April 19, 2005

The Kalb Report Wraps Season
with Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes, chair and CEO of FOX News, discussed the rapid rise of the FOX News Channel on this year’s final edition of The Kalb Report, at the National Press Club April 7.

Ailes has built the channel into the leading cable news outlet, while also building a reputation as a tough-minded, competitive news executive with the Midas touch during his nine-years at the helm of FOX News.

“It’s easier to build a network from scratch than it is to stay on top,” he said, tipping his hat to his network and cable competitors. Ailes added, however, that advertising revenues are expected to hit the half billion dollar mark next fiscal year.

The program, which aired live on C-SPAN, XM Satellite Radio, and WMAL Radio in Washington, DC, covered topics such as the sudden turnover among long-standing network anchors, the relationship between cable news and tabloid journalism, and the possibility of creating a financial network like CNBC. Host Marvin Kalb pressed Ailes for his definition of bias, a reference to the conservative news outlet’s repeated assertions that it is the provider of “fair and balanced reporting.”

“Eliminating someone’s point of view,” he replied. Ailes argued that recent surveys that suggest Fox engages in editorializing during its news coverage more often other news networks, didn’t take a complete look at Fox’s lineup.

“Anybody who says bias does not exist is either lying or stupid,” Ailes insisted, distinguishing the difference between the network’s hard news broadcasts and its more noted news analysis programs such has Hannity & Colmes and the O’Reilly Factor. “The American people are smart. They don’t need anyone to tell them the difference between hard news and new analysis.”

The Kalb Report series is underwritten by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and produced by GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs, The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University, and the National Press Club.

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