A “fair and balanced” slogan was the motto of Fox News during its commencement on the Fox Channel Network. While the Fox Channel Network started in 1986, it was not until 1996, almost a decade later, that Fox News premiered to almost 17 million homes. The producers of Fox News wanted to provide the television audience an unbiased and factual report of domestic, international and current political events.
Rupert Murdock was the founding father of this network. Having an extensive background in the European and Australian News circuits, he wanted the opportunity to enhance his name in America. However, upon failing to secure a deal to buy CNN, he joined forces with other various producers to help create a new network, one that he would have complete control and influence over.
Upon overcoming multiple challenges, Fox News was broadcasted and met with huge numbers and success. However, what really caught the audience’s attention was the opinion segment. At the time, other networks such as CNN and ABC would air their opinion segment in a professional, almost stoic approach whereas Fox News previewed a more colorful approach. With this approach, the network and their shows gained a conservative reputation. One show that gained a huge following and catered to a more conservative populace was The O’Reilly Report or, more commonly known, as the O’Reilly Factor.
The O’Reilly Factor is one of the network’s top-rated programs and much of it is due to the charismatic and loud host, Bill O’Reilly. Making a name for himself as a tough interviewer along with blunt commentary, he battled prominent political figures with a knack for making statements that sparked nation-wide controversy.
One of the bigger controversial statement that O’Reilly made was in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit and cost millions of dollars worth of damage. At the time, President Bush and his administration were visiting the United Nations. O’Reilly stated that he would have rather had Hurricane Katrina destroy the United Nations building. Another extremely controversial statement O’Reilly made was when reporters were covering the rape and murder of Jennifer Moore (18-years-old). She was wearing provocative clothing and O’Reilly commented that Moore was inviting predators to rape and murder her.
Another alluring newscaster to capture the network’s attention was Glenn Beck who originally was hired by CNN. In October 2008, Beck went to Fox News where he created a reputation for harshly reviewing the President and administration. With an even bigger following than what he had at Fox News, Beck now had access to a more diverse audience which earned him huge numbers.
Beck’s scathing review and constant criticism of President Obama and his administration fared well in ratings. In 2010, after he claimed that President Obama was a “racist,” the networks’ personnel began to speak out against Beck and his comments. His antics lead to Fox News announcing his departure in 2011.
Fox News has made an everlasting impression on the News industry. Even though there have been made controversial statements, the ratings prove that television audiences appreciate the frank and curt banter of the show’s hosts and appreciate a “fair and balanced” news-watching experience.
By Jessica Bickford
Dieter Laskowski – Flickr License
Robert Huffstutter – Flickr License