'Reilly's contract. Fox News's parent company, 21st Century Fox, said it was aware of the lawsuit. The contract between O'Reilly and Fox News read he could not be fired from the network unless sexual harassment allegations were proved in court.
Fox News's extensive coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October 2017 was seen by some as hypocritical. Fox News dedicated at least 12 hours of coverage to the Weinstein scandal, yet only dedicated 20 minutes to Bill O'Reilly, who just like Weinstein had been accused of sexual harassment by a multitude of women. Indira Lakshmana, an expert in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute, said "to devote hours of airtime to crowing about Weinstein's well-deserved downfall because of his liberal politics, while ignoring the massive, decades-long pattern of harassment by powerful men at Fox, is both hypocritical and sad". A few weeks later, when a number of women under the age of 18, including a 14-year old, accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of making sexual advances, Hannity dismissed the sexual misconduct allegations and dedicated coverage on his TV show to casting doubt on the accusers. Other prime-time Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham questioned the Washington Post's reporting or opted to bring up sexual misconduct allegations regarding show business elites such as Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. Fox News figures Jeanine Pirro and Gregg Jarrett questioned both the validity of the Washington Post's reporting and that of the women. In December 2017, a few days before the Alabama Senate election, Fox News, along with the conspiracy websites Breitbart and Gateway Pundit, ran an inaccurate headline which claimed one of Roy Moore's accusers admitted to forging an inscription by Roy Moore in her yearbook; Fox News later added a correction to the story.
A number of Fox News hosts have welcomed Bill O'Reilly to their shows and paid tributes to Roger Ailes after his death. In May 2017, Hannity called Ailes "a second father" and said to Ailes's "enemies" that he was "preparing to kick your a** in the next life". Ailes had the year before been fired from Fox News after a number of women alleged he sexually harassed them. In September 2017, several months after Bill O'Reilly was fired from Fox News in the wake of a number of women alleging he sexually harassed them, Hannity hosted O'Reilly on his show. Some Fox News employees criticized the decision. According to CNN, during the interview, Hannity found kinship with O'Reilly as he appeared "to feel that he and O'Reilly have both become victims of liberals looking to silence them." Earlier, Hannity had dedicated extensive coverage to the Weinstein scandal.
Fox News Channel has been widely criticized for biased reporting in favor of conservative political positions, the Republican Party and President Donald Trump. According to Politico, under Trump's presidency, Fox News remade itself into his image, as nearly no criticism could be heard of Trump on Fox News' prime-time shows. Even in Fox News' news reporting, the network dedicated far more coverage to Hillary Clinton-related stories, which critics say is intended to deflect attention from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump provided great access to Fox News during his presidency, giving 19 interviews to the channel while only 6 in total to other news channels by November 2017; the New York Times described Trump's Fox News interviews as "softball interviews" and some of the interviewers' interview styles as "fawning". From 2015 to 2017, the Fox News prime-time line-up changed from one that was skeptical and questioning of Trump to a "Trump safe space, with a dose of Bannonist populism once considered on the fringe." The Fox News website has also gotten more extreme in its rhetoric since the election of Donald Trump; according to Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, the Fox News website "gone a little Breitbart" over time. At the start of 2018, Fox News mostly ignored prominent scandals in the Trump administration which received ample coverage in other national media outlets, such as White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter's resignation amid domestic abuse allegations, the downgrading of Jared Kushner's security clearance and the existence of a non-disclosure agreement between Trump and the porn star Stormy Daniels.
A 2008 study found Fox News gave disproportionate attention to polls suggesting low approval for President Bill Clinton. A 2009 study found Fox News was less likely to pick up stories that reflected well on Democrats, and more likely to pick up stories that reflected well on Republicans. A 2010 study comparing Fox News Channel's Special Report With Brit Hume and NBC's Nightly News coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during 2005 concluded "Fox News was much more sympathetic to the administration than NBC", suggesting "if scholars continue to find evidence of a partisan or ideological bias at FNC... they should consider Fox as alternative, rather than mainstream, media".
Research also suggests Fox News increases Republican vote shares and makes Republican politicians more partisan. A 2007 study, using the introduction of Fox News into local markets (1996-2000) as an instrumental variable, found that in the 2000 presidential election "Republicans gained 0.4 to 0.7 percentage points in the towns that broadcast Fox News", suggesting "Fox News convinced 3 to 28 percent of its viewers to vote Republican, depending on the audience measure". These results were confirmed by a 2015 study. A 2014 study, using the same instrumental variable, found congressional "representatives become less supportive of President Clinton in districts where Fox News begins broadcasting than similar representatives in similar districts where Fox News was not broadcast." A 2017 study, using channel positions as an instrumental variable, found "Fox News increases Republican vote shares by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week by variation in position." Another 2014 paper found Fox News viewing increased Republican vote shares among voters who identified as Republican or independent.
Fox News publicly denies it is biased, with Murdoch and Ailes saying have included Murdoch's statement that Fox has "given room to both sides, whereas only one side had it before". Fox News host Chris Wallace has said, "I think we are the counter-weight [to NBC News] ... they have a liberal agenda, and we tell the other side of the story." In 2004, Robert Greenwald's documentary film Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism argued Fox News had a conservative bias and featured clips from Fox News and internal memos from editorial vice president John Moody directing Fox News staff on how to report certain subjects.
A leaked memo from Fox News vice president Bill Sammon to news staff at the height of the health care reform in the United States debate has been cited as an example of the pro-Republican Party bias of Fox News. His memo asked the staff to "use the term 'government-run health insurance,' or, when brevity is a concern, 'government option,' whenever possible". The memo was sent shortly after Republican pollster Frank Luntz advised Sean Hannity on his Fox show, "If you call it a public option, the American people are split. If you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it".
Surveys suggest Fox News is widely perceived to be ideological. A 2009 Pew survey found Fox News is viewed as the most ideological channel in America, with 47 percent of those surveyed said Fox News is "mostly conservative", 14 percent said "mostly liberal" and 24 percent said "neither". In comparison, MSNBC had 36 percent identify it as "mostly liberal", 11 percent as "mostly conservative" and 27 percent as "neither". CNN had 37 percent describe it as "mostly liberal", 11 percent as "mostly conservative" and 33 percent as "neither". A 2004 Pew Research Center survey found FNC was cited (unprompted) by 69 percent of national journalists as a conservative news organization. A Rasmussen poll found 31 percent of Americans felt Fox News had a conservative bias, and 15 percent that it had a liberal bias. It found 36 percent believed Fox News delivers news with neither a conservative or liberal bias, compared with 37 percent who said NPR delivers news with no conservative or liberal bias and 32 percent who said the same of CNN.
David Carr, media critic for The New York Times, praised the 2012 presidential election results coverage on Fox News for the network's response to Republican adviser and Fox News contributor Karl Rove challenging its call that Barack Obama would win Ohio and the election. Fox's prediction was correct. Carr wrote:
Over many months, Fox lulled its conservative base with agitprop: that President Obama was a clear failure, that a majority of Americans saw [Mitt] Romney as a good alternative in hard times, and that polls showing otherwise were politically motivated and not to be believed. But on Tuesday night, the people in charge of Fox News were confronted with a stark choice after it became clear that Mr. Romney had fallen short: was Fox, first and foremost, a place for advocacy or a place for news? In this moment, at least, Fox chose news.
A May 2017 study conducted by Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy examined coverage of Trump's first 100 days in office by several major mainstream media outlets including Fox. It found Trump received 80% negative coverage from the overall media, and received the least negative coverage on Fox – 52% negative and 48% positive.
On March 14, 2017, Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, claimed on Fox & Friends that British intelligence agency GCHQ had wiretapped Donald Trump on behalf of Barack Obama during the 2016 United States presidential election. On March 16, 2017, White House spokesman Sean Spicer repeated the claim. When Trump was questioned about the claim at a news conference, he said "All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn't make an opinion on it." On March 17, 2017, Shepard Smith, a Fox News anchor, admitted the network had no evidence that Trump was under surveillance. British officials said the White House was backing off the claim. Napolitano was later suspended by Fox News for making the claim.
On 30 October 2017, when special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicted Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and revealed George Papadopoulos had plead guilty (all of whom were involved in the Trump 2016 campaign), this was the focus of most media's coverage, except Fox News'. Hosts and guests on Fox News called for Mueller to be fired. Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson focused their shows on unsubstantiated allegations that Clinton sold uranium to Russia in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation and on the Clinton campaign's role in funding the Donald Trump–Russia dossier. Hannity asserted, "The very thing they are accusing President Trump of doing, they did it themselves." During the segment, Hannity mistakenly referred to Clinton as President Clinton. Fox News dedicated extensive coverage to the uranium story, which Democrats said was an attempt to distract from Mueller's intensifying investigation. CNN described the coverage as "a tour de force in deflection and dismissal." On 31 October, CNN reported Fox News employees were dissatisfied with their outlet's coverage of the Russia investigation, with employees calling it an "embarrassment", "laughable" and saying it "does the viewer a huge disservice and further divides the country" and that it is "another blow to journalists at Fox who come in every day wanting to cover the news in a fair and objective way".
When the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election intensified in October 2017, the focus of Fox News coverage turned "what they see as the scandal and wrongdoing of President Trump’s political opponents. In reports like these, Bill and Hillary Clinton are prominent and recurring characters because they are considered the real conspirators working with the Russians to undermine American democracy." Paul Waldman of the Washington Post described the coverage as "No puppet. You’re the puppet," saying it was a "careful, coordinated, and comprehensive strategy" to distract from Mueller's investigation. German Lopes of Vox said Fox News' coverage has reached "levels of self-parody" as it dedicated coverage to low-key stories, such as a controversial Newsweek op-ed and hamburger emojis, while other networks had wall-to-wall coverage of Mueller's indictments.
A FiveThirtyEight analysis of Russia-related media coverage in cable news found most mentions of Russia on Fox News were spoken in close proximity to "uranium" and "dossier". On 1 November 2017, Vox analyzed the transcripts of Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, and found Fox News "was unable to talk about the Mueller investigation without bringing up Hillary Clinton", "talked significantly less about George Papadopoulos — the Trump campaign adviser whose plea deal with Mueller provides the most explicit evidence thus far that the campaign knew of the Russian government’s efforts to help Trump — than its competitors," and "repeatedly called Mueller’s credibility into question".
In December 2017, Fox News escalated its attacks on the Mueller investigation, with hosts and guest commentators suggesting the investigation amounted to a coup. Guest co-host Kevin Jackson referred to a right-wing conspiracy theory claiming Strzok's messages are evidence of a plot by FBI agents to assassinate Trump, a claim which the other Fox co-hosts quickly said is not supported by any credible evidence. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro called the Mueller investigation team a "criminal cabal" and said the team ought to be arrested. Other Fox News figures referred to the investigation as "corrupt", "crooked" and "illegitimate", and likened the FBI to the KGB, the Soviet-era spy organization that routinely tortured and summarily executed people. Political scientists and scholars of coups described the Fox News rhetoric as scary and dangerous. Experts on coups rejected that the Mueller investigation amounted to a coup; rather, the Fox News rhetoric was dangerous to democracy and mirrored the kind of rhetoric that occurs before purges. A number of observers argued the Fox News rhetoric was intended to discredit the Mueller investigation and sway President Donald Trump to fire Mueller.
In November 2017, in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 New York City truck attack wherein a terrorist shouted "Allahu Akbar", Fox News distorted a statement by Jake Tapper to make it appear as if he had said "Allahu Akbar" can be used under the most "beautiful circumstances". Fox News omitted that Tapper had said the use of "Allahu Akbar" in the terrorist attack was not one of these beautiful circumstances. A headline on FoxNews.com was preceded by a tag reading "OUTRAGEOUS". The Fox News Twitter account distorted the statement even more, saying "Jake Tapper Says 'Allahu Akbar' Is 'Beautiful' Right After NYC Terror Attack" in a tweet that was later deleted. Tapper chastised Fox News for choosing to "deliberately lie" and said "there was a time when one could tell the difference between Fox and the nutjobs at Infowars. It’s getting tougher and tougher. Lies are lies." Tapper had in 2009, while a White House correspondent for ABC News, come to the defense of Fox News when Obama criticized the network for not being a legitimate news organization.
Fox News guest host Jason Chaffetz apologized to Tapper for misrepresenting his statement. After Fox News had deleted the tweet, Sean Hannity repeated the misrepresentation and called Tapper "liberal fake news CNN’s fake Jake Tapper” and mocked his ratings.
In July 2017, a report by Fox & Friends falsely said the New York Times had disclosed intelligence in one of its stories and that this intelligence disclosure helped Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, to evade capture. The report cited an inaccurate assertion by Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of the United States Special Operations Command, that a major newspaper had disclosed the intelligence. Fox News said it was the New York Times, repeatedly running the chyron “NYT FOILS U.S. ATTEMPT TO TAKE OUT AL-BAHGDADI". Pete Hegseth, one of the show's hosts, criticized the “failing New York Times”. President Donald Trump tweeted about the Fox & Friends report shortly after it first aired, saying “The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security.” Fox News later updated the story, but without apologizing to the New York Times or responding directly to the inaccuracies.
In a Washington Post column, Erik Wemple said Chris Wallace had covered the New York Times story himself on Fox News Sunday. "Here’s another case of the differing standards between Fox News’s opinion operation," which has given "a state-run vibe on all matters related to Trump," compared to Fox News’s news operation, which has provided "mostly sane coverage."
A 2011 study found Fox News "takes a more dismissive tone toward climate change than CNN and MSNBC". A 2008 study found Fox News emphasized the scientific uncertainty of climate change more than CNN, was less likely to say climate change was real, and more likely to interview climate change skeptics.
In 2011, the hosts of Fox & Friends described climate change as "unproven science", a "disputed fact", and criticized the Department of Education for working together with Nickelodeon to teach children about climate change. In 2001, Sean Hannity described the scientific consensus on climate change as "phony science from the left." In 2004, he falsely alleged, "scientists still can’t agree on whether the global warming is scientific fact or fiction". In 2010, Hannity said the so-called "Climategate" - the leaking of e-mails by climate scientist that climate change skeptics claimed demonstrated scientific misconduct but which all subsequent enquiries have found no evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing - a "scandal" that "exposed global warming as a myth cooked up by alarmists." Hannity frequently invites contrarian fringe scientists and critics of climate change to his shows.
Shepard Smith has drawn attention for being one of few voices on Fox News to forcefully state that climate change is real, that human activities are a primary contributor to it and that there is a scientific consensus on the issue. His acceptance of the scientific consensus on climate change has drawn criticism from Fox News viewers and conservatives.
On May 16, 2017, a day when other news organizations were extensively covering Donald Trump's revelation of classified information to Russia, Fox News ran a lead story about a private investigator's uncorroborated claims about the murder of Seth Rich, a DNC staffer. The private investigator said he had uncovered evidence that Rich was in contact with Wikileaks and law enforcement were covering it up. The killing of Rich has given rise to conspiracy theories in rightwing circles that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party had Seth Rich killed allegedly because he was the source of the DNC leaks. U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia was the source of the leaks. In reporting the investigator's claims, the Fox News report reignited right-wing conspiracy theories about the killing.
The Fox News story fell apart within hours. Other news organizations quickly revealed the investigator was a Donald Trump supporter and had according to NBC News "developed a reputation for making outlandish claims, such as one appearance on Fox News in 2007 in which he warned that underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping young women." The family of Seth Rich, the Washington D.C police department, the Washington D.C. mayor's office, the FBI, and law enforcement sources familiar with the case, rebuked the investigator's claims. The family said, "We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers." The spokesperson for the family criticized Fox News for its reporting, alleging the outlet was motivated by a desire to deflect attention from the Trump-Russia story: "I think there’s a very special place in hell for people that would use the memory of a murder victim in order to pursue a political agenda." The family has called for retractions and apologies from Fox News for the inaccurate reporting. Over the course of the day, Fox News altered the contents of the story and the headline, but did not issue corrections. When CNN contacted the private investigator later that day, the investigator said he had no evidence that Rich had contacted Wikileaks. The investigator claimed he only learned about the possible existence of the evidence from a Fox News reporter. Fox News did not respond to inquiries by CNN, and the Washington Post. Fox News later on 23 May, seven days after the story was published, retracted its original report, saying the original report did not meet its standards.
Nicole Hemmer, assistant professor at the Miller Center of Public Affairs, wrote that the promotion of the conspiracy theory demonstrated how Fox News was "remaking itself in the image of fringe media in the age of Trump, blurring the lines between real and fake news." Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations said while intent behind Fox News, as a counterweight to the liberal media was laudable, the culmination of those efforts have been to create an alternative news source that promotes hoaxes and myths, of which the promotion of the Seth Rich conspiracy is an example. Fox News was also criticized by conservative outlets, such as the Weekly Standard, National Review, and conservative columnists, such as Jennifer Rubin, Michael Gerson, and John Podhoretz.
In September 2009, the Obama administration engaged in a verbal conflict with Fox News Channel. On September 20, President Barack Obama appeared on all major news programs except Fox News, a snub partially in response to remarks about him by commentators Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, and Fox coverage of Obama's health-care proposal.
In late September 2009, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod and Roger Ailes met in secret to attempt to smooth out tensions between the two camps. Two weeks later, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel referred to FNC as "not a news network" and communications director Anita Dunn said "Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party". Obama observed, "If media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that's one thing, and if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another". White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said it was important "to not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox".
Within days, it was reported that Fox had been excluded from an interview with administration official Ken Feinberg, with bureau chiefs from the White House press pool (ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN) coming to Fox's defense. A bureau chief said, "If any member had been excluded it would have been the same thing, it has nothing to do with Fox or the White House or the substance of the issues". Shortly after the story broke, the White House admitted to a low-level mistake, saying Fox had not made a specific request to interview Feinberg. Fox White House correspondent Major Garrett said he had not made a specific request, but had a "standing request from me as senior White House correspondent on Fox to interview any newsmaker at the Treasury at any given time news is being made".
On November 8, 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported an unnamed Democratic consultant was warned by the White House not to appear on Fox News again. According to the article, Anita Dunn claimed in an e-mail to have checked with colleagues who "deal with TV issues" and had been told nobody was instructed to avoid Fox. Patrick Caddell, a Fox News contributor and former pollster for President Jimmy Carter, said he had spoken with other Democratic consultants who had received similar warnings from the White House.
On October 2, 2013, Fox News host Anna Kooiman cited on the air a fake story from the National Report parody site, which claimed Obama had offered to keep the International Museum of Muslim Cultures open with cash from his own pocket.
Various Fox News hosts and contributors defended Trump's remarks that "many sides" were to blame for violence at a gathering of hundreds of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some criticized Trump. In a press conference on 15 August, Trump used the term "alt-left" to describe counterprotesters at the white supremacist rally, a term which had been used in Fox News' coverage of the white supremacist rally. Several of Trump's comments at the press conference mirrored those appearing earlier on Fox News.
Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham offered a partial defense of Trump, saying he was right to point out "the evil of a far left that is trying to tear down both history and intimidate free speech in the country." On the day of Trump's press conference, Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity focused their shows on criticizing liberals and the media. The next day, Hannity focused his show on the racist past of the Democratic Party, as well as "left-wing acceptance of black radicalism". Fox News host Tucker Carlson also covered historical figures, such as Thomas Jefferson, Mohammed, Simon Bolivar and Plato, who owned slaves on his show, and said people who wanted to remove confederate monuments would want to remove statues of Abraham Lincoln next. Carlson also questioned whether it was a violation of the First Amendment for businesses to deny services to white supremacists. A guest on Tucker Carlson's show equated those who want to remove confederate monuments to "Weimar thugs" and the Taliban. A guest on Fox & Friends equated the confederate flag with the rainbow flag, saying they "represent the exact same thing," and the hosts of Fox & Friends did not provide a response to the guest's remarks. The Fox & Friends host, Pete Hegseth, blamed the media for the violence at the white supremacist gathering.
According to Dylan Byers of CNN, Fox News' coverage on the day of the press conference "was heavy with "whataboutism". The average Fox viewer was likely left with the impression that the media's criticism of Trump and leftist protestors' toppling of some Confederate statues were far greater threats to America than white supremacism or the president's apparent defense of bigotry." Byers wrote, "it showed that if Fox News has a line when it comes to Trump's presidency, it was not crossed on Tuesday."
The Fox News Channel feed is available internationally via a number of providers, while Fox Extra segments provide alternate programming.
Initially, U.S. advertisements were replaced on FNC with viewer e-mail and profiles of FNC anchors set to music. In 2002, these were replaced with international weather forecasts. In 2006, the weather forecasts were replaced with Fox Extra (originally Fox News Extra, prior to the international launch of Fox Business) segments, narrated reports from Fox on a variety of topics. These reports generally concern lighter issues unrelated to current news events, and the segments are repeated. FNC also shows international weather forecasts when Fox Extra segments run short. In the United Kingdom, after a period when local commercials were inserted into breaks, Fox Extra now fills most breaks.
In Australia, FNC is broadcast on the dominant pay television provider Foxtel, which is 50% owned by News Corp Australia, the Australian arm of News Corp and the sister company of 21st Century Fox which owns FNC. Local cable news channel Sky News Australia is wholly owned by News Corp Australia and is therefore FNC's de facto sister channel, although has formal partnerships with FNC competitor CNN as well as both ABC News and CBS News.
Fox had initially planned to launch a joint venture with Canwest's Global Television Network, tentatively named Fox News Canada, which would have featured a mixture of U.S. and Canadian news programming. As a result, the CRTC denied a 2003 application requesting permission for Fox News Channel to be carried in Canada. However, in March 2004, a Fox executive said the venture had been shelved; in November of that year, the CRTC authorized Fox News Channel to be distributed by Canadian cable and satellite providers.
In the Netherlands, Fox News has been carried by cable providers UPC Nederland and CASEMA, and satellite provider Canaldigitaal; all have dropped the channel in recent years. At this time, only cable provider Caiway (available in a limited number of towns in the central part of the country) is broadcasting the channel. The channel is also carried by IPTV provider KNIPPR.
In New Zealand, FNC is broadcast on Channel 088 of pay satellite operator SKY Network Television's digital platform. It was formerly broadcast overnight on free-to-air UHF New Zealand TV channel Prime (owned by SKY); this was discontinued in January 2010, reportedly due to an expiring broadcasting license. Fox News' former parent company News Corporation has a stake in both SKY and Prime.
Between 2003 and 2006, in Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries, FNC was broadcast 16 hours a day on TV8 (with Fox News Extra segments replacing U.S. advertising). Fox News was dropped by TV8 and replaced by German news channel Deutsche Welle in September 2006.
FNC was also carried in the United Kingdom by Sky, which is 40-percent owned by FNC parent 21st Century Fox and operates its own domestic news channel Sky News. On August 29, 2017, Sky dropped Fox News; the broadcaster said its carriage was not "commercially viable" due to average viewership of less than 2,000 viewers per-day. The company said the decision was unrelated to 21st Century Fox's proposed acquisition of the remainder of Sky plc, which is currently undergoing a review by regulators. The potential co-ownership had prompted concerns from critics of the deal, who felt Sky News could undergo a shift to an opinionated format with a right-wing viewpoint, similar to Fox News; the channel has violated the Ofcom codes a number of times, including broadcasting analysis of the Brexit vote while polls were still open (a violation of British election laws; the channel was blocked while polls were open during the 2017 general election to comply with these rules), and various violations of a requirement for all news programming to show due impartiality.
Fox News is carried in more than 40 other countries. Although service to Japan ceased in summer 2003, it can still be seen on Americable (distributor for American bases), Mediatti (Kadena Air Base) and Pan Global TV Japan.
The network claims a uniquely powerful role in the pro-Trump echo chamber, setting the agenda for both the president and his millions of supporters. In this vein, Trump is rarely cast in an unfavorable light and the so called "mainstream media" draws little praise. Bad news, like the one surrounding Kushner, routinely gets glossed over.
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