Why does Fox News constantly lie or state false information?
Founded in 1996 by Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch and led for much of its existence by the late Roger Ailes, Fox News Channel is not primarily a genuine journalistic organization. It has the name “Fox News Channel,” yes, but that’s partly to differentiate itself from its elder sibling, the Fox broadcast television network, which was also a brainchild of Mr. Murdoch and became America’s Fourth Network (after ABC, CBS, and NBC) in 1987.
Mostly, though, “Fox News Channel” is essentially a propaganda outlet for the post-Reagan/Goldwater Republican Party. Its mission, per the concepts laid down by Messrs. Ailes and Murdoch, is to provide viewers with conservative opinion and some news content with a conservative slant (or, if you will, a bias). That’s why much of the cable channel’s programming in prime time (8–11 PM) features Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and other well-known right-wing pundits and almost no news broadcasts except for the occasional “breaking news” or “top of the hour” updates.
Although Murdoch is the guy with the deep pockets that financed FNC and continues to own the cable channel, it was Ailes who first conceived “Faux News” as a right-wing alternative to “liberal media” outlets such as The Washington Post or the New York Times as far back as 1972. Ailes (who resigned in 2016 after several Fox News Channel staffers - including Megyn Kelly - accused him of sexually harassing women under his employ and died several months later after a fatal accident at home) suggested to then-President Richard M. Nixon that the GOP would benefit greatly if conservatives had mass media of their own to counter the aforementioned ABC, CBS, NBC, and various newspapers, media outlets that Nixon considered to be among his greatest “enemies.”
Interestingly, Fox News Channel’s licensing documents with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) describes the network as an “entertainment” outlet, not a newsgathering organization. Fox News does have legitimate reporters who previously worked for the more traditional “liberal” networks, including Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, and others. They do try to provide viewers with real news coverage (Shepard Smith, for one, has often tried to debunk the Uranium One “deal” conspiracy theory, that many Trump supporters obsess about, but to no avail.) Even then, Fox News executives often insist that even legitimate news coverage is given a “rightward” spin.
That’s why Fox News constantly lies or states false information. That is the organization’s Prime Directive.
(Oh, yes. Fox News Channel, along with Murdoch’s original Fox television network, will not be part of the recently-approved merger between The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox, FNC’s present parent company. Those two properties will be spun-off into what Murdoch calls “New Fox.”)