Fox News confirmed this week that it has parted ways with the “Fair and Balanced” tagline that for years was a rallying cry for the cable channel’s fans and critics alike.
The New York Times reports that the channel released a statement about the move in which FNC said: “The shift has nothing to do with programming or editorial decisions.”
Roger Ailes biographer and Fox News watchdog Gabriel Sherman reported the move Wednesday in New York Magazine, noting: “The decision was made last August after Ailes’s ouster by Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy, because the phrase had ‘been mocked,’ one insider said. Another executive explained that the tagline was ‘too closely associated with Roger.’ Fox executives have been instructed by management to market the network by its other tagline: ‘Most Watched. Most Trusted.’”
The Times adds that Fox has also retired another longtime slogan, “We Report, You Decide,” although it has returned occasionally.
“Several Fox News personalities still toss the phrase ‘fair and balanced’ into on-air conversation, though it no longer appears in graphics,” The Times notes, adding: “For conservative-leaning viewers, ‘Fair and Balanced’ was a blunt signal that Fox News planned to counteract what Mr. Ailes and many others viewed as a liberal bias ingrained in television coverage by establishment news networks.”
Sherman adds in the New York Magazine report: “Ailes invented the slogan when he launched the network in 1996, and over the years it became a quasi-religious doctrine among Fox’s anchors and viewers. The effectiveness of Fox News as a vehicle for conservative ideology depended on it. ‘If you come out and you try to do right-wing news, you’re gonna die. You can’t get away with it,’ Ailes once told a reporter.”