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

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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.

Rove also appears to have a close connection to Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. In a recent article on Palin’s departure from Fox, Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine writes that the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee was a “polarizing presence” and presented Mr. Ailes with a management challenge.   

“Her tea party message attracted the ire of establishment poobahs like Karl Rove,” writes Mr. Sherman. “Before the 2010 midterms, Rove complained to Ailes that Palin was damaging the GOP brand and getting too much airtime.”

And what about Morris’s future? Perhaps he will share that information on CNN Wednesday, when he appears on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” 

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