Fox News is the clear leader in the cable television news race, far outpacing MSNBC and CNN.
Fox News also is the clear leader in legs and short skirts and it isnâ€™t getting there by accident. Based on a biography of Roger Ailes, who founded and runs the network, the orders apparently come down from the top: short skirts, lots of leg!
Is the Fox dominance in the ratings a coincidence? I report. You decide.
The other day I was channel surfing and came upon a program called "Outnumbered" on the Fox News channel. The gig for the show is that four women sit on couches while one guy sits in the middle and they gab about the news or popular culture or almost anything that comes to mind.
Picture this: four really good looking women, all in different colored simple dresses. All of them with their legs crossed and high heels dangling. And showing lots of leg. I mean lots of leg. In most cases we are talking mid-thigh.
Now I wasnâ€™t particularly bothered. I am proud to say Iâ€™m a leg man. Give me a well-turned ankle and Iâ€™m intrigued. Always have been.
The next morning I was watching "Good Morning America" and they have a new set, with a glass table. There was anchor Lara Spencer, sitting next to Robin Roberts with her legs crossed, a short skirt and showing lots of thigh through the top of that glass table. Robin was wearing pants.
I began to pay attention. Martha MacCallum on Fox, Kate Bolduan on CNN, Robin Meade on HLN. Katie Couric, for Godâ€™s sake. Everywhere I turned, it was like everybody is trying to keep up with Fox, while Fox seems determined to maintain its lead.
Gabriel Sherman recently wrote a very respected biography of Ailes and here areÂ several excerpts on the subject:
"The topic of the dress code and makeup of Fox News' female personalities has long been the subject of scrutiny among writers. Fox News host Gretchen Carlson recently admitted that "pants were not allowed on Fox & Friends."
An anecdote of Ailes regarding former Fox News reporter Kiran Chetry:
"Anchor Bob Sellers remembered Ailes once calling the control booth. 'I was doing the weekend show with Kiran Chetry. He called up and said, 'Move that damn laptop, I can't see her legs!'"
Sherman reports that Ailes "had admiration for [former Fox host Catherine Crier's] legs" and was livid when she appeared on-air wearing pants:
"He had admiration for her legs," a senior executive said. In one meeting, Ailes barked, "Tell Catherine I did not spend x-number of dollars on a glass desk for her to wear pant suits."
The strategy seems to be working for the ultra-conservative Fox. The network has long been a mouthpiece for the Republican party and the Ailes-fueled right-wing fascination with exposed shapely legs may also help explain how we got Sarah Palin, who has nice legs, and not much else.
MSNBC is the mouthpiece for the Democratic party, but all of their female hosts sit behind a desk. Where the heck are the consultants on this one?
I understand the mantra that sex sells. And it clearly sells for Fox. I donâ€™t think we have reached NSFW yet, but it may well come once we start to see the legs of Wolf Blitzer or Bill Oâ€™Reilly.
Letâ€™s hope that day is a long, long way away.
ED Hill was one lady who did buck the trend at Fox. Her legs were the stuff of legend with her legions of male admirers, but she infuriated them about ten years ago when she went through a protracted phase of encasing them in pants virtually every day. One can't help but wonder whether this was a factor in FNC's decision not to renew her contract..
Julie Banderas was another committed pants wearer when she anchored the Fox Report some years back. Then she was abruptly removed from the anchor slot and assigned to reporting duties back for reasons that were never entirely clear. Lo and behold she has recently reappeared back as Fox Report anchor but her pants have not. Go figure.
Martha MacCallum is another Fox lady who used to regularly wear pants but now seems to assiduously adhere to the the skirts and dresses culture. In fact the only lady who does regularly wear pants in the Fox studio these days in Megyn Kelly, albeit infrequently (once or twice a month if that) and it doesn't seem to have halted her meteoric and much deserved climb through the organization.
Laying my cards on the table I really don't have a problem with either Fox politics or their very transparent policy when it comes to skirts, dresses heels and shapely legs. In fact I rather enjoy the fact that the legions of Fox ladies who never, ever wear pants in the FNC Studio - Ainsley Earhart, Jenna Lee, Andrea Tantaros, Jedidiah Billa, Juliet Huddy, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jo Nousochousky, Cheryl Casone, Heather Childers, Lori Rothman, Harris Faulkner, Sandra Smith, Heather Nauert, Shannon Bream, Molly Line, Patti Ann Browne and yes Gretchen Carlson to name but a few - drive the feminists wild with rage. And being primarily conservative women, I suspect that the ladies themselves rather enjoy tweaking the feminists' tail by dressing in a way that flatters and expresses their femininity, in defiance of the prevailing Maoist/feminist PC notion that a woman has to dress in a dull boring pant suit in order to be taken seriously in her career. Moreover, lets face it, far from being male chauvinist stooges these women are great role models of female success - very intelligent, highly educated, beautiful and well remunerated. Good luck to them and kudos to Fox for showcasing their talents in every sense of the word.
Hahahahahahhaha. *gasp* Hahahahahhahahahhahaahahaha.
That's right, Dave. Nobody is watching FoxNews for their content... it's for the legs. Hahahahahhahahahhahhahhaha. "Conservative leaning news and principles can't possibly be popular... what can we pin their success on? How about skirts?" Hahahahhahahhahahahhahaha.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published May 4, 2017
There are many people in Milwaukee who lead very public lives. One of them, surely, is David Stearns, the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. We sat down with him to see what makes him tick.
Published May 2, 2017
With a May 8 deadline looming, the war of words over a proposed strip club Downtown is escalating. A coalition of powerful business interests remain opposed, with the mayor and members of the Common Council on the other side, using Minneapolis as an example.
Published April 30, 2017
Let us all agree about what Junie B. Jones is not. She is not a crook. She is not a nutball. She is not in love with Handsome Warren. What she is, though, is the center of a wonderfully funny story, "Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook."
Published April 29, 2017
Theater can make you feel a lot of things, most of them wondrous, but on rare occasion it can make me feel like a dummy. And that's what I felt like after seeing "Jane Eyre," the final show of the season at The Rep, which opened Friday night.
Published April 27, 2017
It's impossible to stop thinking about the production of "Carnival" currently being staged at In Tandem Theatre, which I reviewed on opening night last week and is a fascinating example of what can happen when you stretch yourself and dream big dreams.
Published April 25, 2017
Start with a girl, beautiful and rich. Then add in her uncle and guardian who wants to marry her so he can get the money and toss in a high-born stranger who also wants the girl's hand in marriage. What you have is Florentine's "Barber of Seville."
Published April 22, 2017
For 15 years, under the guidance of art therapist Lori Vance, ExYoMKE has gone one-on-one with some of the most disaffected children in Milwaukee, children of all races and genders, and tried to help them see the world through the eyes of an artist.
Published April 22, 2017
One of the most wonderful evenings at a theater is when the show starts on a high note and just keeps getting better and better until you get to an ending where your heart is lying on the floor and your eyes are clouded with tears. That's "Carnival."
Published April 21, 2017
"The Fantasticks" is a simple little musical, the longest running in history, about a boy and a girl and being in love. The problem in the Off the Wall Theatre production is that the boy can't hold up his end of the deal, and the whole production suffers.
Published April 20, 2017
When I'm moved, I write, and fortunately, with OnMilwaukee, I have a place for that writing. The series of Uber tales from the road have run intermittently, but this story, more than anything else, proved that words and social media have the power to spark action, to make a real difference.