Fox News Channel reportedly retires its 'Fair & Balanced' motto

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).

The number-one show in all of cable news prime time – this is becoming a trend – was über-liberal Rachel Maddow's on MSNBC at 9 P.M. EDT with 743,000 viewers in the demo, beating FNC's The Five by 232,000 viewers.  CNN at 9:00 P.M. was a distant also-ran.  Maddow also had the largest number of total viewers (all ages) with 3.055 million.  This number beat Maddow's FNC competition, The Five, which had 2.695 million viewers.

Also worth reporting in the view of many is the already faltering career of Megyn Kelly, the one-time Fox News superstar who quit Fox for NBC last January with high hopes of maybe being the next Oprah or Barbara Walters.  Kelly's new prime-time NBC network show, Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly, premiered on June 4, but its second run on June 11 had half as many total viewers and came in second to CBS News's five-decade-old newsmagazine 60 Minutes.

On June 12, Radar Online reported that NBC is "'Freaking Out'" over "'Ratings Disaster' Megyn Kelly."  Radar quotes a source saying, "They [NBC] didn't pay her $15 million for this[.] ... People are not tuning in to watch Megyn without huge guests."  Meanwhile, Kelly's interview taped in Austin, Texas last week with controversial Infowars talk show host Alex Jones will reportedly be aired as usual on Kelly's next show, Sunday, June 18.  A backlash including a sponsor boycott has developed based on objections to Jones because of some of the issues he has championed in the past, especially his raising questions about the December 2012 Sandy Hook, Conn. school shooting massacre.  On June 12, the New York Post reported that NBC staff were "panicked" and holding "crisis meetings" about the forthcoming Jones show but that ultimately, it would air as scheduled, including for its potential to increase viewership on the flagging program.

Update June 15, 2017, 5:00 P.M. EDT

We received a document from Caroline Shanahan, Senior Director of Public Relations, Fox News Channel, with FNC’s interpretation of the cable television news ratings for Tuesday, June 13, 2017 that are referenced in the blog post above. In light of the extensive coverage that we have given to the Fox News Channel recently, and in the interests of fairness, the FNC analysis is being reproduced here exactly as we received it except for some minor formatting changes. The original article above like the document below uses Nielsen Media Research ratings as reported at TVNewser’s "Scoreboard" for Tuesday, June 13. In the FNC analysis, the interpretation of measurable hours for ratings purposes on the evening of June 13 includes an extra hour (11:00 P.M.-12 midnight EDT) compared with TVNewser’s traditional measure of “prime time” (8:00-11:00 P.M. EDT). –Peter Barry Chowka

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Source: Fox News

FNC Also Topped Special Primetime Coverage In Both Total Viewers and Demo From 8PM-12AM/ET

FOX News Channel (FNC) outpaced all broadcast and cable networks during yesterday’s [Tuesday, June 13, 2017] coverage of the Senate Intelligence Hearing with AG Jeff Sessions, delivering 3,200,000 in total viewers. FNC also averaged 476,000 in the 25-54 demographic.

Additionally, FNC topped all cable news during special primetime coverage from 8PM-12AM/ET with 2.7 million in total viewers and 584,000 with A25-54. FNC also won in primetime 8-11PM/ET total viewers, averaging 2.9 with P2+. FNC’s Hannity was the top program in primetime with 3,076,000 P2+.

**All must be attributed to Early Nielsen Media Research

Tuesday, June 13th

2:30PM/ET – 5:15PM/ET (Sessions Hearing)

FNC delivered 3,200,000 P2+ and 476,000 A25-54

CNN delivered 2,218,000 P2+ and 614,000 A25-54

MSNBC delivered 2,208,000 P2+ and 437,000 A25-54

Special Primetime Coverage 8PM-12AM/ET

FNC: 2,686,000 in P2+ (584, 000 in  25-54)

CNN: 1,129,000 in P2+ (422, 000 in 25-540

MSNBC: 2,409,000 in P2+ (575, 000 in 25-54)

Primetime 8-11PM/ET

FNC delivered 2,887,000 P2+ and 592,000 A25-54

CNN delivered 1,214,000 P2+ and 448,000 A25-54

MSNBC delivered 2,609,000 P2+ and 620,000 A25-54

End of Fox News News Release

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