Commentary

Is Fox News Really A News Organization?

Labels have understandable definitions. If there was a fire in your neighborhood and you walked by the fire house and all the guys were sitting around playing cards, you’d know they weren’t really firemen. Firemen put out fires. If you went to the airport and there was a person dressed in a pilot's uniform -- but rather than fly the plane, they were behind the bar mixing drinks as the plane sat on the runway -- you wouldn’t call them a pilot. You’d call them a bartender.

Labels matter, and viewers like you and me count on them. When we arrive at the hospital and we need medical care, we expect the person who called themselves a doctor to have a medical license, and most importantly, care about your health -- and in the case of a serious accident, to work to save your life.

On Thursday, June 9, the United States Congress gathered for the first of six hearings investigating the events of Jan. 6. That's certainly one thing we know: Congress thought what happened on Jan. 6 was serious enough to spend more than a year of time and effort trying to make the timeline clear: who organized the coup, and who if anyone should be held responsible in the end. You might not agree with the politics, but it certainly was a newsworthy event.

Here’s where Fox crosses the line. Not only did the network not cover the news, it in fact made a concerted effort to obstruct viewers from watching the news. It aired its opinion shows as counterprogramming against the hearings, with Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson denying facts that are irrefutable.

Hannity is most certainly not a newsman. He’s not even a reporter. What he presents is opinion -- we know he was on the phone with Mark Meadows in the White House the night of the election, advising the Trump team on their media strategy. Hannity is not objective, and doesn’t claim to be. 

News organizations such as NBC, the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have standards.  They take facts seriously, and check them, looking for multiple sources to confirm them. In the rare instance they make a mistake, they put out a correction.

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Fox makes no such attempt. It is an opinion network, and it has every right to be that. But it doesn't have the right to  hide behind the established and trusted framework of news while producing opinion.

The illusion of news suggests some factual trustworthiness. But after June 9, that fiction is gone. There was news being made on Thursday night, whatever your politics. And Fox’s decision to keep that news from its audience put it squarely in the corner of opinion -- much like firemen who won’t put out a fire.

Now Fox has backtracked a bit, and decided it will cover the hearings live on Monday, June 13. It claims daytime news is covered differently than prime-time news. But that distinction is lost on the viewing audience. 

What bothers me most is that I’m forced to pay for Fox’s opinion network, as it long ago convinced cable companies it deserve to be paid a percentage of the cable bill, not as an option but as a fixed cost for news. UnFoxMyBox has calculated that almost $2 a month of your annual cable bill goes to Fox, whether you want to pay them or not. That means Fox News makes approximately $1.8 billion per year from hidden subscriber fees -- twice as much as CNN and three times as much as MSNBC.

Here's the Fox (news) Board of Directors: (Link: https://www.foxcorporation.com/management/board -of-directors)  

Rupert Murdoch, Chair (91 years old - Pay: $49 million)
Lachlan K Murdoch, Exec Chair and CEO (Pay: $51 million)
Paul D. Ryan, Director (Pay $334,992 ) 
   Former Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was the Speaker of the House for the first two years of the Trump administration. In his role as a board member of Fox Corporation, he said that his new role will allow him to "do something" about former President Trump,
William A. Burck, Director  (Pay $81,867) 
    Mr. Burck was formerly Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to President George W. Bush and is an attorney at Quin Emanual.
Chase Carey, Director (Pay: $20 million)
    He is the former chief executive officer and executive chairman of the Formula One Group. He has previously worked for News Corp, DIRECTV, 21st Century Fox and Sky plc.
Anne Dias, Director ( pay $334,992)
    Conservative donor,and founder of Aragon, an investment firm.
Ronald A. Hernandez, Director (Pay $344,992)
     Hernandez served as CEO of Telemundo Group, Inc. from 1995 to 2000 
Jacques Nasser, Director (Pay: $332,000)
Nasser served as a director of commodities company BHP Billiton and insurance firm Allianz until 2017. 

17 comments about "Is Fox News Really A News Organization?".
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  1. Michael Medina from Medina Communications Corp, June 13, 2022 at 2 p.m.

    Hey Steven, You liberal bias is showing.  The hearings are a scam. Committe members are holding the truth from the Ameican people.  Cheney and Kizinger are RINOs, they have no creditbilty in the Republican Party.  Put Jim Jordan and Jim Banks on the commitee as origanlly proposed and you will get to the truth on why Palosi and Shummer turned down 20,000 National Guard Troops offerd by Trump on January 2nd.  Start there!

  2. Roy Moskowitz from Reciprocal Results, June 13, 2022 at 2:18 p.m.

    Michael, your the one with bias.

  3. Cliff Marks from CMarksco, LLC, June 13, 2022 at 2:34 p.m.

    Of course Fox News is not a news network, btw, that is not news either, our industry has known that for years.  What they bring is strong opinions but they reach a large, engaged audience and that's why brands buy ads to reach a mass audience with scale.
      Politics aside, Fox News brings an agenda to every piece of "journalism" they do-- but again, that's not news.  Of course, some others also bring opinion based reporting, but at least they do so with journalistic integrity and usually present both sides of a debate.  I've come to respect Fox News for what they are, an excellent Entertainment based organization with the purpose of influencing consumer opinin and behavior camouflaging it with a news format and style that were all accustomed to, but one should never confuse that with factual based, high integrity news organizations of which there are many. 

  4. Michael Medina from Medina Communications Corp replied, June 13, 2022 at 2:55 p.m.

    Wow Roy, such an intelictual response.  Answer this one question that the Jan. 6th committe won't answer. Why did Pelosi, Shummer and the capital hill police turn down 20,000 National Guard Troops offerd by Trump on January 2nd. Start there!  And please be specific.

  5. Frank Flynn from Combined Media Solutions, LLC., June 13, 2022 at 3:51 p.m.

    YOU should be ashamed to call yourself a journalist...

  6. steve Rosenbaum from SustainableMedia.Center replied, June 13, 2022 at 4:20 p.m.

    My issue isn't with their content, it's with their labeling.  "news" has a clear framework. Why not just call it Fox, or Fox Opion, or Fox Conservative? Truth in labeling is my argument here. 

  7. steve Rosenbaum from SustainableMedia.Center replied, June 13, 2022 at 4:21 p.m.

    I don't think objectivity was called for in an opinion piece. 

  8. steve Rosenbaum from SustainableMedia.Center replied, June 13, 2022 at 4:22 p.m.

    Ok, if for argument, i'm 'ashamed' what should i call myself? 

  9. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, June 14, 2022 at 12:35 p.m.

    It is pathetic how much content MediaPost puts out to constantly bash FOX while completely ignorning, and even championing, other news networks' blatant bias, missteps, and ignoring of major news stories.


    EVERY news channel has news anchors and pundit programming.  It's ridiculous that MediaPost "journalists" and commentators cannot distinguish between news and punditry.  Like MSNBC and CNBC and CNN are just all news all the time.  Not even close.


    This concerted and ongoing effort to ignore the missteps of left leaning networks and the spotlight on FOX just diminishes Mediapost's credibiility.


    There's a reason why more people trust Joe Rogan and Bill Maher than news outlets. It would be great if Mediapost got back to being an objective observer vs. being a rag with a mission.

  10. tyler lubbers from clench Media, June 14, 2022 at 2:41 p.m.

    The truth is that all the networks exhibit major biasis. But for some reason media post can only  seem to report on one side. We can all see their blatant bias as well.

  11. Jennifer Jarratt from Leading Futurists LLC, June 14, 2022 at 4:56 p.m.

    Gentlemen, as educated professionals, you should be aware that enterprises like Fox, or some Internet based "news" channels are simply visual and digital versions of the old tabloids that people read as they waited to check out their purchases in the supermarket. Faux news, or "stories" have always been a lucrative side of the media biz, and still are. Murdoch is certainly aware of this history and he and his colleagues have simply updated their participation in this market. It's likely that however the media evolves in future, we'll still have a version of the "low" end of the media profession's output available to the consumer who likes that kind of thing.

  12. steve Rosenbaum from SustainableMedia.Center replied, June 14, 2022 at 5:04 p.m.

    Jennifer, I appreciate your balanced and even tone, but i have to say I strongly disagree. Even at their most widely distributed, the National Enquirer never had the impact that moved public perception. Fox [news] is consumed by half the country as their single source of information. It is 'trusted' and it's paid for by you and I, as a piece of your cable bill - without option. The hypocrisies at the institution are well known, so for example the Fox studio required masks for all who entered, even as the prime hosts told their viewers not to wear masks. Television is hypnotic in it's power, and when wrapped in a cloak of 'news' it delivers fiction as fact. It would be interesting to survey news consumers, and see if the Fox News viewer has a much more narrow diet than the consumers of other news sources. 

  13. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 14, 2022 at 6:07 p.m.

    Steve, while I agree with you that the Fox News Channel has far more impact than "the National Enquirer"---even in the latter's heyday when it attained something like a 4 million circulation  in the U.S.---as I recall---none of the cable news channels has the kind of reach you mentioned. In fact, Nielsen has reported that the conbined monthly reach of all of the cable news channels is less than 50% and a 2020 Pew study---- which asked respondents which channels they used most "consistently" for political news----  found that only 36% of their Republican or "right leaning" sample named Fox while 11% of their opposites---Democrats and "left leaning" folks---- did so. The same study found almost the exact reverse for CNN with 39%of the Dems and "lefties" watching CNN and a mere 9% opting for Fox.  In other words the typical monthly reach of either channel is probably on the order of 20-30%.

  14. steve Rosenbaum from SustainableMedia.Center replied, June 14, 2022 at 6:47 p.m.

    Fox News has a unique partisan power In December, The Washington Post and University of Maryland conducted a national poll that included an assessment of where people get their news about politics and government. Among Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents, a variety of sources — CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, NPR, the Times, The Post — were identified as a main source of news by at least 3 in 10. Among Republicans, though, only two were: local television and Fox News. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-washpost.s3.amazonaws.com/public/33EFQ7BT2FBFTNC2QQ2WQGEUGE.png&w=916

  15. steve Rosenbaum from SustainableMedia.Center, June 14, 2022 at 6:48 p.m.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/04/04/unique-damaging-role-fox-news-plays-american-media/

  16. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 14, 2022 at 7:28 p.m.

    That's true, Steve. A number of studies have shown that many people who are staunch Republicans or "rightys" tend to use fewer  news sources than Dems or "lefties". Which is not surprising as many Republicans have bought into the idea---which has some degree of credibility, by the way---that most of the news media favors the "liberal" point of view.

    The problem has become that this is taken to mean that almost everything that the "liberal" media say is a lie---which is not true. Nor is everything that Fox puts out false, either. Until we can calm down and focus on the facts and whatever hard evidence is available this endless bickering and the woeful information gap that it causes will continue. I know many "conservatives" whose first question when something political comes up is not about the facts---if any--but rather  who said it. If its CNN or MSNBC  or The Washington Post we can go no farther as they are assumed to be either lying or biased.

  17. Bode Lang from BOSS, June 19, 2022 at 11:08 p.m.

    What an amazing quote: "News organizations such as NBC, the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have standards. They take facts seriously, and check them, looking for multiple sources to confirm them." How absurd does someone have to be to write that? You mean the New York Times and Washington Post that spent two years lying about Russian Collusion to smear Trump and both won Pulitzer Prizes for their propaganda? The Jan 6th Soviet show-trials is the new form of propaganda now because nobody believes these media liars. Fox News didn't cover it because it's propaganda. There's a reason the Jan 6th fraudsters haven't released the full video footage. Oh, and the head of the FBI refused to confirm that FBI agents didn't break any laws on Jan 6. His refusal tells the story. This is just Russian Collusion 3.0 

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