An advertisement for News Corporation which described Fox News as a “pioneer of fair and balanced news coverage” has escaped censure from the British advertising watchdog.
Two people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the national newspaper ad for News Corp, which claimed that the American rolling news channel “dominates cable news in the US”.
The ad, which trumpeted News Corp’s growth into a “global media business … reaching an audience of nearly one billion people every day”, featured a timeline of key events in the development of the Murdoch-owned company.
The entry for 1996 read: “Fox News Channel, pioneer of fair and balanced news coverage, is born. Today, it dominates cable news in the US”.
The two complainants argued that the claim that Fox News was a pioneer was misleading, because other news channels had existed for much longer. One of the complaints also took issue to the claim that the channel was fair and balanced.
In its defence, News Corp said the form and style of Fox News when it was launched reflected a different approach to news coverage and reporting.
The company argued that the Fox News philosophy had always been to provide fair and balanced news coverage, and that it was the network’s established slogan.
It added that the channel had been the number one-rated national cable news network in the US for the past five years.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “We noted some people considered that Fox did not provide fair and balanced news coverage.
“We considered, however, that ‘fair and balanced’ would be seen as News Corporation’s opinion of the service they provided rather than an objective claim.
“We concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.”