The Ozone Disco fire in Quezon City, Philippines broke out shortly before midnight at 11:35 pm Philippine Standard Time, March 18, 1996 (3:35 pm, March 18, 1996, UTC) leaving at least 162 people dead. It is officially acknowledged as the worst fire in Philippine history, and among the 10 worst nightclub fires in the world.
The fire broke out just before midnight on March 18, 1996. At the time of the fire, it was estimated that there were around 350 patrons and 40 club employees inside Ozone Disco, though it had been approved for occupancy for only 35 persons. Most of the club guests were high school and college students attending graduation or end-of-the-school-year celebrations. Survivors reported seeing sparks flying inside the disc jockey's booth shortly before midnight, followed by smoke which they thought was part of the party plan of the DJ. Another survivor added that after about 15 seconds of smoke, the electrical systems of the disco shut down; flames quickly became visible.
Many of the bodies were discovered along the corridor leading to the only exit, piled up waist-high. Quezon City officials were quoted as saying that the club's emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door, and that there was no proper fire exit installed. It was also reported that the exit had been locked from the outside by the club's security guards, who had thought that a riot had taken place.
A 2008 photograph of the Ozone Disco building in Timog Avenue, Quezon City. The structure remained standing until 2015; it was never restored for commercial use and remained undisturbed until its demolition in March 2015, and a new structure built thereafter.
The final death count was reported as between 160 and 162 people, the latter being the figure cited by the trial court that heard the ensuing criminal case. In addition, at least 95 people were injured. The death toll was one of the worst ever for a nightclub fire, though it was subsequently surpassed by the República Cromañón nightclub fire.
Investigation and aftermath
Six people involved with Westwood Entertainment were tried before the courts for criminal charges of "reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple serious injuries". On March 16, 2001, the president of Westwood Entertainment, Hermilo Ocampo, and the corporation's treasurer, Ramon Ng, were found guilty by a Quezon City trial court and sentenced to a four-year prison term, and fined 25 million pesos each. They and their co-accused (who were acquitted) were also ordered to indemnify the families of the deceased 150,000 pesos, and 100,000 pesos to the injured. The trial court concluded that Ocampo and Ng failed to provide fire exits and sprinklers inside the establishment, that the fire extinguishers they placed were defective, and that the lone exit was through a small door that swung inward and did not meet the standard set by the building code. A former employee who was among the survivors of the fire has claimed that the inward swinging doors were installed because it was good feng shui.
In November 2001, twelve officials of the Quezon City government were charged before the Sandiganbayan for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicides and multiple serious injuries. They were accused of allowing Ozone Disco to secure a certificate of annual inspection in 1995 "despite the inadequacy, insufficiency and impropriety of the documents submitted by the owners". In 2007, one of the twelve – the former city engineer and building official of Quezon City, Alfredo Macapugay – was discharged from criminal and civil liability after the Sandiganbayan concluded that he had no hand in the issuance of the necessary permits to Ozone Disco management.
On November 20, 2014, seven officials of the Quezon City government were found guilty under the Philippines' anti-graft and corrupt practices law by the country's anti-graft court Sandiganbayan. They were held liable for negligence in connection with the approval of the building permit and issuance of certificates of occupancy for the company which owned Ozone. The club's owners were also found to be liable.
Former site and developments
From the date of the incident thru 2015, the structure which housed the Ozone Disco remained standing in Timog Avenue, Quezon City, though the site has not been commercially used since then. For a few years after the incident there was a makeshift memorial on the site featuring photographs of the victims. This has since been dismantled, and no marker or official memorial commemorates the incident or its victims.
In March 2015, a week before the 19th anniversary of the tragedy, the Ozone Disco building was finally demolished. Relatives of the victims still visit the site. As of October 2016, the former location of the Ozone Disco Club now has a new structure and is currently occupied by a branch of known food chain GoodAh!!!, co-owned by television host Boy Abunda.
The October 2, 2008 episode of the GMA Network public affairs show Case Unclosed featured the Ozone Disco fire and its aftermath as the pilot episode, directed by Adolfo Alix, Jr. 2 days before the showing of this episode, September 30, 2008, Then Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. released an ordinance that warns the owners of entertainment establishments to use swing-in/swing-out doors.
Prior to the 60/7 resolution, there had been national days of commemoration, such as Germany's Tag des Gedenkens an die Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (The Day of Remembrance for the victims of National Socialism), established in a proclamation issued by Federal President Roman Herzog on 3 January 1996; and the Holocaust memorial day observed every 27 January since 2001 in the UK.
Resolution 60/7 establishing 27 January as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief. It also calls for actively preserving the Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration camps, forced labor camps and prisons, as well as for establishing a U.N. programme of outreach and mobilization of society for Holocaust remembrance and education.
Resolution 60/7 and the International Holocaust Day was an initiative of the State of Israel. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel Silvan Shalom, was the head of the delegation of Israel to the United Nations.
The essence of the text lies in its twofold approach: one that deals with the memory and remembrance of those who were massacred during the Holocaust, and the other with educating future generations of its horrors.
The International Day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust is thus a day on which we must reassert our commitment to human rights. [...]
We must also go beyond remembrance, and make sure that new generations know this history. We must apply the lessons of the Holocaust to today’s world. And we must do our utmost so that all peoples may enjoy the protection and rights for which the United Nations stands.
— Message by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for the second observance of the Holocaust Victims Memorial Day on 19 January 2008
Commemorations at the United Nations
In 2006, 2007 and 2008, Holocaust Remembrance Weeks were organized by The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme. This programme is part of the Outreach Division of the United Nations Department of Public Information and was established under General Assembly resolution 60/7.
On 24 January, the opening of the Holocaust Remembrance Week took place at United Nations Headquarters with the unveiling of an exhibit "No Child's Play – Remembrance and Beyond" in the Visitors' Lobby. This travelling exhibit, produced by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem, opened a window into the world of children during the Shoah. It focused on toys, games, artwork, diaries and poems highlighting some of the personal stories of the children and providing a glimpse into their lives during the Holocaust. The exhibition told the story of survival – the struggle of these children to hold on to life.
On 25 January the screening of the movie Fateless by Lajos Koltai took place in the Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium.
On 27 January, the United Nations Department of Public Information held the first universal observance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day at United Nations Headquarters.
In the General Assembly Hall a memorial ceremony and lecture was held under the theme "Remembrance and Beyond." It featured welcoming remarks by former Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information Shashi Tharoor; a videotaped message by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan; statements by the permanent representatives of Israel and Brazil to the United Nations, and by Gerda Weissmann Klein, holocaust survivor, author and historian Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation; narration of photographs of Holocaust victims memorialized on "Pages of Testimony" in the Hall of Names at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; as well as a performance by The Zamir Chorale of Boston; and a lecture by Professor Yehuda Bauer, academic advisor to Yad Vashem, and the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.
On 29 January, the second annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust was held in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters.
Shasta Tharp, former Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, introduced a programme that began with a video message from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Statements were then made by Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, president of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly, and Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations. The keynote "Remembrance and Beyond" address was given by Madame Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor, president of the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah and a member of the Constitutional Council of France.
The observance focused on the importance of infusing today’s youth with the lessons of the Holocaust so that future generations may work to prevent hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice. Marie Noel, a student at the College of Saint Elizabeth, shared her experiences visiting former concentration camps in Poland.
The memorial ceremony also focused on the disabled community as one of the many victim groups of the Nazi regime. Thomas Schindlmayr of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs highlighted the importance of education in promoting tolerance and ending discrimination against all minorities, particularly in light of the adoption by the General Assembly on 13 December 2006 of the landmark Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Additionally, a musical performance was given by HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Chamber Choir, a project of the Zamir Choral Foundation, founded and directed by Matthew Lazar. Netanel Hershtik, cantor of the New York Synagogue, recited the Kaddish.
During the observance the United Nations Department of Public Information also launched a new website and resource for United Nations member states, educators and non-governmental organizations entitled "Electronic Notes for Speakers" developed for the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme by Yad Vashem – the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem, and the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education and the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. The electronic notes provide survivor testimony and information materials that will equip speakers with the tools needed to conduct briefings on the Holocaust and lessons to be learned from it.
The United Nations bookstore made available ten volumes of autobiographical accounts of Holocaust survivors published jointly by The Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project and Yad Vashem – the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority. An initiative of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust Survivors’ Memoirs Project has collected over 900 manuscripts. Its mission is to provide both the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust with the dignity of a permanent historical presence, not as impersonal statistics but as individuals with names, voices and emotions. The United Nations bookstore also had a discussion by Daniel Mendelsohn about his book .
The Department of Public Information also marked the Holocaust Remembrance Week with two exhibits in the United Nations visitors’ lobby. The first, entitled "The Holocaust against the Sinti and Roma and Present Day Racism in Europe," focused on the experience of the Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust. The second exhibit featured artwork, created by Holocaust survivors, exploring the meaning and experience of the Holocaust.
On 31 January, a special screening of Volevo solo Vivere (I Only Wanted to Live), directed by Mimmo Calopresti took place. The film tells the moving story of nine Italian survivors of Auschwitz. The following day Nazvy svoie im'ia (Spell Your Name), directed by Serhiy Bukovsky, was also screened. The film, about the Holocaust in Ukraine, tells the story of local people who escaped brutal execution and those who rescued friends and neighbours during the Holocaust. Both films, produced by USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, were shown in the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium. On 2 February, the third discussion paper in the Holocaust and Genocide series was published, about Hitler, Pol Pot and Hutu Power.
Throughout the week of 28 January 2008, the United Nations Department of Public Information organized a number of events around the world to remember the victims of the Holocaust and underscore the value of human life. The 2008 observance focused on the need to ensure the protection of human rights for all. It coincided with the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Holocaust Remembrance Day began with the joint launch of a new United Nations Holocaust Remembrance postage stamp issued simultaneously, for the first time, with a national stamp by the Israel Postal Company. The two stamps bear the same design.
On 28 January 2008, at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the daughter of United States Congressman Tom Lantos, himself a Holocaust survivor, delivered a keynote address "Civic Responsibility and the Preservation of Democratic Values" at the memorial ceremony and concert held in the General Assembly Hall.
Other speakers included Srgjan Kerim (Macedonia), president of the sixty-second session of the General Assembly, Ambassador Dan Gillerman, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations, and Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.
The ceremony also featured a concert with the Tel Aviv University Buchmann-Mehta School of Music symphony orchestra in cooperation with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by maestro Zubin Mehta.
On 30 January 2008, the first permanent exhibit on the Holocaust and the United Nations was unveiled. Produced by the Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Programme, it presents an overview of the Holocaust in the context of World War II and the founding of the United Nations. It is seen by the 400,000 visitors who visit the United Nations Headquarters annually. In preparation for the exhibit opening, Elizabeth Edelstein, Director of Education for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, briefed the United Nations tour guides on the history of the Holocaust to further their understanding of this watershed event.
Around the world United Nations offices organized events to mark the Day of Commemoration. In Brazil, an observance was held on 25 January with the president of the country, Jose Inacio Lula da Silva, and the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, César Maia. In Madagascar, a permanent exhibit on the Holocaust was unveiled at the United Nations Information Centre.
The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme also coordinated a video conference for students with the United Nations information centres in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Lomé, Togo, and educators at the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. At the United Nations office in Ukraine a round-table discussion was organized in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ukrainian Holocaust Study Centre. In Tokyo on 29 January, an educational workshop targeting young students focused on the links between the Holocaust and human rights issues.
Also, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provided information material in English and Spanish to a number of United Nations information centers for use in their reference libraries.
To help carry out its educational mission, the Department of Public Information participated in a panel discussion with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the afternoon of 28 January to highlight the importance of Holocaust education, organized by B'nai B'rith International.
A second exhibit, "Carl Lutz and the Legendary Glass House in Budapest," was co-sponsored by the Carl Lutz Foundation and the Permanent Missions of Switzerland and Hungary. Carl Lutz, the Swiss Vice-Consul in Budapest, had issued certificates of emigration to place tens of thousands of Jews under Swiss protection.
Commemoration at Vienna's Heldenplatz, 2015 Photograph: Christian Michelides
Commemorations are held at the USHMM (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) in Washington, DC and at Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem.
In Austria, commemorations of the Remembrance Day are held at the Heldenplatz in Vienna since 2012. The broad platform calls for participation of the civil society. Speakers include survivors of the Holocaust, antifascist activists and politicians hailing from parties throughout the political spectrum.
In Israel, the national Holocaust memorial day is known as Yom HaShoah, which is held on the 27th of Nisan. However, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is also held in Israel, on which day government officials, diplomats and ambassadors visit Yad Vashem and there are ceremonies throughout the country. Every year, as part of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs presents the annual report on anti-Semitism before the Israeli government. The report reviews the main trends and incidents of the last year, in terms of anti-Semitism and combating anti-Semitism.
Fox News has been described as practicing biased 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 cited the channel as detrimental to the integrity of news overall. Fox News employees have said that news reporting operates independently of its opinion and commentary programming, and have denied bias in news reporting, while former employees have said that Fox ordered them to "slant the news in favor of conservatives". During Trump's presidency, observers have noted a pronounced tendency of the Fox News Channel to serve as a "mouthpiece" for the administration, providing "propaganda" and a "feedback loop" for Trump, with one presidential scholar stating, "It's the closest we’ve come to having state TV."
In May 1985, Australian publisher Rupert Murdoch announced that he and American industrialist and philanthropistMarvin 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 fourth network efforts in the United States, experience gained from Sky News and the turnaround of 20th Century Fox, Murdoch announced on January 31, 1996, that News Corp. would launch a 24-hour news channel on cable and satellite systems in the United States as part of a News Corp. "worldwide platform" for Fox programming: "The appetite for news – particularly news that explains to people how it affects them – is expanding enormously".
In February 1996, after former U.S. Republican Party political strategist and NBC executiveRoger Ailes left cable television channel America's Talking (now MSNBC), Murdoch asked him to start Fox News Channel. Ailes demanded five months of 14-hour workdays and several weeks of rehearsal shows before its launch on October 7, 1996.
At its debut 17 million households were able to watch FNC; however, it was absent from the media markets of New York City and Los Angeles. Rolling news coverage during the day consisted of 20-minute single-topic shows such as Fox on Crime or Fox on Politics, surrounded by news headlines. Interviews featured facts at the bottom of the screen about the topic or the guest. The flagship newscast at the time was The Schneider Report, with Mike Schneider's fast-paced delivery of the news. During the evening, Fox featured opinion shows: The O'Reilly Report (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.
Fox News Studios in 2009.
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 antitrustconsent 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.
Fox News has been described as practicing biased 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 cited the channel as detrimental to the integrity of news overall. Fox News employees have said that news reporting operates independently of its opinion and commentary programming, and have denied bias in news reporting, while former employees have said that Fox ordered them to "slant the news in favor of conservatives". During Trump's presidency, observers have noted a pronounced tendency of the Fox News Channel to serve as a "mouthpiece" for the administration, providing "propaganda" and a "feedback loop" for Trump, with one presidential scholar stating, "It's the closest we’ve come to having state TV."
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.
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.
Fox News Channel began broadcasting in the 720p resolution format on May 1, 2008. This format is available on all major cable and satellite providers.
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.
Ratings and reception
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 the Special Report with Brit Hume, for example, dropped 19%. Several weeks later, in the wake of the 2006 North Korean missile test and the 2006 Lebanon War, Fox saw a surge in viewership and remained the No. 1 rated cable news channel. Fox produced eight of the top ten most-watched nightly cable news shows, with The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes finishing first and second respectively.
FNC ranked 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, "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 ever, with 11.5 million viewers for the third U.S. presidential debate. In prime time the week before, Fox averaged almost 3.7 million viewers with a total day average of 1.66 million viewers.
In prime time and total day ratings for the week of April 15 to 21, 2013, Fox News, propelled by its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, was the highest-ranked network on U.S. cable television, for the first time since August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States. January 2014 marked Fox News's 145th consecutive month as the number one rated cable news channel. During that month, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in overall viewers in both prime time hours and the total day. In the third quarter of 2014, the network was the most-watched cable channel during prime time hours. During the final week of the campaign for the United States elections, 2014, Fox News had the highest ratings of any cable channel, news or otherwise. On election night itself, Fox News' coverage had higher ratings than that of any of the other five cable or network news sources among viewers between 25 and 54 years of age. The network hosted the first prime-time GOP candidates' forum of the 2016 campaign on August 6. The debate reached a record-breaking 24 million viewers, by far the largest audience ever for any cable news event.
In 2018, the 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 (1 January- 31 March), 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 9PM 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 noted that the Fox Business Network also had its highest-rated quarter in history and that Fox News itself finished March as the highest-rated network in cable for the 45th consecutive month, "...and the digital platforms excelled, too," the article claimed.
As indicated by a New York Times article, based on Nielsen statistics, Fox appears to have a mostly aged demographic. In 2008, in the 25–54 age group, Fox News had an average of 557,000 viewers, but dropped to 379,000 in 2013 while increasing its overall audience from 1.89 million in 2010 to 2.02 million in 2013. The median age of a prime-time viewer was 68 as of 2015. A study done by the Pew Research Center found that around 60% of Fox News viewers identify as conservative.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 94% of Fox viewers "Either identify as or lean Republican".
Fox News Channel originally used the slogan "Fair and Balanced", which was coined by network co-founder Roger Ailes while the network was being established. The New York Times described the slogan as being a "blunt signal that Fox News planned to counteract what Mr. Ailes and many others viewed as a liberal bias ingrained in television coverage by establishment news networks".
In August 2003, Fox 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". Fox News still keeps both the "Fair & Balanced" and "Most Watched. Most Trusted." slogans.
Benghazi attack and aftermath
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:
478 segments involving Susan Rice's September 16, 2012 Sunday news show appearances, during which she was falsely accused of lying
382 segments on Special Report, the network's flagship news program
281 segments alleging a "cover-up" by the Obama administration
144 interviews of GOP members of Congress, but just five interviews of Democratic members of Congress and Obama administration officials
120 comparisons to Iran-Contra, Watergate, and the actions of the Nixon administration
100 segments falsely suggesting the administration issued a "stand-down order" to prevent a rescue operation in Benghazi
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.
On June 29, 2018, Fox News broadcast a segment by news anchor Bret Baier entitled "Whatever happened to the Benghazi investigation?" which repeated some of the accusations the network had previously made about Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, but for which the women had been exonerated by the official investigations.
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". 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."
Pro-Republican and pro-Trump bias
Fox News Channel has been widely described 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 write that Fox News has 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 even had more Democrats watch the channel than Republicans. During the 2004 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 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 widely perceived as trying to prevent Trump from clinching the nomination. However, 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. Even in Fox News' news reporting, the network dedicated far more coverage to Hillary Clinton-related stories, which critics say was intended to deflect attention from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump provided great access to Fox News during his presidency, giving 19 interviews to the channel while only 6 in total to other news channels by November 2017; The New York Times described Trump's Fox News interviews as "softball interviews" and some of the interviewers' interview styles as "fawning"; similarly, 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 one that was skeptical and questioning of Trump to a "Trump safe space, with a dose of Bannonist populism once considered on the fringe". The Fox News website has also gotten more extreme in its rhetoric since Trump's election; according to Columbia'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 prominent scandals in the Trump administration which received ample coverage in other national media outlets, such as White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter's resignation amid domestic abuse allegations, the downgrading of Jared Kushner's security clearance and the existence of a non-disclosure agreement between Trump and the porn star Stormy Daniels.
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," and 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," adding "[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 "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." A 2017 study, using channel positions as an instrumental variable, found "Fox News increases Republican vote shares by 0.3 points among viewers induced into watching 2.5 additional minutes per week by variation in position." Another 2014 paper found Fox News viewing increased Republican vote shares among voters who identified as Republican or independent.
Fox News publicly denies it is biased, with Murdoch and Ailes saying have included Murdoch's statement that Fox has "given room to both sides, whereas only one side had it before". Fox News host Chris Wallace has said, "I think we are the counter-weight [to NBC News] ... they have a liberal agenda, and we tell the other side of the story." In 2004, Robert Greenwald's documentary film Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism argued Fox News had a conservative bias and featured clips from Fox News and internal memos from editorial vice president John Moody directing Fox News staff on how to report certain subjects.
A leaked memo from Fox News vice president Bill Sammon to news staff at the height of the health care reform in the United States debate has been cited as an example of the pro-Republican Party bias of Fox News. His memo asked the staff to "use the term 'government-run health insurance,' or, when brevity is a concern, 'government option,' whenever possible". The memo was sent shortly after Republican pollster Frank Luntz advised Sean Hannity on his Fox show, "If you call it a public option, the American people are split. If you call it the government option, the public is overwhelmingly against it".
Surveys suggest Fox News is widely perceived to be ideological. A 2009 Pew survey found Fox News is viewed as the most ideological channel in America, with 47 percent of those surveyed said Fox News is "mostly conservative", 14 percent said "mostly liberal" and 24 percent said "neither". In comparison, MSNBC had 36 percent identify it as "mostly liberal", 11 percent as "mostly conservative" and 27 percent as "neither". CNN had 37 percent describe it as "mostly liberal", 11 percent as "mostly conservative" and 33 percent as "neither". A 2004 Pew Research Center survey found FNC was cited (unprompted) by 69 percent of national journalists as a conservative news organization. A Rasmussen poll found 31 percent of Americans felt Fox News had a conservative bias, and 15 percent that it had a liberal bias. It found 36 percent believed Fox News delivers news with neither a conservative or liberal bias, compared with 37 percent who said NPR delivers news with no conservative or liberal bias and 32 percent who said the same of CNN.
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 even 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, "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, notably that 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."
Coverage of Russia investigation
On October 30, 2017, when special counsel Robert S. Mueller III indicted Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and revealed George Papadopoulos had plead guilty (all of whom were involved in the Trump 2016 campaign), this was the focus of most media's coverage, except Fox News'. Hosts and guests on Fox News called for Mueller to be fired. Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson focused their shows on unsubstantiated allegations that Clinton sold uranium to Russia in exchange for donations to the Clinton Foundation and on the Clinton campaign's role in funding the Donald Trump–Russia dossier. Hannity asserted, "The very thing they are accusing President Trump of doing, they did it themselves." During the segment, Hannity mistakenly referred to Clinton as President Clinton. Fox News dedicated extensive coverage to the uranium story, which Democrats said was an attempt to distract from Mueller's intensifying investigation.CNN described the coverage as "a tour de force in deflection and dismissal". On 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.
False claims about other media
CNN's Jake Tapper
In November 2017, in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 New York City truck attack wherein a terrorist shouted "Allahu Akbar", Fox News distorted a statement by Jake Tapper to make it appear as if he had said "Allahu Akbar" can be used under the most "beautiful circumstances". Fox News omitted that Tapper had said the use of "Allahu Akbar" in the terrorist attack was not one of these beautiful circumstances. A headline on FoxNews.com was preceded by a tag reading "OUTRAGEOUS". The Fox News Twitter account distorted the statement even more, saying "Jake Tapper Says 'Allahu Akbar' Is 'Beautiful' Right After NYC Terror Attack" in a tweet that was later deleted. Tapper chastised Fox News for choosing to "deliberately lie" and said "there was a time when one could tell the difference between Fox and the nutjobs at Infowars. It's getting tougher and tougher. Lies are lies." Tapper had in 2009, while a White House correspondent for ABC News, come to the defense of Fox News when Obama criticized the network for not being a legitimate news organization.
Fox News guest host Jason Chaffetz apologized to Tapper for misrepresenting his statement. After Fox News had deleted the tweet, Sean Hannity repeated the misrepresentation and called Tapper "liberal fake news CNN's fake Jake Tapper" and mocked his ratings.
The New York Times
In July 2017, a report by Fox & Friends falsely said The New York Times had disclosed intelligence in one of its stories and that this intelligence disclosure helped Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, to evade capture. The report cited an inaccurate assertion by Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of the United States Special Operations Command, that a major newspaper had disclosed the intelligence. Fox News said it was the New York Times, repeatedly running the chyron "NYT Foils U.S. Attempt To Take Out Al-Bahgdadi".Pete Hegseth, one of the show's hosts, criticized the "failing New York Times". President Donald Trump tweeted about the Fox & Friends report shortly after it first aired, saying "The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, Al-Baghdadi. Their sick agenda over National Security." Fox News later updated the story, but without apologizing to the New York Times or responding directly to the inaccuracies.
In a Washington Post column, Erik Wemple said Chris Wallace had covered The New York Times story himself on Fox News Sunday. "Here's another case of the differing standards between Fox News's opinion operation", which has given "a state-run vibe on all matters related to Trump", compared to Fox News's news operation, which has provided "mostly sane coverage".
Fox News has widely 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 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: "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 Nickelodeon to teach children about climate change. In 2001, Sean Hannity described the scientific consensus on climate change as "phony science from the left". In 2004, he falsely alleged, "scientists still can't agree on whether the global warming is scientific fact or fiction". In 2010, Hannity said the so-called "Climategate" – the leaking of e-mails by climate scientist that climate change skeptics claimed demonstrated scientific misconduct but which all subsequent enquiries have found no evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing – a "scandal" that "exposed global warming as a myth cooked up by alarmists". Hannity frequently invites contrarian fringe scientists and critics of climate change to his shows. 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 has drawn attention for being one of few voices on Fox News to forcefully state that climate change is real, that human activities are a primary contributor to it and that there is a scientific consensus on the issue. His acceptance of the scientific consensus on climate change has drawn criticism from Fox News viewers and conservatives.
On May 16, 2017, a day when other news organizations were extensively covering Donald Trump's revelation of classified information to Russia, Fox News ran a lead story about a private investigator's uncorroborated claims about the murder of Seth Rich, a DNC staffer. The private investigator said he had uncovered evidence that Rich was in contact with Wikileaks and law enforcement were covering it up. The killing of Rich has given rise to conspiracy theories in rightwing circles that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party had Seth Rich killed allegedly because he was the source of the DNC leaks. U.S. intelligence agencies determined Russia was the source of the leaks. In reporting the investigator's claims, the Fox News report reignited right-wing conspiracy theories about the killing.
The Fox News story fell apart within hours. Other news organizations quickly revealed the investigator was a Donald Trump supporter and had according to NBC News "developed a reputation for making outlandish claims, such as one appearance on Fox News in 2007 in which he warned that underground networks of pink pistol-toting lesbian gangs were raping young women." The family of Seth Rich, the Washington D.C. police department, the Washington D.C. mayor's office, the FBI, and law enforcement sources familiar with the case rebuked the investigator's claims. The family said, "We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth's murderers." The spokesperson for the family criticized Fox News for its reporting, alleging the outlet was motivated by a desire to deflect attention from the Trump-Russia story: "I think there's a very special place in hell for people that would use the memory of a murder victim in order to pursue a political agenda." The family has called for retractions and apologies from Fox News for the inaccurate reporting. Over the course of the day, Fox News altered the contents of the story and the headline, but did not issue corrections. When CNN contacted the private investigator later that day, the investigator said he had no evidence that Rich had contacted Wikileaks. The investigator claimed he only learned about the possible existence of the evidence from a Fox News reporter. Fox News did not respond to inquiries by CNN, and the Washington Post. Fox News later on 23 May, seven days after the story was published, retracted its original report, saying the original report did not meet its standards.
Nicole Hemmer, 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.
Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville
Various Fox News hosts and contributors defended Trump's remarks that "many sides" were to blame for violence at a gathering of hundreds of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Some criticized Trump. In a press conference on 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."
Glenn Beck's comments about George Soros
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 refer to 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 popular 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 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic spread into the United States, Fox News was far more likely than other mainstream news outlets to promote misinformation about coronavirus. The network promoted the narrative that the emergency response to the pandemic was politically motivated or otherwise unwarranted, with one commentator even calling it a "hoax". 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.
Two of Fox News's commentators - Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham - promoted use of the drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Coronavirus - off-label usage which at the time was supported only by anecdotal evidence - after it was touted by Trump as a possible cure. As a result of this continued skewed reporting, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple has called Hannity to be fired. 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.
In a USA Today article, "Coronavirus: How Fox News and other right-wing media endanger our health", the author cited as an example, a Fox News interview with ArkansasSenatorTom Cotton who raised the "escaped virus conspiracy theory" by saying the coronavirus may have started in a "...biosafety level 4 super laboratory" in Wuhan, China. The article said that Cotton had mentioned the "debunked theory ... at least two other times on Fox." Several weeks later Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin detailed a 2018 trip made to the Wuhan Institute of Virology by scientists from the U.S. Embassy. Rogin cited cables sent back to Washington, warning "...about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and that the lab's work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic." Rogin's article quoted Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, "I don't think it's a conspiracy theory. I think it's a legitimate question that needs to be investigated and answered." Days later, multiple media outlets confirmed that U.S. intelligence officials were investigating the possibility that the virus started in the same lab Cotton cited during the Fox News interview.
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.
The network has been accused of permitting sexual harassment and racial discrimination by on-air hosts, executives, and employees, paying out millions of dollars in legal settlements. Prominent Fox News figures such as Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly and Eric Bolling were eventually fired after a multitude of women accused them of sexual harassment. At least four lawsuits alleged Fox News co-president Bill Shine ignored, enabled or concealed Roger Ailes' alleged sexual harassment. Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch has dismissed the high-profile sexual misconduct allegations as "largely political" and speculated they were made "because we are conservative".
Bill O'Reilly and Fox News settled six agreements, totaling $45 million, with women who accused O'Reilly of sexual harassment. In January 2017, shortly after Bill O'Reilly settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $32 million ("an extraordinarily large amount for such cases"), Fox News renewed Bill O'Reilly's contract. Fox News's parent company, 21st Century Fox, said it was aware of the lawsuit. The contract between O'Reilly and Fox News read he could not be fired from the network unless sexual harassment allegations were proved in court.
Fox News's extensive coverage of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in October 2017 was seen by some as hypocritical. Fox News dedicated at least 12 hours of coverage to the Weinstein scandal, yet only dedicated 20 minutes to Bill O'Reilly, who just like Weinstein had been accused of sexual harassment by a multitude of women. Indira Lakshmana, an expert in journalism ethics at the Poynter Institute, said "to devote hours of airtime to crowing about Weinstein's well-deserved downfall because of his liberal politics, while ignoring the massive, decades-long pattern of harassment by powerful men at Fox, is both hypocritical and sad". A few weeks later, when a number of women under the age of 18, including a 14-year old, accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of making sexual advances, Hannity dismissed the sexual misconduct allegations and dedicated coverage on his TV show to casting doubt on the accusers. Other prime-time Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham questioned the Washington Post's reporting or opted to bring up sexual misconduct allegations regarding show business 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 and Gateway Pundit, ran an inaccurate headline which claimed one of Roy Moore's accusers admitted to forging an inscription by Roy Moore in her yearbook; Fox News later added a correction to the story.
A number of Fox News hosts have welcomed Bill O'Reilly to their shows and paid tributes to Roger Ailes after his death. In May 2017, Hannity called Ailes "a second father" and said to Ailes's "enemies" that he was "preparing to kick your a** in the next life". Ailes had the year before been fired from Fox News after a number of women alleged he sexually harassed them. In September 2017, several months after Bill O'Reilly was fired from Fox News in the wake of a number of women alleging he sexually harassed them, Hannity hosted O'Reilly on his show. Some Fox News employees criticized the decision. According to CNN, during the interview, Hannity found kinship with O'Reilly as he appeared "to feel that he and O'Reilly have both become victims of liberals looking to silence them." Earlier, Hannity had dedicated extensive coverage to the Weinstein scandal.
Obama administration conflict
In September 2009, the Obama administration engaged in a verbal conflict with Fox News Channel. On September 20, President Barack Obama appeared on all major news programs except Fox News, a snub partially in response to remarks about him by commentators Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity and Fox coverage of Obama's health-care proposal.
In late September 2009, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod and Roger Ailes met in secret to attempt to smooth out tensions between the two camps. Two weeks later, 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 observed, "If media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that's one thing, and if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another". 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.
Journalistic ethical standards
Fox News attracted controversy in April 2018 when it was revealed primetime host Sean Hannity had defended Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen on air without disclosing that Cohen was Hannity's 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 failure to disclose was a major breach of journalistic ethics and that the network should have suspended or fired him for it.
Countries where Fox News is provided
The Fox News Channel feed is available internationally via a number of providers, while Fox Extra segments provide alternate programming. Fox News is carried in more than 40 other countries.
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.
Fox News is available on cable through French Internet provider Free on channel 352. As of Spring 2017, the channel was no longer found on the provider Orange's lineup.
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 Pakistan, Fox News Channel is available on PTCL Smart TV and a number of cable and IPTV operators.
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.
In Singapore, FNC is broadcast on channel 702 on pay cable operator StarHub TV digital platform. It also broadcasts its sister channel, Sky News.
The most popular pay television operator, DStv, does not offer FNC in its channel bouquet.
United Kingdom and Ireland
FNC was also 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).
^Nie, Norman H.; Miller, Darwin W., III; Golde, Saar; Butler, Daniel M.; Winneg, Kenneth (2010). "The World Wide Web and the U.S. Political News Market". American Journal of Political Science. 54 (2): 428–439. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2010.00439.x. ISSN1540-5907.
^ abcdSkocpol, Theda; Williamson, Vanessa (September 1, 2016). The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 5, 8, 86, 123, 125, 130–140. ISBN 978-0-19063-366-0. 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.
^ abcJamieson, Kathleen Hall; Cappella, Joseph N. (February 4, 2010). Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19539-860-1. 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.
^ abcKludt, Tom (February 28, 2018). "Fox News has avoided talking about Jared Kushner's security clearance". CNN Money. Retrieved February 28, 2018. 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.
^Saad, Lydia (July 8, 2013). "TV Is Americans' Main Source of News". Gallup. Retrieved August 10, 2018. Two-thirds of core Fox News viewers identify themselves as Republican, and 94% either identify as or lean Republican.
^Berry, Jeffrey M.; Sobieraj, Sarah (2014). The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 110–111. ISBN 978-0-19992-897-2. 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.
^ abRydgren, Jens (2018). The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right. Oxford University Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0-19027-455-9. 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.
^La Monica, Paul (2009). Inside Rupert's Brain. Peter Lang. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-10101-659-6.
^Grossmann, Matt; Hopkins, David A. (2018). "From Fox News to Viral Views: The Influence of Ideological Media in the 2018 Elections". The Forum. 16 (4): 547–567. doi:10.1515/for-2018-0037. ISSN1540-8884.
^ abClinton, Joshua D.; Enamorado, Ted (October 1, 2014). "The National News Media's Effect on Congress: How Fox News Affected Elites in Congress". The Journal of Politics. 76 (4): 928–943. doi:10.1017/S0022381614000425. ISSN0022-3816.
^ abSchroeder, Elizabeth; Stone, Daniel F. (June 1, 2015). "Fox News and political knowledge". Journal of Public Economics. 126: 52–63. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.03.009.
^Hopkins, Daniel J. (March 11, 2014). "The Consequences of Broader Media Choice: Evidence from the Expansion of Fox News". Quarterly Journal of Political Science. 9 (1): 115–135. doi:10.1561/100.00012099. ISSN1554-0626.