It's a sweet victory for Roger Ailes, the former Nixon consultant who's now Fox News chairman-CEO. While CNN's viewership slid 28%, the foxy News Corp. channel jumped 430% in the last three years, according to The New York Times.
"What happened at CNN with the Gulf War is what happened to us during the election. Except that with CNN it happened 12 years into their run; with us it was four years," says the 61-year-old Mr. Ailes.
Fox News Channel has gone from zero to 70 million homes in only five years. Not only is Mr. Ailes responsible for hiring talent such as Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly, he claims he writes most of the ads supporting the network, taking credit for the "Fair and balanced" tagline himself.
While Fox News occasionally consults an ad agency for its promotions,most of the work is produced in-house.
"We have an in-house promotions department, but nothing goes on the air or into print without my approval," he notes.
The network, known for its conservative viewpoint, was Mr. Ailes' idea, one that was spawned with "no research, qualitatively or quantitatively," he says. "I'm proud of that."
"In other media, they say a story is biased if there's any conservative viewpoint. We say if anybody is eliminated, that's biased," Mr. Ailes says. The Right doesn't get a free ride. He likes to point out that Fox News broke the story about President Bush's past DUI problems.
"We believed, based on my knowledge of working in television for the last 35 years, that the American people wanted coverage of more than one side of the story," he says. "The growth of the network is based on that. We have the slogan 'We report. You decide.' "