It’s strange to think that, a little more than 25 years ago, the Fox News Channel didn’t yet exist.
The network would go on to change televised news. But in October 1996, the new network had just been launched by Ailes, who ran it from the shadows. He quickly built the network’s credibility by hiring top talent like Brit Hume and Bill O’Reilly. But that was only the first step.
The rise of MSNBC and Fox marked the beginning of a growing divide between the political right and left in the United States. Fox marketed itself as offering “fair and balanced” news, but soon became known as the right-wing channel. This was a reputation that Ailes exploited to his advantage.
Ailes was willing to take risks to build an audience for his channel, even if it meant bypassing industry standards for unbiased news coverage. Controversy generated more viewers, and nothing mattered more than that.
For a deep dive into Ailes’s career and the history of Fox, check out our Instaread on The Loudest Voice in the Room.