The Fox News Channel, abbreviated FNC, commonly known as Fox News, and stylized in all caps, is an American multinational conservative cable news television channel based in New York City. It is owned by Fox News Media, which itself is owned by the Fox Corporation. The channel broadcasts primarily from studios at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan. Fox News provides service to 86 countries and overseas territories worldwide, with international broadcasts featuring Fox Extra segments during ad breaks.
|Broadcast area||United States|
|Picture format||720p HDTV 16:9|
|Parent||Fox News Media|
|Launched||October 7, 1996|
|Webcast||Fox News Go (Pay-TV subscribers only)|
|Website||Fox News Website|
The channel was created by Australian-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch to appeal to a conservative audience, hiring former Republican 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 the dominant United States cable news subscription network. As of September 2018[update], approximately 87,118,000 U.S. households (90.8% of television subscribers) received Fox News. In 2019, Fox News was the top-rated cable network, averaging 2.5 million viewers. As of April 2022[update], Murdoch is the executive chairman since 2016, and Suzanne Scott has been the CEO since 2018.
Fox News controversies have included, among others, practicing biased reporting in favor of the Republican Party, its politicians, and conservative causes, while portraying the Democratic Party in a negative light. Critics have argued that the channel is damaging to the integrity of news overall. Fox News has denied bias in its news reporting and the channel's official position is that its news reporting operates independently of its opinion journalism.[needs update] However, former employees have said that Fox News made them "slant the news in favor of conservatives".[needs update]
In May 1985, Australian publisher Rupert Murdoch announced that 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% 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.
Subsequently, and 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 efforts establishing Fox as a TV network in the United States, experience gained from Sky News and the turnaround of 20th Century Fox, Murdoch announced on January 30, 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 largest U.S. 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 (later 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 gain attention; 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. In January 2002, Fox News surpassed CNN in ratings for the first time.
Fox News has been described as practicing partisan reporting in favor of the Republican Party, the George W. Bush and Donald Trump administrations, and conservative causes, while portraying the Democratic Party in a negative light. Critics have argued that the channel is damaging to the integrity of news overall. Fox News has denied bias in its news reporting and the channel's official position is that its news reporting operates independently of its opinion journalism.[needs update] In the 2004 documentary Outfoxed, former employees said that Fox News made them "slant the news in favor of conservatives".
FNC maintains an archive of most of its programs. This archive also includes Movietone News series of newsreels from its now Disney-owned namesake movie studio, 20th Century Fox. Licensing for the Fox News archive is handled by ITN Source, the archiving division of ITN.
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; no longer in current use), Studio E (used for Gutfeld! and The Journal Editorial Report), Studio F (used for The Story with Martha MacCallum, The Five, Fox Democracy 2020, Fox & Friends, Outnumbered, The Faulkner Focus, Fox News Primetime, and Watters' World) Studio G (which houses Fox Business shows, The Fox Report, Your World with Neil Cavuto, and Cavuto Live), Studio H (Fox News Deck used for breaking news coverage, no longer in current use), Studio J (used for America's Newsroom, Hannity, Justice with Judge Jeanine, Fox News Live, Fox & Friends First, and Sunday Morning Futures) Starting in 2018, Thursday Night Football had its pregame show, Fox NFL Thursday, originating from Studio F. Another Fox Sports program, First Things First, also broadcasts from Studio E.
Other such programs (such as Special Report with Bret Baier, The Ingraham Angle, Fox News @ Night, Media Buzz, and editions of Fox News Live not broadcast from the New York City studios) are broadcast from Fox News's Washington, D.C. studios, 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). The Next Revolution is broadcast from Fox News' Los Angeles bureau studio, which is also used for news updates coming from L.A.. Tucker Carlson Tonight and Life, Liberty, & Levin are done from personal studios, in Maine and Virginia respectively. Audio simulcasts of the channel are aired on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
In an October 11, 2009, in a New York Times article, Fox said its hard-news programming runs from "9 AM to 4 PM and 6 to 8 PM on weekdays". However, it makes no such claims for its other broadcasts, which primarily consist of editorial journalism and commentary.
The Fox News Group produces Fox News Sunday, which airs on Fox Broadcasting and re-airs on FNC. Fox News also produces occasional special event coverage that is broadcast on FBC.
With the growth of the 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 AM to 5 PM 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 articles 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 2018, FNC announced that it would launch a subscription video on demand service known as Fox Nation. It serves as a companion service to FNC, carrying original and acquired talk, documentary, and reality programming designed to appeal to Fox News viewers. Some of its original programs feature Fox News personalities and contributors.
In 2003, Fox News saw a large ratings jump during the early stages of the U.S. 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 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 top-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 No. 8 in viewership among all cable channels in 2006, and No. 7 in 2007. The channel ranked number one 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 that "partisan differences in views of Fox News have increased substantially since 2007".
A Public Policy Polling poll concluded in 2013 that positive 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, 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 highest-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 for any cable news event.
A 2017 study by the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University found that Fox News was the third most-shared source among supporters of Donald Trump on Twitter during the 2016 presidential election, behind The Hill and Breitbart News.
In 2018, Fox News was rated by Nielsen as America's most watched cable network, averaging a record 2.4 million viewers in prime time and total day during the period of January 1 to December 30, 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to increased viewership for all cable news networks. For the first calendar quarter of 2020 (January 1 – March 31), Fox News had their highest-rated quarter in the network's history, with Nielsen showing a prime time average total audience of 3.387 million viewers. Sean Hannity's program, Hannity, weeknights at 9 pm ET was the top-rated show in cable news for the quarter averaging 4.2 million viewers, a figure that not only beat out all of its cable news competition but also placed it ahead of network competition in the same time slot. Fox ended the quarter with the top five shows in prime time, with Fox's Tucker Carlson Tonight finishing the quarter in second overall with an average audience of 4.2 million viewers, followed by The Five, The Ingraham Angle, and Special Report with Bret Baier. The Rachel Maddow Show was the highest non-Fox show on cable, coming in sixth place. Finishing the quarter in 22nd place was The Lead with Jake Tapper, CNN's highest rated show. According to a Fox News article on the subject, Fox & Friends averaged 1.8 million viewers, topping CNN's New Day and MSNBC's Morning Joe combined. The same Fox News article said that the Fox Business Network also had its highest-rated quarter in history and that Fox News finished March as the highest-rated network in cable for the 45th consecutive month.
In July 2020, the Wikipedia community announced that Fox News would no longer be considered "generally reliable" in its reporting of science and politics, and that it "should be used with caution to verify contentious claims" for those topics. The decision was made due to Fox News downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as allegations of Fox News spreading misinformation about climate change and reporting on the false concept of "no-go zones" for non-Muslims in British cities. The decision did not affect Fox News' reliability on other topics.
According to the Los Angeles Times on August 19, 2020: "Fox News Channel had six of last week's 11 highest-rated prime-time programs to finish first in the network ratings race for the third time since June" 2020.
A Morning Consult survey the week after Election Day 2020 showed 30 percent of Republicans in the United States had an unfavorable opinion of Fox News, while 54 percent of Republicans viewed the network favorably, compared to 67 percent before the election. A McClatchy news story suggested criticism from Donald Trump as a major reason, as well as the network's early calling of Arizona for Joe Biden, and later joining other networks in declaring Biden the winner of the 2020 election.
Ratings were also down for Fox News. Although it remained ahead of other networks overall, its morning show fell out of first place for the first time since 2001. Trump recommended OANN, which was gaining viewers. Newsmax was also increasing in popularity.
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[update]. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey showed that among those who named Fox News as their main source for political news, 69% are aged 50 or older.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 94% of Fox viewers "either identify as or lean Republican". The 2019 Pew survey showed that among people who named Fox News as their main source for political and election news, 93% identify as Republicans. Among the top eight political news sources named by at least 2% of American adults, the results show Fox News and MSNBC as the two news channels with the most partisan audiences.
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 a 2013 interview with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution, Rupert Murdoch defended the company's "Fair and Balanced" slogan saying "In fact, you'll find just as many Democrats as Republicans on and so on".
In August 2003, Fox News 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 Robert Greenwald's documentary film Outfoxed (2004) 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 ad campaign, Real News. Real Honest Opinion. The ad campaign is intended to promote the network's opinion-based programming and counter perceptions surrounding "fake news".
In mid-November 2020, following the election, Fox News began to use the slogan "Standing Up For What's Right" to promote its primetime lineup.
Fox News provided extensive coverage of the 2012 Benghazi attack, which host Sean Hannity described in December 2012 as "the story that the mainstream media ignores" and "obviously, a cover-up. And we will get to the bottom of it." Programming analysis by Media Matters found that during the twenty months following the Benghazi attacks, FNC ran 1,098 segments on the issue, including:
Over nearly four years after the Benghazi attack, there were ten official investigations, including six by Republican-controlled House committees. None of the investigations found any evidence of scandal, cover-up or lying by Obama administration officials.
From 2015 into 2018, Fox News broadcast extensive coverage of an alleged scandal surrounding the sale of Uranium One to Russian interests, which host Sean Hannity characterized as "one of the biggest scandals in American history". According to Media Matters the Fox News coverage extended throughout the programming day, with particular emphasis by Hannity. The network promoted an ultimately unfounded narrative asserting that, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton personally approved the Uranium One sale in exchange for $145 million in bribes paid to the Clinton Foundation. Donald Trump repeated these allegations as a candidate and as president. No evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton had been found after four years of allegations, an FBI investigation, and the 2017 appointment of a Federal attorney to evaluate the investigation. In November 2017, Fox News host Shepard Smith concisely debunked the alleged scandal, infuriating viewers who suggested he should work for CNN or MSNBC. Hannity later called Smith "clueless", while Smith stated: "I get it, that some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don't work there. I wouldn't work there."
Fox News Channel has been described as a conservative media, and as providing biased reporting in favor of conservative political positions, the Republican Party, and President Donald Trump. Political scientist Jonathan Bernstein described Fox News as an expanded part of the Republican Party. Political scientists Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins wrote that Fox News helped "Republicans communicate with their base and spread their ideas, and they have been effective in mobilizing voters to participate in midterm elections (as in 2010 and 2014)." Prior to 2000, Fox News lacked an ideological tilt, and had more Democrats watch the channel than Republicans. During the 2004 United States presidential election, Fox News was markedly more hostile in its coverage of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, and distinguished itself among cable news outlets for heavy coverage of the Swift Boat smear campaign against Kerry. During President Obama's first term in office, Fox News helped launch and amplify the Tea Party movement, a conservative movement within the Republican Party that organized protests against Obama and his policies.
During the Republican primaries, Fox News was perceived as trying to prevent Trump from clinching the nomination. Under Trump's presidency, Fox News remade itself into his image, as hardly any criticism of Trump could be heard on Fox News' prime-time shows. In Fox News' news reporting, the network dedicated far more coverage to Hillary Clinton-related stories, which critics said was intended to deflect attention from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Trump provided significant 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". In July 2018, The Economist has described the network's coverage of Trump's presidency as "reliably fawning". From 2015 to 2017, the Fox News prime-time line-up changed from being 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 become more extreme in its rhetoric since Trump's election; according to Columbia University's Tow Center for Digital Journalism, the Fox News website has "gone a little Breitbart" over time. At the start of 2018, Fox News mostly ignored high-profile 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.
In March 2019, Jane Mayer reported in The New Yorker that Fox News.com reporter Diana Falzone had the story of the Stormy Daniels–Donald Trump scandal before the 2016 election, but that Fox News executive Ken LaCorte told her: "Good reporting, kiddo. But Rupert [Murdoch] wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go." The story was killed; LaCorte denied making the statement to Falzone, but conceded: "I was the person who made the call. I didn't run it upstairs to Roger Ailes or others. ... I didn't do it to protect Donald Trump." She added that "[Falzone] had put up a story that just wasn't anywhere close to being something I was comfortable publishing." Nik Richie, who claimed to be one of the sources for the story, called LaCorte's account "complete bullshit", adding that "Fox News was culpable. I voted for Trump, and I like Fox, but they did their own 'catch and kill' on the story to protect him."
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 finds that 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." Another 2014 paper found Fox News viewing increased Republican vote shares among voters who identified as Republican or independent. 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." This study used a different metodhology for a later period and found an ever bigger effect and impact, leading Matthew Yglesias to write in the Political Communication academic journal that they "suggest that conventional wisdom may be greatly underestimating the significance of Fox as a factor in American politics."
Fox News publicly denies it is biased, with Murdoch and Ailes saying to have included Murdoch's statement that Fox has "given room to both sides, whereas only one side had it before". In June 2009, Fox News host Chris Wallace 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 United States 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 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.
In June 2018, Fox News executives instructed producers to head off inappropriate remarks made on the shows aired by the network by hosts and commentators. The instructions came after a number of Fox News hosts and guests made incendiary comments about the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents. Fox News host Laura Ingraham had likened the child detention centers that the children were in to "summer camps". Guest Corey Lewandowski mocked the story of a 10-year-old child with Down syndrome being separated from her mother; the Fox News host did not address Lewandowski's statement. Guest Ann Coulter falsely claimed that the separated children were "child actors"; the Fox News host did not challenge her claim. In a segment on Trump's alleged use of racial dog whistles, one Fox News contributor told an African-American whom he was debating: "You're out of your cotton-picking mind."
According to the 2016 book Asymmetric Politics by political scientists Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins, "Fox News tends to raise the profile of scandals and controversies involving Democrats that receive scant attention in other media, such as the relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers ... Hillary Clinton's role in the fatal 2012 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya; the gun-running scandal known as 'Fast and Furious'; the business practices of federal loan guarantee recipient Solyndra; the past activism of Obama White House operative Van Jones; the 2004 attacks on John Kerry by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; the controversial sermons of Obama's Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright; the filming of undercover videos of supposed wrongdoing by the liberal activist group ACORN; and the 'war on Christmas' supposedly waged every December by secular, multicultural liberals."
In October 2018, Fox News ran laudatory coverage of a meeting between Trump-supporting rapper Kanye West and President Trump in the Oval Office. Fox News had previously run negative coverage of rappers and their involvement with Democratic politicians and causes, such as when Fox News ran headlines describing conscious hip-hop artist Common as "vile" and a "cop-killer rapper", and when Fox News ran negative coverage of Kanye West before he became a Trump supporter.
On November 4, 2018, Trump's website, DonaldJTrump.com, announced in a press release that Fox News host Sean Hannity would make a "special guest appearance" with Trump at a midterm campaign rally the following night in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The following morning, Hannity tweeted "To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President." Hannity appeared at the president's lectern on stage at the rally, immediately mocking the "fake news" at the back of the auditorium, Fox News reporters among them. Several Fox News employees expressed outrage at Hannity's actions, with one stating that "a new line was crossed". Hannity later asserted that his action was not pre-planned, and Fox News stated it "does not condone any talent participating in campaign events". Fox News host Jeanine Pirro also appeared on stage with Trump at the rally. The Trump press release was later removed from Trump's website.
Fox News released a poll of registered voters, jointly conducted by two polling organizations, on June 16, 2019. The poll found some unfavorable results for Trump, including a record high 50% thought the Trump campaign had coordinated with the Russian government, and 50% thought he should be impeached – 43% saying he should also be removed from office – while 48% said they did not favor impeachment. The next morning on Fox & Friends First, host Heather Childers twice misrepresented the poll results, stating "a new Fox News poll shows most voters don't want impeachment" and "at least half of U.S. voters do not think President Trump should be impeached," while the on-screen display of the actual poll question was also incorrect. Later that morning on America's Newsroom, the on-screen display showed the correct poll question and results, but highlighted the 48% of respondents who opposed impeachment rather than the 50% who supported it (the latter being broken-out into two figures). As host Bill Hemmer drew guest Byron York's attention to the 48% opposed figure, they did not discuss the 50% support figure, while the on-screen chyron read: "Fox News Poll: 43% Support Trump's Impeachment and Removal, 48% Oppose." Later that day, Trump tweeted: "@FoxNews Polls are always bad for me...Something weird going on at Fox."
In April 2017, it became known that former Obama administration national security advisor Susan Rice sought the unmasking of Trump associates who were unidentified in intelligence reports, notably Trump's incoming national security advisor Michael Flynn, during the presidential transition. In May 2020, acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist, declassified a list of Obama administration officials who had also requested unmasking of Trump associates, which was subsequently publicly released by Republican senators. That month, attorney general Bill Barr appointed federal prosecutor John Bash to examine the unmaskings. Fox News primetime hosts declared the unmaskings a "domestic spying operation" for which the Obama administration was "exposed" in the "biggest abuse of power" in American history. The Bash inquiry closed months later with no findings of substantive wrongdoing.
However, certain Fox personalities have not had as much of a favorable reception from Trump: news anchors Shepard Smith (who retired from Fox in 2019) and Chris Wallace have been criticised by Trump for allegedly being adversarial, alongside Fox analyst Andrew Napolitano, who said Trump's actions in the Trump–Ukraine scandal were "both criminal and impeachable behavior". Trump was also critical of the network hiring former DNC chair Donna Brazile, in 2019. The relationship between Trump and Fox News, as well as other Rupert Murdoch-controlled outlets, soured following the 2020 United States presidential election, as Trump refused to concede that Joe Biden had been elected President-elect. This negative tonal shift led to increased viewership of Newsmax and One America News among Trump and his supporters due to their increased antipathy towards Fox; and as a result, Fox released promotional videos of their opinion hosts disputing the election results, promoting a Trump-affiliated conspiracy theory about voter fraud. By one measure, Newsmax saw a 497% spike in viewership, while Fox News saw a 38% decline.
Writing for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in February 2021, senior media writer Tom Jones argued that the primary distinction between Fox News and MSNBC is not right bias vs. left bias, but rather that much of the content on Fox News, especially during its primetime programs, "is not based in truth."
The Tampa Bay Times reported in August 2021 that it had reviewed four months of emails indicating Fox News producers had coordinated with aides of Florida governor Ron DeSantis to promote his political prospects by inviting him for frequent network appearances, exchanging talking points and, in one case, helping him to stage an exclusive news event.
On October 30, 2017, when special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and revealed George Papadopoulos had pleaded 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 Steele 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 October 31, 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 November 1, 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 August 2018, Fox News was criticized for giving more prominent coverage of a murder committed by an undocumented immigrant than the convictions of Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his long-term personal attorney, Michael Cohen. At the same time, most other national mainstream media gave wall-to-wall coverage of the convictions. Fox News hosts Dana Perrino and Jason Chaffetz argued that voters care far more about the murder than the convictions of the President's former top aides, and hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity downplayed the convictions.
In November 2017, following 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 the Obama administration claimed that the network was not 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, adding: "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".
Fox News has often been described as a major platform for climate change denial. According to the fact-checking website Climate Feedback, Fox News is part of "a network of unreliable outlets for climate news." A 2011 study by Lauren Feldman and Anthony Leiserowitz 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. Leaked emails showed that in 2009 Bill Sammon, the Fox News Washington managing editor, instructed Fox News journalists to dispute the scientific consensus on climate change and "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."
According to climate scientist Michael E. Mann, Fox News "has constructed an alternative universe where the laws of physics no longer apply, where the greenhouse effect is a myth, and where climate change is a hoax, the product of a massive conspiracy among scientists, who somehow have gotten the polar bears, glaciers, sea levels, superstorms, and megadroughts to play along." According to James Lawrence Powell's 2011 study of the climate science denial movement, Fox News provides "the deniers with a platform to say whatever they like without fear of contradiction." Fox News employs Steve Milloy, a prominent climate change denier with close financial and organizational ties to oil companies, as a contributor. In his columns about climate change for FoxNews.com, Fox News has failed to disclose his substantial funding from oil companies.
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 the children's network 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 that "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. In 2019, a widely shared Fox News news report falsely claimed that new climate science research showed that the Earth might be heading to a new Ice Age; the author of the study that Fox News cited said that Fox News "utterly misrepresents our research" and the study did not in any way suggest that Earth was heading to an Ice Age. Fox News later corrected the story.
Shepard Smith drew attention for being one of few voices formerly 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 drew criticism from Fox News viewers and conservatives. Smith left Fox News in October 2019. In a 2021 interview with Christiane Amanpour on her eponymous show in CNN, he stated that his presence on Fox had become "untenable" due to the "falsehoods" and "lies" intentionally spread on the network's opinion shows.
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. Rich's relatives 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 May 23, seven days after the story was published, retracted its original report, saying the original report did not meet its standards.
Nicole Hemmer, then 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.
Rich's parents, Joel and Mary Rich, sued Fox News for the emotional distress it had caused them by its false reporting. In 2020, Fox News settled with Rich family, making a payment that was not officially disclosed but which was reported to be in the seven figures. Although the settlement had been agreed to earlier in the year, Fox News arranged to delay the public announcement until after the 2020 presidential election.
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 August 15, 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.
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."
During Glenn Beck's tenure at Fox News, he became one of the most high-profile proponents of conspiracy theories about George Soros, a Jewish Hungarian-American businessman and philanthropist known for his donations to American liberal political causes. Beck regularly described Soros as a "puppet-master" and used common anti-Semitic tropes to describe Soros and his activities. In a 2010 three-part series, Beck depicted George Soros as a cartoonish villain trying to "form a shadow government, using humanitarian aid as a cover," and that Soros wanted a one-world government. Beck promoted the false and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Soros was a Nazi collaborator as a 14-year-old in Nazi-occupied Hungary. Beck also characterized Soros's mother as a "wildly anti-Semitic" Nazi collaborator. According to The Washington Post: "Beck's series was largely considered obscene and delusional, if not outright anti-Semitic", but Beck's conspiracy theory became common on the rightwing of American politics. Amid criticism of Beck's false smears, Fox News defended Beck, stating "information regarding Mr. Soros's experiences growing up were taken directly from his writings and from interviews given by him to the media, and no negative opinion was offered as to his actions as a child." Roger Ailes, then-head of Fox News, dismissed criticism levied at Beck by hundreds of rabbis, saying that they were "left-wing rabbis who basically don't think that anybody can ever use the word, Holocaust, on the air."
During the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Fox News was considerably more likely than other mainstream news outlets to promote misinformation about COVID-19. The network promoted the narrative that the emergency response to the pandemic was politically motivated or otherwise unwarranted, with Sean Hannity explicitly calling it a "hoax" (he later denied doing so) and other hosts downplaying it. This coverage was consistent with the messaging of Trump at the time. Only in mid March did the network change the tone of its coverage, after President Trump declared a national emergency. At the same time that Fox News commentators downplayed the threat of the virus in public, Fox's management and the Murdoch family took a broad range of internal measures to protect themselves and their employees against it.
Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, two of Fox News's primetime hosts, promoted use of the drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, an off-label usage which at the time was supported only by anecdotal evidence, after it was touted by Trump as a possible cure. Fox News promoted a conspiracy theory that coronavirus death toll numbers were inflated with people who would have died anyway from preexisting conditions. This was refuted by White House coronavirus task force members Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, with Fauci describing conspiracy theories as "nothing but distractions" during public health crises. Later in the pandemic, Hannity, Ingraham and Carlson promoted the use of livestock dewormer ivermectin as a possible COVID-19 treatment.
Once a COVID-19 vaccine became widely available, Fox News consistently questioned the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, celebrated evidence-free skepticism, and blasted attempts to promote vaccinations. More than 90% of Fox Corporation's full-time employees had been fully vaccinated by September 2021.
After Trump's defeat in the 2020 presidential election, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro promoted baseless allegations on her program that voting machine company Smartmatic and its competitor Dominion Voting Systems had conspired to rig the election against Trump. Hosts Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo also promoted the allegations on their programs on sister network Fox Business. In December 2020, Smartmatic sent a letter to Fox News demanding retractions and threatening legal action, specifying that retractions "must be published on multiple occasions" so as to "match the attention and audience targeted with the original defamatory publications." Days later, each of the three programs aired the same three-minute video segment consisting of an interview with an election technology expert who refuted the allegations promoted by the hosts, responding to questions from an unseen and unidentified man. None of the three hosts personally issued retractions. Smartmatic filed a $2.7 billion defamation suit against the network, the three hosts, Powell and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in February 2021. In an April 2021 court brief seeking dismissal of the suit, Fox attorney Paul Clement argued that the network was simply "reporting allegations made by a sitting President and his lawyers." A New York State Supreme Court judge ruled in March 2022 that the suit could proceed, though he dismissed allegations against Sidney Powell and Pirro, and some claims against Giuliani. The judge allowed allegations against Bartiromo and Dobbs to stand.
In December 2020, Dominion Voting Systems sent a similar letter demanding retractions to Trump attorney Sidney Powell, who had promoted the allegations on Fox programs. On March 26, 2021, Dominion filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, alleging that Fox and some of its pundits spread conspiracy theories about Dominion, and allowed guests to make false statements about the company. On May 18, 2021, Fox News filed a motion to dismiss the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit, asserting a First Amendment right "to inform the public about newsworthy allegations of paramount public concern." The motion to dismiss was denied on December 16, 2021, by a Delaware Superior Court judge. In addition to Bartiromo, Dobbs, and Pirro, the suit also names primetime hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Venezuelan businessman Majed Khalil sued Fox, Dobbs and Powell for $250 million in December 2021, alleging they had falsely implicated him in rigging Dominion and Smartmatic machines.
Fox News was the only major network or cable news outlet to not carry the first televised prime time hearing of the January 6 committee live; its regular programming of Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity was aired without commercial breaks. During the weeks following the election, Carlson and Hannity often amplified Trump's election falsehoods on their programs; previously disclosed text messages between Hannity and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany were presented during the hearing. Hannity told his audience, "Unlike this committee and their cheerleaders in the media mob, we will actually be telling you the truth," while Carlson said, "This is the only hour on an American news channel that won't be covering their propaganda live. They are lying and we are not going to help them do it."
In June 2022, a Delaware Superior Court judge again declined to dismiss the Dominion suit against Fox News, and also allowed Dominion to sue the network's corporate parent, Fox Corporation. The judge ruled that Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch may have acted with actual malice because there was a reasonable inference they "either knew Dominion had not manipulated the election or at least recklessly disregarded the truth when they allegedly caused Fox News to propagate its claims about Dominion." He noted a report that Rupert Murdoch spoke with Trump a few days after the election and informed him that he had lost.
In April 2021, at least five Fox News and Fox Business personalities amplified a story published by the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, that incorrectly linked a university study to President Joe Biden's climate change agenda, to falsely assert that Americans would be compelled to dramatically reduce their meat consumption to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions caused by flatulence. Fox News aired a graphic detailing the supposed compulsory reductions, falsely indicating the information came from the Agriculture Department, which numerous Republican politicians and commentators tweeted. Fox News anchor John Roberts reported to "say goodbye to your burgers if you want to sign up to the Biden climate agenda." Days later, Roberts acknowledged on air that the story was false.
According to analysis by Media Matters, on May 12, 2021, Fox News reported on its website: "Biden resumes border wall construction after promising to halt it". Correspondent Bill Melugin then appeared on Special Report with Bret Baier to report "the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is actually going to be restarting border wall construction down in the Rio Grande Valley" after "a lot of blowback and pressure from local residents and local politicians." After the Corps of Engineers tweeted a clarification, Melugin deleted a tweet about the story and tweeted an "update" clarifying that a levee wall was being constructed to mitigate damage to flood control systems caused by uncompleted wall construction, and the website story headline was changed to "Biden administration to resume border wall levee construction as crisis worsens." Later on Fox News Primetime, host Brian Kilmeade briefly noted the levee but commented to former Trump advisor Stephen Miller: "They're going to restart building the wall again, Stephen." Fox News host Sean Hannity later broadcast the original Melugin story without any mention of the levee.
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 fired after many 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 proven 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. 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 queried The Washington Post's reporting or opted to bring up sexual misconduct allegations regarding show business figures 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 News and The 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 women alleged he sexually harassed them. In September 2017, several months after Bill O'Reilly was fired from Fox News in the wake 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."
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's senior advisor David Axelrod and Roger Ailes met in secret to attempt to smooth out tensions between the two camps. Two weeks later, White House 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 commented: "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." 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, Dunn claimed in an e-mail to have checked with colleagues who "deal with TV issues" who denied telling anyone 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.
Fox News attracted controversy in April 2018 when it was revealed primetime host Sean Hannity had defended Trump's then personal attorney Michael Cohen on air without disclosing Cohen was his lawyer. On April 9, 2018, federal agents from the U.S. Attorney's office served a search warrant on Cohen's office and residence. On the air, Hannity defended Cohen and criticized the federal action, calling it "highly questionable" and "an unprecedented abuse of power". On April 16, 2018, in a court hearing, Cohen's lawyers told the judge that Cohen had ten clients in 2017–2018 but did "traditional legal tasks" for only three: Trump, Elliott Broidy, and a "prominent person" who did not wish to be named for fear of being "embarrassed". The federal judge ordered the revelation of the third client, whom Cohen's lawyers named as Hannity.
Hannity was not sanctioned by Fox News for this breach of journalistic ethics, with Fox News releasing a statement that the channel was unaware of Hannity's relationship to Cohen and that it had "spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support." Media ethics experts said that Hannity's disclosure failure was a major breach of journalistic ethics and that the network should have suspended or fired him for it.
In mid-2021, Fox News agreed to pay a $1 million settlement to New York City after its Commission on Human Rights cited "a pattern of violating the NYC Human Rights Law". A Fox News spokesperson claimed that "FOX News Media has already been in full compliance across the board, but [settled] to continue enacting extensive preventive measures against all forms of discrimination and harassment."
The Fox News Channel feed has international availability via multiple providers, while Fox Extra segments provide alternate programming. Fox News is carried in more than 40 countries.
In Australia, FNC is broadcast on the dominant pay television provider Foxtel, which is 65% owned by News Corp Australia, the Australian arm of News Corp and the sister company of FNC-owner Fox Corporation. 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.
Since 2002, FNC has been broadcast to Brazil; however, commercials are replaced with Fox Extra. It is available in packages of Vivo TV.
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 added Fox News to its whitelist of foreign channels that may be carried by television providers.
The channel's international feed is being carried by cable provider Izzi Telecom.
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 was also carried by IPTV provider KNIPPR (owned by T-Mobile).
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 had a stake in both SKY and Prime until 2014.
In the Philippines, Fox News Channel is available on Sky Cable Channels 138 (Metro Manila) and 510 (Regional), Cablelink Channel 224 (Metro Manila) and G Sat Channel 50. It was available on Cignal Channel 131 until January 1, 2021, due to contract expiration.
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 carried in the United Kingdom by Sky, which was 40-percent owned by 21st Century Fox at the time, 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 fewer 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 ultimately led to a bidding war that resulted in its acquisition by Comcast instead).
The potential co-ownership had prompted concerns from critics of the deal, who felt Sky News could similarly undergo a shift to an opinionated format with a right-wing viewpoint. However, such a move would violate Ofcom broadcast codes, which requires all news programming to show due impartiality. The channel's broadcasts in the country have violated this rule on several occasions, while the channel also violated election silence rules by broadcasting analysis of the 2016 Brexit referendum while polls were still open (the channel was blacked out while polls were open during the 2017 general election to comply with the rule).
We do this to illustrate the ways Fox News, Limbaugh, and the print and web editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal play both offense and defense in service of conservative objectives. As these case studies will suggest, the big three reinforce each other's conservative messages in ways that distinguish them from the other major broadcast media, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and major print outlets such as the Washington Post and New York Times.
... the challenge of spreading and germinating the Tea Party idea was surmounted with impressive ease because a major sector of the U.S. media today is openly partisan—including Fox News Channel, the right-wing 'blogosphere,' and a nationwide network of right- wing talk radio programs. This aptly named conservative media 'echo chamber' reaches into the homes of many Americans ... Towering above all others is the Fox News empire, the loudest voice in conservative media. Despite its claim to be "fair and balanced," multiple studies have documented FNC's conservative stance ... Fox News's conservative slant encourages a particular worldview.
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.
The six stations cover many of the nation's major markets – New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Washington.
Two-thirds of core Fox News viewers identify themselves as Republican, and 94% either identify as or lean Republican.
It makes sense to consider whether conservative media (namely, Fox News) function in this institutional capacity.
As trade publication Broadcasting & Cable put it, Fox has created 'a clear and strong brand, and an unwavering commitment to stick with it. Viewers, advertisers and cable operators all know what they're getting.' 'Unwavering' is apt; no matter how much it is criticized for the ideological nature of its content, Fox remains unbowed. It continues to deliver a strong conservative perspective throughout its programming ... over the years Fox has actually moved further to the right.
The way the conservative media, especially Fox News, reported on the initial Tea Party demonstrations illuminates the momentum the media can give to a start-up movement. Fox became an amplifier of Tea Party activism and rhetoric, giving national momentum to its predominantly local demonstrations.
Publications like Fox News and OpIndia have a history of running headlines decrying what they view as Wikipedia’s leftist, socialist bias.
As it turned out, the hearings would also have repeatedly required Fox to have broadcast flat contradictions of what many leading Fox News personalities have told their audiences in the past year and a half—including Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity. Instead, their prime-time shows continued without commercial interruption Thursday, offering an alternate reality to a hearing that showed vivid and bloody detail of a national crisis.