BROOKE GLADSTONE: On Friday, Fox News Channel turned ten. In the interest of full disclosure, there's not much love lost between us. They'll never supply us with anyone to interview, and Garfield once refused to go on Bill O'Reilly's show, so he took umbrage at us on his air for things we said about him on our air.
BILL O'REILLY: Basically, this is a far-left bomb-thrower, Garfield -
BILL O'REILLY: - who if you are perceived to be, by him, a conservative or traditionalist, he's going to come after you no matter what.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Though its audience has begun to erode, in its first decade, Fox News Channel revolutionized 24-hour cable news and maybe even tinkered with the meaning of news itself. CNN and MSNBC have struggled against that juggernaut by filling the time with fewer reports and more hot air, as conservative commentator Cal Thomas noted on Fox News Watch. CAL THOMAS: All of them are trying to copy Fox now, to be honest. Many of them are doing more tabloid, more big-lipped blondes and all this kind of stuff. There's only so much of that trailer trash pie to go around. [LAUGHTER] And you got to get out there and do the serious stuff once in a while!
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Yeah, he was kidding – sort of. But Fox News Channel does provide a safe harbor for those who feel slighted by most of the rest of the media. Vice-President Dick Cheney has stipulated that TVs in his hotel rooms be pre-tuned to Fox. He wants fair and balanced news from reporters like senior business correspondent Brenda Buttner, who muses here on the potential impact of a terrorist attack on the stock market.
BRENDA BUTTNER: Thank God, and thank President Bush, it hasn't happened here yet. But they've been trying, and President Bush has been trying to stop them, despite the opposition of some very misled people.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Fox News has loyal viewers. Research says they're not the best-informed viewers, more likely to believe that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 and that he had weapons of mass destruction, but then Fox News's on-air talent seems to believe those things - still - although after Fox News Channel interviewer Chris Wallace had his famous dust-up with former President Clinton, he was defended by liberal commentator, Neil Gabler.
NEIL GABLER: He is not a Hannity. He is not an O'Reilly. He is not a Brit Hume. He is not a Cavuto. He is not a John Gibson. He is not a shill -
MAN: Could you put one person on that list from another network -
NEIL GABLER: Well, I'm talking about this network.
MAN: - please?
NEIL GABLER: He is not a shill for the Bush administration.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: Now, that remark also was made on Fox News Watch, which airs on Sunday mornings, hosted by Eric Burns. So Fox News Channel may not be fair and balanced in primetime, but its weekend media show is, at least, free and easy. And the cable channel's broadcast counterpart, the Fox Network, is downright brutal. “THE SIMPSONS” ANNOUNCER: In Springfield today, a sex scandal has brought in reporters from around the world. Why? Here's Fox News! [MUSIC UP AND UNDER – "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS"]
BROOKE GLADSTONE: So happy birthday, Fox News Channel, from your friends, the far left-wing bomb throwers. Thanks for all the material. [MUSIC UP AND UNDER – "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS"]
BOB GARFIELD: Up next, journalists who put their big ideas on the big screen.