In a wide-ranging interview with Fortune magazine’s Patricia Sellers, 21st Century Fox Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch disputed the notion that Fox News has hurt the Republican Party. He said that the cable news network had just the opposite effect and had actually saved the GOP.
Does it bother you at all, Rupert, that there is a view that Fox News has contributed in a big way to the political discontent in the U.S., degraded the political process, and maybe, in spotlighting the Tea Party, even hurt the Republican Party?
I think it has absolutely saved it. It has certainly given voice and hope to people who didn’t like all that liberal championing thrown at them on CNN. By the way, we don’t promote the Tea Party. That’s bullshit. We recognize their existence.
That’s probably a bit of a stretch, but there is no doubt that Fox News, which Murdoch launched in 1996, has had a profound effect on the cable news landscape. Prior to the launch, the only real cable news networks were CNN and its sister network HLN (formerly Headline News), with their liberal-leaning tilt. The emergence of Fox News changed all of that. Now, conservatives had a voice and an opportunity to balance the overwhelmingly liberal news slant that existed in both cable and broadcast news.
After a few years of battling CNN, and to a lesser extent MSNBC, Fox News became the top-rated cable news network, wresting that title away from CNN, and has held that slot for the last 12 years, with no end in sight.
Fox News may not have “saved” the Republican Party—I don’t think any one person or entity can do that—but it surely reinvigorated the conservative movement and blunted the influence of the liberal media on the American political system.