Fox News should be seen as a political organization, not a news network
- Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch said Fox News would act as “the loyal opposition” to Biden.
- If so, as the sensationalist expertise of the network shows, then they should be seen as a political organization and not as an information network.
- According to this classification, Fox News should fundraise for donors and PACs, not cable subscribers.
- Matt Walton was the 2015 Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates (74th District).
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
Is Fox News really a “news” organization? Given the multitude of experts on the platform, this issue has been the subject of heated debate among media watchers for a long time. But we finally have our answer.
Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch recently said the conservative network would act as “the loyal opposition” to the Biden administration. Young Murdoch’s statement confirmed what many have known all along: that Fox News only meddles in news and is primarily a political organization.
With this recognition, it is time for Fox News to be legally treated as a political organization and no longer as a media.
The most important aspect for Fox News reclassification is the business model. By designating Fox as a political entity, the cable companies would then stop paying Fox News to broadcast its content. Like all other cable companies, Fox News collects a fee from TV providers (such as Fios, Xfinity, DirectTV, etc.) for each subscriber, known as a freight charge. It is estimated that the average household pays about $ 2 per month, for a total of about $ 1.8 billion per year in network distribution costs. Each cable operator is responsible for negotiating its rates with each network and these negotiations and contracts are confidential.
If Fox News were rightly viewed as a political operation, the fees they collect would be considered political contributions, contributions you would make if you had even a basic cable plan. It’s fine for a media organization to have opinion-oriented programs, but in the words of its CEO, Fox News is no longer interested in being a media outlet, but the political opposition loyal to the current administration.
The purpose of any media organization is to investigate and hold people, businesses and government accountable for their actions and decisions. Fox News is no longer interested in providing unbiased, fact-based reporting as it sees itself as a staunch political opponent of the Biden administration. Their “reporting” cannot be trusted for long as a source of information because of this decree from Murdoch.
When a political entity wants to get its message across on television with political advertisements, it has to pay for that message to be broadcast. Fox News must adhere to the same financial standards as any political candidate, party or third party political organization and pay for its content to be broadcast.
For example, shows hosted by Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson and even shows like Fox and Friends and Outnumbered are political infomercials. These shows, like the rest of Fox News programming, should not be funded by distribution fees, but paid to air.
For years, Fox News has been covered up in its political activism. The network has knowingly misled Americans by promoting lies and conspiracy theories for the political gain of the far right.
Lies, such as baseless reports in May 2017 that it was Seth Rich, a member of the Democratic National Committee, who leaked thousands of Democratic Party emails to Wikileaks at a pivotal moment in the presidential campaign In the end, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The network eventually settled down with Rich’s parents, but Sean Hannity continued to embrace the plot, broadcasting it to his millions of viewers.
Another notable lie spread by Fox News for political gain came in 2020 when the network and its on-air personalities continued to broadcast misinformation about voter fraud. Conspiracy theories on voting machine systems created by the Smartmatic company have been circulated to millions of people. Smartmatic even went so far as to file a $ 2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News for damages.
Dominion Voting Systems also filed a libel suit against Fox News on March 26, citing $ 1.6 billion in damages. In their lawsuit, Dominion claims that the network “sold a false story of electoral fraud to serve its own business purposes, seriously injuring Dominion in the process.”
Fox News has respected journalists, like Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Chris Wallace, Neil Cavuto and Shannon Bream; However, their journalistic reputation is now even more clouded since the company declared its network as opposition to the Biden administration. Now that the entire “news” network is the loyal opposition, these journalists and their programs must follow the political advertising disclaimer.
According to these rules, Fox News must broadcast a “clear and visible” warning on all of its programming. This disclaimer should state that what is being broadcast is for political purposes and is paid for by the Fox News political entity.
Finally, as a political entity, Fox News should rely on donors to pay for its programming instead of TV subscribers paid through distribution fees. In addition, they should no longer be allowed to charge companies for advertisements. Fox News must then follow the appropriate reporting rules and regulations of the Federal Election Commission regarding the identity of its donors, so that the American people know who is paying to support the political activism of their network.
Fox News said in 2017 it was no longer “fair and balanced” and in 2021 they said their goal was to be President Biden’s loyal opposition. Clearly, they don’t even want to pretend to be a serious news network. It’s time for America to cut the Fox News cord and let it attempt to flourish as a self-sustaining political entity.
Matt Walton was the 2015 Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates (74th District). In 2016, Walton was part of Virginia’s leadership team for John Kasich’s presidential campaign. Recently, Walton worked with Project Lincoln and was part of the Virginia Leadership Team and the National Team (Quick Collective Engagement Wing).