With Roger Ailes now safely interred (one hopes), are they really shedding the pretense that they're a fair and impartial arbiter? Of course not. This is just more rebranding. An effort to move past the Ailes era.
The Fox News Channel quietly dropped its "Fair and Balanced" slogan last year in an effort to move beyond the era of its former chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes.
In its place, producers have been asked to use the network's other slogan: "Most Watched. Most Trusted" -- a statement that is at least half true, insofar as Fox News maintains some of the highest ratings in cable news. The network will also introduce a new slogan soon, a source there said.
Ailes invented the "Fair and Balanced" slogan around the founding of Fox News in 1996. The slogan was less a statement of intent -- Fox News was from its inception a conservative network -- and more a message to Americans who had grown wary of what they saw as liberal bias in mainstream media. Here, the slogan seemed to say, was an alternative for non-liberal Americans.
Gabriel Sherman broke the news earlier today. His take was bang on.
It is hard to overstate the significance of what shedding “Fair & Balanced” means for Fox News. (It would be like the New York Times giving up “All the News That’s Fit to Print.”) 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.
In the annals of modern advertising, “Fair & Balanced” will be considered a classic. The slogan was Ailes’s cynical genius at its most successful. While liberals mocked the tagline, it allowed Ailes to give viewers the appearance of both sides being heard, when in fact he made sure producers staged segments so that the conservative viewpoint always won.
"Most Watched, Most Trusted" is fairly bland by comparison. Matt Groening (of Simpsons fame) had it just right.