Love it or hate it, Fox News is a ratings gold mine. With an average of 1.1 million viewers, it commands more eyeballs than CNN and MSNBC combined. (It's been a ratings leaders since 2002.) But how come? It's a nagging question that Fox News President Roger Ailes and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch were happy to oblige the hosts of Fox and Friends with this morning, which marks the network's 15th birthday. The occasion also invited Fox's detractors to explain its stubborn success. Behold: the competing theories:
Serving the under-served On Fox and Friends, Murdoch suggested that the mainstream media had ignored large swaths of conservative America before Fox came along--a hole he was happy to fill. "Well I just had a hunch, you know, that there was room for another point of view...I don't like monopolies when I see them."
Branding "Fox News has the best marketing slogan in the history of news products," writes Erik Wemple at The Washington Post. Of course, The New York Times's recent executive editor Bill Keller has another superlative for its famous appelation: "I cannot think of a more cynical slogan than 'Fair and Balanced.'" But Wemple documented its power while visiting the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. "Roaming the halls of the event are people from all over the country who are eager to talk in detail about their media-consumption habits. Thanks to the Fox marketing slogan, however, detail is often not necessary." At the event, Wemple talks to a range of conservatives getting an astonishingly similar response each time about why they like Fox News. “It’s pretty fair and balanced,” a woman in her mid-40s tells him. “Fair and balanced,” a 48-year-old tells him. “We appreciate their fair and balanced response," a retired RN tells him. "Fair and balanced. Hence the name ‘fair and balanced,’” a woman tells him. “I do look for that fair and balanced coverage from Fox News,” a 40-year-old man adds. Wemple emphasizes that he never invoked "fair and balanced" to try to get his interviewees to say it. "The proper test of a marketing slogan, after all, is how deeply people keep it in their heads."