August 5, 2004
Mr. Roger Ailes
Chairman and CEO
FOX News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
I'm writing to you today regarding your news network's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention.
As was evident from your programming during the week of the convention, as well as an analysis by our organization, Media Matters for America, FOX News Channel clearly made a decision to provide minimal live coverage of some of the convention's major speeches.
According to our analysis, FOX News Channel aired live one hour and 16 minutes less of speeches from the convention than did CNN and one hour and 47 minutes less than did MSNBC. In fact, your network chose to forgo any live coverage of some of the convention's most prominent speakers, including Ret. General Wesley Clark and Reverend Jesse Jackson. CNN aired about two minutes and MSNBC aired almost 11 minutes of Clark's speech; both networks aired approximately 10 minutes of Jackson's speech.
Most glaring was the 45 seconds you allotted for the live airing of former Vice President Al Gore's address. CNN and MSNBC each aired 13 minutes of Gore's speech.
I am hard-pressed to justify your network's motto, "We Report, You Decide," with your decision to withhold from your viewers live coverage of some of most prominent convention speeches that were covered more thoroughly by competing cable news channels. Media Matters for America will replicate its study of live coverage by the cable channels during the GOP convention later this month. We wonder if the FOX News Channel will give short shrift to the Republicans.
President and CEO
Media Matters for America