Fox News (1996- ), along with CNN and MSNBC, is one of the three main cable news channels on American television. Its fact-checking is so terrible that its viewers are less well-informed than those who do not follow the news.
- Ownership: Rupert Murdoch, who also owns Sky News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Vogue and 21st Century Fox, among other things.
- Location: New York.
- Political viewpoint: hard-right Republican.
- Viewers: Over a million nightly viewers, more than CNN and MSNBC put together.
- Orwellian catchphrase: “Fair and balanced.”
- Parodies: “The Colbert Report” (2005-2014).
Roger Ailes runs Fox News. He is the one who produced Rush Limbaugh’s television show in the 1990s. He and Lee Atwater gave us the Willie Horton ad (pictured) in 1988, which played on White racist fears of Black rapists. He was media advisor to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Rudy Giuliani.
Fox News is part of the Southern Strategy, which Ailes helped to pioneer in his Nixon days. It uses racist dog whistles to divide the working class and get Whites to vote against their class interests. Now that Ailes has a television channel, he can race-bait 24 hours a day, coast to coast. As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted in 2010, Fox News has a
“long history of crude and transparent race-baiting.”
Fox News is also part of the Republican Bubble, creating a world cut off from knowable facts while it pulls the Republican Party farther and farther right. This has made the party more ideological and hard-line and less open to compromise, reason – or facts, like on global warming.
Race: Host Bill O’Reilly says that no one he knows at Fox News is racist. Yet, somehow:
- Blacks made up only 1% of its audience in 2010, even though they made up 19% of MSNBC’s audience and 21% of CNN’s.
- Whites who watch Fox News regularly are markedly more racist than those who do not. That is true even if you only look at White conservatives over the age of 50.
Most White conservatives who regularly watch Fox believe:
- Teflon History: Slavery has little effect on Blacks today.
- Bootstrap Myth: If Blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as Whites.
Nearly half believe Blacks are lazy.
Fox plays up the racism of Blacks and plays down the racism of Whites, even at the expense of knowable facts. For example:
- Dylan Roof: It suggested that he was anti-Christian, not anti-Black, in the teeth of Roof’s own words to the contrary.
- Tea Party: It repeatedly suggested or claimed that there was no evidence that they are racist – despite their racially charged signs and slogans.
- Shirley Sherrod: It repeatedly said she was racist, even after the video that that was based on was shown to be edited, taking her comment out of context.
- NAACP bombing: When the Colorado chapter of the NAACP was bombed on the evening of January 6th 2015, CNN and MSNBC had reported it by the next day, Fox News had not.
- The press
- Dylan Roof
- 2014 Media guide