Fox News Officially Drops “Fair and Balanced” Slogan


Two months after shedding its most recognizable personality, Fox News is dropping the most recognizable catch phrase in cable television.

In a move that will likely infuriate Fox News viewers who’ve grown loyal to the sole news outlet that gave conservatives a voice in mainstream media, the network plans to lose the “fair and balanced” tagline that has become a part of American culture, New York magazine reported Friday.

The famous three words helped Fox establish its own identity in the vast wasteland of network news in the United States – and served as an implicit criticism of the liberal bias among the three major networks when Fox News was born in the 1996.

“He would call a group of senior producers and make you watch the channel and he’d point out stuff, like a banner that’s slightly liberal,” one senior producer told New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman.

“He would say, ‘The news is like a ship. If you take hands off the wheel, it pulls hard to the left.’”

That’s the kind of philosophy Fox News viewers came to appreciate. And the all-star lineup of talent Ailes built, led for decades by conservative icon Bill O’Reilly, helped the network live up to its own billing.

The irony is that despite Fox’s undeniable conservative bent, it has been consistently more “fair and balanced” than the rest of the mainstream media – but that has only made it look more conservative.

The fact that Fox gives conservatives a voice at all makes it stand out against the overwhelming liberal tide of Western media organizations.

Ailes, however, was forced out of his CEO post in July 2016, amid a burgeoning sexual harassment scandal that included some of the network’s biggest female stars.

He went on to become an informal adviser to then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He died in May.

Since Ailes’ ouster, the network he helped build has been in turmoil, as big names like Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren left for other jobs. In April, in move that stunned conservative fans of Fox, the network fired O’Reilly after news of sexual harassment settlements related to O’Reilly caused advertisers to start pulling dollars from the network.

Regular viewers who were already turning off because of Fox’s upheaval are likely to be even more disillusioned with the dropping of the familiar tagline.

There could be even more irony in the network’s other tagline, which Fox News will be pushing, according to New York magazine: “Most Watched. Most Trusted.”

Fox News has long been at the top of the ratings in cable news, so “most watched” will probably be true for at least the foreseeable future. But “most trusted”?

After a year of tumult, sexual scandal and the firing of a conservative favorite, “most trusted” will be something the network will have to prove all over again.

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