Fox News Channel's political agenda is coming to a local television station near you. GOP operative and Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes, the architect of the right-wing dominance of cable news, is now remaking 35 local television stations -- broadcasting to nearly 40 percent of America’s homes -- in Fox News Channel’s image. Currently, the worst of the ranting radicals like O'Reilly and Hannity are on Fox's cable channel. This would bring them to the airwaves.
News Corp. already owns both a Fox and a UPN affiliate in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- the country’s three biggest markets -- and other duopolies in six more of the top 20 markets, including Dallas, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C.
According to a recent report in Variety, Ailes plans to replace local news with the biased infotainment that’s become a hallmark of Fox News Channel. He has moved oversight of the local station group to Fox News headquarters in New York. He has flown in local news personalities for retraining on how to deliver the news Fox-style.
This month, he replaced station programming with "Geraldo at Large," a show produced out of Fox News’ studios. Other Fox News Channel programs -- that include Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity -- are waiting in the wings.
To stop the "Fox Effect" from invading more hometown news markets, Free Press has launched a national campaign, asking its more than 220,000 activists and others to tell News Corp., local stations and Congress: “Don’t Fox with my local news!”
Media consolidation made Ailes’ takeover of local news possible. (Click here for an interactive map of Fox-owned stations.) As I write this, News Corp.'s lobbyists are schmoozing officials in Washington to further loosen regulations that prohibit one company from owning even more local news outlets. Instead, we need to break up the big media conglomerates and get higher quality news and information in return for free use of the public's airwaves.