Roger Ailes promises to make Fox News less right-wing

In a new interview with Newsweek, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, known as "The Chairman" by fierce loyalists, talks about how he has put the network on a "course correction," and subtly repositioned Fox News over the last year. This January, the channel toned down its rhetoric, as instructed by Ailes, following the January shooting of Gabby Giffords.

Ailes has always taken a firm hand in shaping Fox's editorial bent. Glenn Beck, who was originally hired by Ailes with the directive to take it to the White House, became too overzealous, and had to be jettisoned because, as Ailes says, he "became a bit of a branding issue for us." Fox has also slowly tiptoed back from its association with Sarah Palin. At the same time, when anchor Shepard Smith says something less than right-wing (like when he stated that the U.S. government was lying about its involvement in certain Middle East conflicts, or when he said the killing of Osama bin Laden was "illegal"), Ailes will push back. (As he tells Newsweek, "Every once in a while Shep Smith gets out there where the buses don't run and we have a 'friendly talk.'")

The June 9 issue of Rolling Stone featured a story called "How Roger Ailes Built the Fox News Fear Factory," which examined Ailes' background and early career. It was while working for Richard Nixon that Ailes "first experimented with blurring the distinction between journalism and politics." He told the Washington Post in 1972, "I know certain techniques, such as a press release that looks like a newscast. So you use it because you want your man to win."

I think the course correction is a smart move by Ailes, not only politically, but also commercially. Expanding his brand makes sense, when you consider that the median age of Fox News viewers is sixty-five, and the percentage of African-American viewers is somewhere around 1.38 percent. But expect that course to be corrected only so far. In regards to fighting the Obama administration, Ailes has said, "I see this as the Alamo."

Commentarium (40 Comments)

Sep 27 11 - 1:49pm
jdkazoo

Why is this on Nerve.com? There are plenty of websites that focus on politics. I don't like Fox News in the slightest, in fact I think they are evil, but c'mon.

Sep 27 11 - 1:52pm
JeffMills

We cover television, and this is about how a television network reports the news.

Sep 27 11 - 2:35pm
mp

that in and of itself doesn't make it interesting or a good match for this site.

Sep 27 11 - 6:17pm
julian.

Yeah, I hate how Nerve forces us to read these articles, oh wait.

Sep 27 11 - 2:45pm
Beelzebub

In other news, Satan promises to make Hell less hot.

Sep 27 11 - 4:45pm
rexmerritt

We're going to believe Goebbels? Really?

Sep 27 11 - 4:56pm
NYCTEA

I guess he is tired of being the #1 cable news channel. Going left editorially will definitely fix that.

Sep 27 11 - 5:27pm
Wait Five Minutes

Why doesn't he just turn FOX into an all- "World's Strongest Man" reruns network? That'd be cool.

Sep 27 11 - 6:18pm
julian.

Wait, Fox news was right leaning?

Naaaaawwwww...

Sep 27 11 - 7:56pm
Gazbo

I'll bet the "friendly talk" sounded amazingly like Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty) reading Howard Beale (Peter Finch) the riot act in "Network".
"You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear?".
If you have never watched the movie, go get it tonight - you'll be glad.

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