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The Fox News Channel was formed in 1996, as the cable news division ofNews Corporation. News Corp is owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns many other cable stations and newspapers around the country. When Fox News entered the field it was assumed that they would adopt party-line conservatism, and at the time this would be seen as a road to failure. According to Fox News C.E.O. Roger Alies, "There had been four failures at that. This was a different mission entirely. But we had no newsgathering infrastructure, no studios, no employees, and no equipment. The press was laughing at us."

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At the time the Big Three networks and CNN each had budgets almost 10 times that of Fox News. CNN had a staff of nearly 3,500 people and Fox began with 700; CNN had 30 bureaus in the States and abroad and Fox had 9.

With Roger Ailes leading the station he encouraged reporters and editors to "tell both sides of every story and take stores to the 'next level' of information."Alies wanted to position his cable channel as a haven for viewers looking for relief from the one-sided reporting by the competition. To go along with this style Fox adopted a tag line 'fair and balanced' that was written by Ailes himself.