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Why Dick Morris is out at Fox, but Karl Rove survives

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Rove originally made his name as the architect of George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns. Morris gained fame as an adviser to President Clinton, most notably schooling him on the art of political “triangulation” after the Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994. But Morris hasn’t had a big second act like Rove’s.

Mr. Jones also sees in Fox’s personnel decisions – including, too, the decision to drop Sarah Palin – an effort by the network to update its brand.

“It’s time for fresh faces,” Jones says, noting a decline in Fox’s ratings among a key demographic.  

One figure who has moved to Fox (from CNN) is Erick Erickson, a 30-something conservative blogger at RedState.com. And adding a jolt of ideological diversity to Fox is left-wing former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio.

Fox is still the king of cable news – nine of the top 10 programs in January were on Fox – but, as rival network MSNBC points out, Fox hit a 12-year low with the 25-to-54 age group in prime time last month.

Another aspect of Fox’s recent moves may be ideological. In keeping Rove but parting company with Morris and former Governor Palin, Fox seems to be leaning toward the Republican establishment and away from the tea party. Rove recently started a new super political action committee called the Conservative Victory Project, which aims to help electable candidates win Republican primaries. In the last two cycles, tea party-backed candidates have cost the Republicans several Senate seats.

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