The Fox News Channel, in yet another step distancing itself from its founding chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, who died last month, is phasing out its iconic “Fair & Balanced” slogan.
New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported Wednesday that Fox News decided to shed its longtime motto last August, when Ailes was pushed out in the wake of a series of sexual harassment allegations against him. One insider told the outlet that the slogan had “been mocked” while another executive said the tagline was “too closely associated with Roger.”
A spokesperson for Fox News confirmed to TheBlaze that the network has not, in fact, used the popular slogan since August in any of its marketing materials, but added that “the shift has nothing to do with programming or editorial decisions.”
According to Sherman, Fox News management has instructed executives to use one of the network’s other, lesser-known slogans: “Most Watched. Most Trusted.”
Ailes first coined the “Fair & Balanced” slogan, which became synonymous with the Fox News brand, when he founded the network in 1996. In fact, Ailes saw the motto as a mantra necessary for the news channel’s success.
“If you come out and you try to do right-wing news, you’re gonna die. You can’t get away with it,” he once told a reporter, according to Sherman.
Ailes cared so much for the slogan that he would hold seminars to discuss the “Fair & Balanced” tagline with staff members.
“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 the magazine. “He would say, ‘The news is like a ship. If you take hands off the wheel, it pulls hard to the left.’”
News of this shift comes just weeks after the network dismissed former host Bill O’Reilly, who was facing a series of sexual harassment allegations. In his first interview after leaving Fox, O’Reilly, who was at the network for 20 years, told conservative radio host Glenn Beck: “This was a hit.”
The veteran opinion maker said he was “target No. 1” for liberal activists seeking to silence voices they don’t like.
“It’s sad,” he said. “It’s sad for me. It’s sad for my family. It’s grossly dishonest. I did what I thought I had to do to protect my family, but those days are over. From now on when I’m attacked, I’m going to take action, mostly legal action.”