Don’t hold your breath, but Roger Ailes said in a new interview with Newsweek that over the past year his Fox News Channel — considered the conservative option to rival cable news networks CNN and MSNBC — has embarked on a “course correction” in how it presents opinion on the air. Ailes says the shift occurred after the nasty rhetoric immediately following the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in January. It takes awhile to get to the point in the Howard Kurtz piece, but here’s the nut graph:
Glenn Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric—his ranting about Obama being a racist—“became a bit of a branding issue for us” before the hot-button host left in July, Ailes says. So too did Sarah Palin’s being widely promoted as the GOP’s potential savior—in large measure through her lucrative platform at Fox. Privately, Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama’s election, but, as the Tea Party’s popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream.
It’s possible that the departure of Glenn Beck after the commentator and network allegedly couldn’t agree on a new contract back in April is part proof of the new direction at Fox News. And Ailes took the opportunity in the article to take little shots at his Fox News colleagues Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly and fellow “conservative” Joe Scarborough at MSNBC. But don’t expect Ailes to keynote the next Democratic National Convention just yet. Asked in the same story about those who say Fox News is biased, he responds: “Every other network has given all their shows to liberals. We are the balance.”