Ever since Fox News Channel went on the air in 1996, it has used a simple three-word slogan to identify its programming: “Fair and Balanced.”
But not anymore.
The network still considers its news coverage to be fair and balanced. But from a marketing standpoint, Fox News executives want something new.
The network’s current tagline is “Most Watched. Most Trusted.” However, it’s not considered a permanent replacement. A new slogan is in the works, a source at the network told CNN.
A report by New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman suggests the decision to change the slogan was made after network co-founder Roger Ailes was dismissed last August. A source told Sherman the “Fair and Balanced” slogan was not only associated too closely to Ailes, but it had been mocked often, particularly by those critical of the network’s prime-time lineup of conservative commentators.
A Fox News spokesperson confirmed the network had not used the “Fair and Balanced” slogan in external marketing or on-air promotions since August, but said “the shift has nothing to do with programming or editorial decisions.”
Fox News has used other taglines over the years, including, “We Report, You Decide,” and “The Most Trusted Name in News.” But “Fair and Balanced” was more than just a marketing slogan, it was more the mantra Ailes used in guiding the network’s course.
The magazine cites one example of how Ailes drilled the “Fair and Balanced” mantra into the minds of the network’s news division employees.
“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,” a senior producer told the publication.
“He would say, ‘The news is like a ship. If you take hands off the wheel, it pulls hard to the left,’” the producer added.
The rebranding is the latest in what has been a year of significant changes at the network. In addition to the departure of Ailes last year, three members of the network’s venerable prime-time lineup have left as well. Greta Van Susteren moved to MSNBC, Megyn Kelly signed a new contract with NBC and Bill O’Reilly was fired after reports of multiple settlements paid to women who made sexual harassment claims against him.
While the network is phasing out the slogan, at least one of the network’s popular on-air personalities said it won’t change how he signs off his program.
I am. My show will still end with “Fair-Balanced and Unafraid”. As it has since the day I took over 8 1/2 yrs ago Not changing my tag line. https://t.co/EA9m2FsC6W
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) June 14, 2017
In an interview last year, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch said the “Fair and Balanced” slogan was an accurate depiction of the network’s news programming.
“There’s a real difference between the news reporting and news gathering and the opinion shows — the sort of talk shows that occupy prime time,” Murdoch said. “They are certainly provocative … but they are opinion shows, and they’re labeled that way.”
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