After 20 years on the air, most of which have been at the top of cable news and often the top of broadcast news, FNC’s Chris Wallace gets a chance to be a moderator of a Presidential Debate. It is the last one, however, when everyone has already made up their minds.
Roger Ailes was interested in starting a less liberal news channel since he was working for NBC, but they did not want him in charge of their flagship MSNBC. Eventually, it became a news toilet leveraging the diminishing luster of the NBC mother ship. Fox News, however, is becoming mainstream.
A strange confluence of events occurred this year. First, Fox News hosts gravitated toward the Trump candidacy. That’s no surprise, given that Trump was a weekly guest during seasons of Apprentice and eventually other weeks as well. Then a battle brewed between Trump and Republican Debate moderator Megyn Kelly that soured him on the network for a while. At the same time, former morning host Gretchen Carlson was putting together a launch of a lawsuit designed to break Ailes hold over Fox News.
For the most part, it worked. Ailes resigned (with a huge sack of money) and Rupert Murdoch became the head honcho. Murdoch has supported Hillary at times, (then again, so did Trump) but has left strong proponents of Trump, like Sean Hannity, stay on the air. However, Trump critics on the network can now speak freely without fear of reprisal.
In the two decades since the debut of Fox News, the Internet has allowed many conservatives to be noticed. Libertarians have become more than a Ron Paul protest candidacy. There is also competition like The Blaze and OANN. In some ways, Fox News has moved media to the middle and found themselves pretty close to the same place.
Now that Fox News is the establishment, will another upstart new channel with a clear vision and nothing to lose take its place in the ideological spectrum? Even if it does, will FNC even care?