Outfoxed



Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism is a 2004 documentary by Robert Greenwald that argues that the Fox News Channel has a right wing bias.

Outfoxed examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, have been running a "race to the bottom" in television news. This film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know.

The film explores Murdoch's burgeoning kingdom and the impact on society when a broad swath of media is controlled by one person.

Media experts, including Jeff Cohen (FAIR) Bob McChesney (Free Press), Chellie Pingree (Common Cause), Jeff Chester (Center for Digital Democracy) and David Brock (Media Matters) provide context and guidance for the story of Fox News and its effect on society.

This documentary also reveals the secrets of former Fox News producers, reporters, bookers and writers who expose what it's like to work for Fox News. These former Fox employees talk about how they were forced to push a "right-wing" point of view or risk their jobs. Some have even chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect their current livelihoods. As one employee said, "There's no sense of integrity as far as having a line that can't be crossed."

Director/Producer Robert Greenwald has produced and/or directed 53 television movies, miniseries and features. He is the director of Uncovered and the executive producer of the "Un" series - Unprecedented, Uncovered and the soon to be released Unconstitutional.

Outfoxed was researched in a unique way. Greenwald put together a team of volunteers who monitored Fox News 24 hours a day for several months, and reviewed the network for examples of the network's bias. This monitoring project is still on-going, under the name News Hounds.

The film originally had no theatrical release but, in July 2004, was released on DVD. Because of the success of the DVD, on August 5, 2004, it was released to theaters in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Over the course of the following weeks, Outfoxed was released to theaters in other cities as well. In limited theatrical release, it earned $432,577 at the box office (Washington Post, November 2, 2004). Outfoxed was mentioned in the ABC television program Boston Legal. Outfoxed has been shown on British television channel ITV4 and the Australian station ABC.

The film uses clips from Fox News broadcasts, leaked network memos and commentary from media critics and former Fox News employees to argue several points:

* Fox News management, including owner Rupert Murdoch and president Roger Ailes, both conservatives, control the network's content. The film includes leaked "issues of the day" memos telling producers which stories and issues should be covered and from what perspective and argues that the memos have a clear ideological underlining. Former employees claim that they were praised for positive coverage of conservatives and negative coverage of liberals and reproached for negative coverage of conservatives and positive coverage of liberals.

* Fox News reporters and anchors who dare to ask tough questions to a Republican or right-wing activist are given negative reprisals such as suspension (one "Outfoxed" panelist describes Fox News as "a Stalinist system").

* Fox News gives much more airtime to speeches by Republican president George W. Bush and his administration than to those by Democrats.

* Fox News hosts such as Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly purposely blur the line between news anchors and commentators.

* Fox News picks up "talking points" from Republican strategists, such as the accusation that former head of counter-terrorism and Bush critic Richard Clarke is a political opportunist and that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is a "flip-flopper," and injects them into its broadcasts.

* Fox News uses sensationalism and scare tactics to keep viewers watching and make them afraid enough to support controversial tactics of the Bush administration.

* Fox News concentrates on the positive aspects of the 2003 war in Iraq and its aftermath and downplays the negative.

* Fox News is having a negative effect on cable news and has led to the hiring of conservative commentators and talk show hosts on other networks (such as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough).

* Fox News purposely features only moderate or fainthearted liberal commentators.

* Fox News hosts such as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity try to intimidate and out-yell liberal guests such as Jeremy Glick.

Fox News claims that the status of the ex-employees were exaggerated and misrepresented. Many of the contributors and the distributor (Moveon.org) have liberal ties, raising questions as to whether the movie itself was biased.

On July 13, 2005, Fox News released a statement on their website that alleges that the film lies about the employment history of people identified as "employees". Their statement claims that two of the interviewees were never actually employed by the Fox News Channel, but in fact worked for affiliates of the company. They say that these affiliates are "separate entities from Fox News Channel" and that "there is no evidence that Fox News has any editorial oversight over any Fox affiliate".

Fox News also claimed that the status of two employees was exaggerated — one promoted from reporter to anchor, the other from "pool booker" to producer.

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post claimed that Outfoxed contains "some questionable editing" which can trick the viewer into thinking that comments quoted by a host are actually comments that the host made himself or herself, saying that scenes of news readers and commentators are intertwined, and that scenes are often short and out of context, making it difficult to determine whether a host is giving an opinion or quoting someone else. For example, Carl Cameron is shown as saying, "If you want to destroy jobs in this country, you raise taxes.", when in fact he was quoting Commerce Secretary Don Evans. Similarly, Gregg Jarrett is shown calling Richard Clarke's book Against All Enemies "An appalling act of profiteering", when Jarrett was actually quoting Bill Frist.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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