This timeline is part of an ongoing project that will be updated.
Cable News Network (CNN) is founded by Robert "Ted" Turner in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the world’s first 24hr news channel and the first all-news television channel in the US. Previous to CNN’s founding, most Americans got their TV news in a 30 minute broadcast at 6pm every evening from the “Big Three” networks: NBC, CBS and ABC. CNN will revolutionize the news gathering business for television; its success will inspire the creation of Fox News in 1996.
The U.S. Senate joins the U.S. House of Representatives in allowing broadcast coverage of floor debates. (C-Span). This seemingly innocuous rule will have major unintended consequences when Newt Gingrich, a Georgia Republican, will use late night speeches to a largely empty chamber to help build a conservative political movement across America.
View the complete Senate session from June 2, 1986 here.
In 1993, owner of the Post, Peter S. Kalikow declares bankruptcy.
The Post is purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation after numerous political officials, including Democratic governor of New York Mario Cuomo, persuade the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant Rupert Murdoch a permanent waiver from the cross-ownership rules Without that FCC ruling, the paper would have shut down. Murdoch, who owns TV stations and newspapers around the world, is credited with using his media outlets to push for political change with a particular focus on candidates who support small government and de-regulation.
Sean Hannity is hired by Roger Ailes to co-host Hannity & Colmes with Alan Colmes. Hannity soon gets his own show in which he promotes various conspiracy theories, such as birtherism, claims that the murder of Seth Rich was part of a conspiracy, and falsehoods about Hillary Clinton's health. According to Forbes, by 2018 Hannity had become one of the most-watched hosts in cable news and most-listened-to hosts in talk radio, due in part to his closeness and access to Trump. Hannity is extremely close to President Trump, speaking with him most nights and is referred to as “the shadow Chief of Staff.”
His radio talk show, “Hannity,” is the second highest rated talk program, behind The Rush Limbaugh Show, which leads into Hannity on many stations. The show is carried on 530 stations. Hannity is a three-time consecutive winner of Radio & Records National Talk Show Host of The Year Award from 2003-2005, as well as the National Association of Broadcasters' 2003, 2004 and 2005 Marconi awards for Talk Show Host of the Year, and the Talkers Magazine 2017 Freedom of Speech Award.”
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Bill O'Reilly is hired by Roger Ailes to anchor “The O’Reilly Factor,” on the recently founded Fox News. The show soon becomes the highest-rated show on any of the 3 major U.S. cable news TV channels. O’Reilly pioneers a kind of pugnacious right wing talk show that will become a model for many others in the coming years. He is eventually fired after at least six women accuse him of sexual harassment.
Both Media Matters and Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting criticize O’Reilly’s reporting for distorting facts.
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