It’s official – according to the New York Times. The “newspaper of record,” citing a June 14 article by Gabriel Sherman in New York magazine, reports that the Fox News Channel (FNC) has retired its motto of “Fair & Balanced,” which it had used prominently since the channel started in 1996. Back then, FNC founder Roger Ailes came up with the slogan to distinguish the channel from its competitors, CNN and MSNBC, and the rest of the mainstream media, which Ailes and millions of Americans considered biased in favor of the left.
The slogan “Fair & Balanced” hung on until last August, when, according to an unnamed source cited by Sherman, it was quietly ditched because of its association with Ailes. The founder of FNC had become persona non grata after being unceremoniously removed from Fox News the month before as a result of allegations that he had sexually harassed a number of female Fox employees. (These are allegations, it should be noted, that were denied by Ailes and his representatives and that were never heard in a court of law.)
The new Fox News motto is “Most Watched, Most Trusted.”
In terms of “most watched,” it is true that ratings for Fox News held strong through May of this year. But in the wake of the 2017 departures of marquee talent including Bill O’Reilly in April and Fox News co-president Bill Shine, an Ailes loyalist, in May, FNC’s ratings are not the consistent powerhouse they once were.
For example, the latest posted cable news ratings for Tuesday, June 13, a day that was slightly unusual because of live coverage of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s Senate hearings that ran until after 5:00 P.M. EDT, are mixed news for FNC. In the prime-time total viewers category, Fox beat MSNBC by 276,000 viewers – 2.888 million to 2.612 million. Third-place CNN was far behind in prime time with only 1.124 million. In the so-called demo (viewers 25-54 that advertisers prefer and that determine a channel’s ad rates), MSNBC was first with 620,000 viewers followed by Fox (592,000) and CNN (448,000).