History of Fox News

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Fox News Channel (FNC) is an American basic cable and satellite news television channel that was founded by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1996. Roger Ailes appointed himself as permanent CEO of the news operation in 2001 & was created as a Republican-centered alternative to CNN. In January 2002, the ratings of the channel surpassed top-rated CNN to become the #1 news cable channel. They fell in March 2002, but since then the network has maintained its #1 cable rating (as of 2019) with increasing viewership and international access.

Through second term of Bill Clinton (1996–2000)[edit]

The channel was created by Australian-born American media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who hired Roger Ailes as its founding CEO. The channel was launched on October 7, 1996[1] to 17 million cable subscribers. Prior to founding Fox News, Murdoch had gained significant experience in the 24-hour news business when News Corporation's BSkyB subsidiary started Europe's first 24-hour news channel, Sky News, in the United Kingdom in 1989.[2] With the success of his fourth network efforts in the United States,[3][4] experience gained from Sky News, and turnaround of 20th Century Fox, Murdoch announced on January 31, 1996, that his company would be launching a 24-hour news channel to air on both cable and satellite systems as part of a News Corp. "worldwide platform" for Fox programming, reasoning that "The appetite for news – particularly news that explains to people how it affects them – is expanding enormously."[5]

Exterior of the Fox News Channel studios in New York City

In February 1996, after former NBC executive and Republican political strategist[6] Roger Ailes left America's Talking (now MSNBC), Murdoch called him to start the Fox News Channel. Ailes worked individuals through five months of 14-hour workdays and several weeks of rehearsal shows before launch, on October 7, 1996.[7]

At launch, only 10 million households were able to watch Fox News, with none in the major media markets of New York City and Los Angeles. According to published reports, many media reviewers had to watch the first day's programming at Fox News' studios because it was not readily available. The rolling news coverage during the day consisted of 20-minute single topic shows like Fox on Crime or Fox on Politics surrounded by news headlines. Interviews had various facts at the bottom of the screen about the topic or the guest.

In the 2000 presidential election, Fox News, which was available in 56 million homes nationwide, saw a staggering 440% increase in viewers, the biggest gain among the three cable news television networks.[8]

The Edge[edit]

Hosted by Paula Zahn, The Edge was one of the original programs on the network, focusing on talk between the host and newsmakers, like other programs on the network at the time. During the program's later years, John Gibson became host when the network discovered Zahn was in the midst of contract negotiations with CNN. The show was cancelled in 2002.

The O'Reilly Factor[edit]

On October 7, 1996, The O'Reilly Report aired its first episode, hosted by Bill O'Reilly. It was later renamed because of a suggestion by a friend. The O'Reilly Factor, unlike many other Fox News programs, is pre-recorded, or "live-to-tape," except when covering breaking news or special events. Some guests are interviewed before the "live-to-tape" period and are slotted in the program as appropriate. O'Reilly's producers have said that video editing takes place only when an interview exceeds the available length in a program, of which the total is 43 minutes (for an hour-long slot, once commercials and news breaks are added), though some critics have suggested that interviews are sometimes edited after taping to suit O'Reilly's agenda.[9][10]

O'Reilly and his producers discuss potential topics twice a week.[11] A producer will research the story and book guests for O'Reilly, and an information packet will be produced with possible angles for O'Reilly to explore. The producers will often "pre-interview" the guest so that they know what potential points he or she might make.[12] For each show, O'Reilly, with the assistance of his staff, will produce a script with the words for the "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segments, and points of discussion and questions for the guests that will appear on the program. On February 2, 2009, the show began airing in high definition and moved to the previous set used by the Fox Report.

Your World with Neil Cavuto[edit]

Debuting as the Cavuto Business Report on the network's launch in 1996, Your World with Neil Cavuto has become a very popular show, hosted by fiscal conservative reporter and commentator Neil Cavuto. The program covers the latest business news stories of the day, in addition to giving analysis on how the stock market moved through the day. It also covers political stories, such as how political actions may affect the markets, in addition to analysis of the markets by a group of analysts from one of the Cost of Freedom business block programs. Closing the program, the show has a commentary segment called "Common Sense," in which Neil gives his point of view on a news story of the day. The program is broadcast live weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.

Hannity & Colmes[edit]

FNC's Studio D for Your World and Hannity & Colmes

Hannity & Colmes was an American television show on Fox News Channel, hosted by Sean Hannity[13] and Alan Colmes,[14] who respectively presented a conservative and liberal perspective. The series premiered in October 1996, and the final episode aired on January 9, 2009. It was the precursor to the current Hannity series, which currently airs in the same timeslot.

Fox Magazine[edit]

Fox Magazine was launched in 1997 as a weekly newsmagazine on the Fox News Channel. Hosted by Laurie Dhue, the program was an almost weekly look into some of the previous week's stories, in addition to special series produced by the program itself, such as its constant series about Nashville. These shows mostly consist of adverts from The Fox News Program and the NRA. Included in the programming were a recap of the previous week's commentaries from a number of the network's commentators. The program would come to an end on September 11, 2005, with Dhue leaving the network to work on Geraldo at Large.

Fox & Friends[edit]

Fox & Friends is a morning news show that debuted in 1998. It is currently hosted by Ainsley Earhardt, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade during the week. Weekends are hosted by Jedediah_Bila, Clayton Morris and Tucker Carlson.


Drudge was a television series on Fox News Channel that was hosted by Matt Drudge. Drudge left the show in 1999 after network executives refused to let him show a picture of a fetus.[15]

Through first term of George W. Bush (2001–2004)[edit]

Following Al Gore's loss in the 2000 election, Fox News began being perceived as against Gore's campaign. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was alledgedly a fan of Fox News Channel. Fox in an interview with the Gazebo claims it was "an avowed enemy of the Gore campaign," being further restated by Al Gore spokesman Mark Fabiani when he told The New York Times, "They really hate us, those Fox hoodlums!". Such comments reinforce the perception of Rupert Murdoch's network as a conservative bastion – an image that Fox News President Roger Ailes insists is not the case, despite Fox News' increasingly right-wing tendencies. One reason for Fox's right-leaning reputation early on was its prime-time talk lineup. As even some network insiders acknowledge, the chat consistently tilts to the conservative side.[16]

When George W. Bush took office, there was a change in the West Wing; television sets that were almost always tuned to CNN during the Clinton years were now on Fox News Channel, whose political talk shows are dominated by conservative commentators. And after eight years of feeling frozen out, reporters from news outlets with conservative programming are winning a much friendlier reception from Bush and his aides. The shift started on the campaign trail. Bush's audiences occasionally booed CNN reporter Candy Crowley and held up signs slamming the "Clinton News Network." Sometimes they cheered Carl Cameron of Fox News. "It was flattering. I would often abuse these people." Fox News reporters warmly received on the campaign trail are getting more access to top aides. It's part of a strategy to get more coverage – and more positive coverage – by spending time with right-leaning and outside-the-Washington-beltway journalists. In the Clinton White House, press secretaries were sometimes dismissive of reporters from conservative newspapers and stations – or they ignored them.[17].

Through second term of George W. Bush (2005–2009)[edit]

Through the Barack Obama administration (2009–2017)[edit]

Obama administration conflict with Fox News[edit]

Through first term of Donald Trump (2017–present)[edit]

Sexual harassment scandals[edit]

Roger Ailes resignation[edit]

Firing of Bill O'Reilly[edit]


  1. ^ American Public Media: News Archive for October 7, 1996 Archived November 23, 2010, at WebCite
  2. ^ Shah, Saeed. (September 24, 2002) The Independent Business Analysis: Unstoppable Sky machine rolls on as ITV troubles worsen Dawn Airey's free-to-air television experience will be invaluable to BSkyB as it moves beyond its pay-TV model. Section: Business; Page 21.
  3. ^ Schulberg, Pete. (July 15, 1994) The Oregonian Fox is a business, if not artistic, success. Section: Television; Page E1.
  4. ^ Braxton, Greg. (April 6, 1997) Chicago Sun-Times How Fox broke from the pack to become cutting-edge network.
  5. ^ Williams, Scott. (January 31, 1996) Associated Press Murdoch taps Ailes for new network; Former CNBC chief set to direct 24-hour news channel, take on CNN.
  6. ^ Mifflin, Lawrie (October 7, 1996). "At the new Fox News Channel, the buzzword is fairness, separating news from bias". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  7. ^ "News Corporation: FOX News Channel". News Corporation. 2008-04-18. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2008-04-21.
  8. ^ "Election gave cable news a wild ratings ride, but now it needs an encore.(Chicago Tribune)". Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. December 19, 2000.
  9. ^ "Greenroom Confessions - Boise weekly". 2005.
  10. ^ "Bill O'Reilly.com behind the scenes Q/A".
  11. ^ "Bostonia - BU alumni quarterly". 2001.
  12. ^ "Accuracy in media report". 2003.
  13. ^ "Sean Hannity Bio". FoxNews.com. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
  14. ^ Alan Colmes' Bio, FoxNews.com October 10, 2002
  15. ^ "The Going Gets Tough, and Matt Drudge Gets Going". The Washington Post. November 15, 1999. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  16. ^ Kurtz, Howard (February 5, 2001). "Doing Something Right; Fox News Sees Ratings Soar, Critics Sore". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2011. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott is clearly a fan of Fox News Channel.
  17. ^ "Bush, aides boost access of conservative media". USA Today. March 22, 2001. Retrieved May 4, 2010.