It’s time that Fox News is considered a political organization, not a news network

sean hannity fox news
Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity
  • Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch stated that Fox News would act as "the loyal opposition" to Biden.
  • If this is the case, as made evident by the network's sensationalist punditry, then they should be considered a political organization and not a news network.
  • Under this classification, Fox News would have to raise money for donors and PACs, not cable subscribers.
  • Matt Walton was the 2015 Republican nominee for the Virginia House of Delegates (74th District).
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Is Fox News actually a "news" organization? Given the rampant punditry on the platform, that question has been hotly debated among media watchers for a long time. But we finally have our answer.

Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch recently stated that the conservative network would act as "the loyal opposition" to the Biden Administration. The younger Murdoch's statement confirmed what many have known all along: that Fox News only dabbles in news, and is primarily a political organization.

With this acknowledgement, it's time that Fox News is legally treated like a political organization and no longer as a news outlet.

Financial aid

The most important aspect for reclassifying Fox News comes in the business model. By designating Fox as a political entity, cable providers would then stop paying Fox News to air its content. Like every other cable outlet, Fox News is paid a fee from TV providers (such as Fios, Xfinity, DirectTV, etc.) for each subscriber called a carriage fee. It's estimated that an average household pays roughly $2 per month, totaling approximately $1.8 billion a year in carriage fees to the network. Each cable provider is responsible for negotiating its fees with each network and those negotiations and contracts are confidential.

If Fox News were rightly considered a political operation, the fees they collect would be considered political contributions, contributions you'd make if you have even a basic cable package. It's okay for a media organizations to have opinion programs, but by its own CEO's words, Fox News is no longer interested in being a media outlet, but the loyal political opposition to the current administration.

The purpose of any media organization is to investigate and hold people, business, and the government responsible and accountable for their actions and decisions. Fox News is no longer interested in providing unbiased reporting based on the facts since it sees itself as a loyal political opponent of the Biden Administration. We can not long trust their "reporting" as a source for news because of this decree from Murdoch.

When a political entity wants to get its message out on TV with political advertisements, they have to pay to have that message air. Fox News must be held to the same financial standard of any political candidate, party, or third party political organization and pay for its content to be on air.

Fox 1
Fox News' broadcast of a Biden speech, where the chyron shows Tucker Carlson's live reaction.

For example, shows hosted by Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson and even shows such as Fox and Friends and Outnumbered are political infomercials. These shows, like the rest of the Fox News line up, should not be supported by carriage fees, but pay to be on the air.

For years Fox News has been covert 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 reporting in May 2017 that it was Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, who leaked thousands of Democratic party emails to Wikileaks at a pivotal point during the 2016 presidential campaign. Ultimately the US intelligence community concluded that the leaked DNC emails were part of Russian interference in the 2016 election. The network ultimately settled with the parents of Rich, but Sean Hannity continued to embrace the conspiracy, spreading 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 spread misinformation about voter fraud. Conspiracy theories about the voting machine systems created by the Smartmatic company were broadcast to millions of people. Smartmatic even went as far as to file a $2.7 Billion lawsuit against Fox News in damages.

On March 26, Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Fox News as well, citing $1.6 billion in damages. In their lawsuit, Dominion claims that the network "sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process."

Fox News does have some respected journalists, like Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Chris Wallace, Neil Cavuto, and Shannon Bream; however, their journalistic reputations are now even more clouded since the corporation has declared its network as the opposition to the Biden Administration. Now that the entire "news" network is the loyal opposition, these journalists and their programs need to follow political advertisement disclaimer rules.

According to these rules, Fox News must air a "clear and conspicuous" disclaimer on all of their programming. This disclaimer must state that what is being broadcast is for political purposes and that it 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 paid TV subscribers via carriage fees. Furthermore, they should no longer be allowed to charge companies for advertisements. Fox News then must follow the appropriate reporting rules and regulations from the Federal Elections Commission with respect to who their donors are, so the American people will know who is paying to support the political activism of their network.

Fox News declared in 2017 that it was no longer "Fair and Balanced" and in 2021 they stated that their goal is to be the loyal opposition of President Biden. It's clear that they have no desire to even pretend to be a serious news network. It's time for America to cut the cord on Fox News and let it attempt to flourish as a stand alone political entity.

Matt Walton was the 2015 Republican nominee for the Virginia House of Delegates (74th District). In 2016, Walton was on the Virginia leadership team for the John Kasich Presidential Campaign. Recently, Walton worked with the Lincoln Project and was on the Virginia Leadership Team and the National (Collective Rapid-Engagement Wing) Team.

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