- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Fox News Channel marked a milestone in its five-year history yesterday, topping rival CNN in viewership during a one-month period for the first time ever.
Fox which went on the air Oct. 7, 1996 beat a network that had a virtual monopoly in cable news for 15 years and despite the fact that Fox is available in fewer homes.
Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes said the victory was a tribute to Rupert Murdoch of parent company News Corp., who started the Fox News Channel at the same time that NBC and Microsoft launched MSNBC, and when ABC was also contemplating a cable news channel.
"[Murdoch] said that there's room and we can win, and nobody believed him," Mr. Ailes said.
Cable news viewership in general is up over last year at this time. CNN, Fox and MSNBC have held on to at least some of the audience that tuned in after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"Fox's growth is not at CNN's expense," said CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson.
During January, Fox averaged 656,000 viewers, while CNN had 596,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC had 296,000 viewers. In Nielsen's cable measurements, a month ends on its last Sunday.
Fox's prime-time talk lineup, led by Bill O'Reilly, has been the biggest factor in its success. CNN has contended that Fox has an audience with a dedication akin to those who listen to conservative talk radio. Mr. Ailes bristles at the notion of Fox being typecast as conservative.
"The TV industry in New York believes that if a conservative gets to give his point of view on television, that's bias," he said. "We believe that if anybody's point of view is eliminated, that's biased, including conservatives."
CNN is available in just under 86 million of the nation's 105.5 million television homes, and Fox in 77 million.

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