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Is bias-free news coverage coming back into vogue?

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Reports that Fox chairman and chief executive officer Roger Ailes is seeking a "course correction" at Fox News Channel have appeared in media outlets such as Newsweek, New York magazine, and a recent post on PolitiFact.com. The cable channel did not respond to multiple Monitor e-mail, voice mail, and pager requests for comment, but in the past its representatives rejected suggestions that Fox news broadcasts are anything but impartial and nonpartisan.

Fox's commentators across the political spectrum, however, say on-air talent is being directed to stop talking over guests and to marshal facts to defend their positions. "There have been attempts to change the tone and factual content of the Fox shows," says journalism professor Mark Tatge of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., who has appeared many times on Fox programs as an unpaid guest. Those orders "have come directly from the producers," he says. Mr. Tatge believes Fox News Channel still showcases "a very one-sided debate where one side is given more favorable advantage, and they don't really want to allow for two sides to every argument." But, he acknowledges, there is "a slight move on the meter."

The departure from the channel last year of archconservative Glenn Beck is also evidence that Fox is trying to distance itself from extreme political rhetoric, according to various news reports.

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