Fox News Takes Heat for Move Toward Center
It's part of Roger Ailes' 'course correction'
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Feb 14, 2012 5:38 PM CST
Bill O'Reilly, host of FOX's 'The O'Reilly Factor,' at FOX Studios on December 15, 2011 in New York City.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Is Fox News shifting to the center, relatively speaking? Politico thinks so, tracing it back to a "course correction" ordered by Roger Ailes last fall. He wanted Fox to move away from Tea Party "cheerleading" and to tone down the far-right rhetoric, writes Politico's Keach Hagey. "A casual Fox viewer might barely notice the changes since the network remains critical of the Obama administration and reliably conservative opinion voices, like (Sean) Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, still anchor key spots in the Fox firmament. But the changes are there."

The channel is pushing its straight-news hosts, getting tougher on Republican candidates, and even hiring contributors like Sally Kohn, a gay liberal commentator. For many conservatives, though, Fox has gone too far. "I’ve gone from all Fox to no Fox," says radio host John Fredericks. "I feel they’ve lost that independent conservative mantra." If Fox is seeking a wider audience, it's doing the right thing, says a media professor. "It’s a smart move to get slightly less conservative and draw in some people in the middle and slightly to the left."