Fox is retiring the longtime “Fair and Balanced” line -- which also had the testy “We Report. You Decide” marketing theme.
That latter, in particular, stemmed from Roger Ailes, ousted Fox News chairman/CEO, who died in May. The New York Times says the new marketing line doesn’t have “an Ailes-tinged tone of defiance.”
More than a decade ago at a TV Critics Association meeting, I asked Bill O’Reilly, key Fox on-air personality, about the “We Report. You Decide” line -- especially given the network’s ever-growing opinion-based content.
I suggested -- somewhat tongue in cheek -- that perhaps the network’s marketing line should be “We Report. We Decide.” O’Reilly mostly demurred that much of Fox’s daytime time back then was pretty much straight news-reporting, with less opinion content.
Obviously, much has changed, for Fox News and other cable news channels.
The trouble for the Fox News Channel, and other news organizations, is sending new marketing messages to TV consumers that it's not "fake news" -- without actually using those words. Consider these suggestions: “Real News. Right Here,” “Honest News For You” and “Non-Slant Reporting.”
MSNBC is running "This is Who We Are" in a on-air promo, which includes images/words of its on-air anchors/reporters. It also has had “The Place for Politics” and before that, “Lean Forward.” CNN? It's been “The Most Trusted Name In News.” (Fox seems to have borrowed its new tag from its rival.)
Now Fox looks to popularity.
When it comes to identifying “most watched,” the data for consumers to analyzed is readily available -- depending on the day, week or audience segment. Still, in May, MSNBC was the highest-rated network in key news 25-54 viewers for the first time in nearly 17 years.
Trust? It’s tough to find industry-wide standard metrics. Surely, Fox is "rebuilding" -- with a number of on-air changes. But that’s hard to neatly squeeze into a glib promotional line.
How about tagging stuff to the president -- who always seems to give a shout out to “Fox & Friends”? Find the value, yes?