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Foot in Mouth Disease

Reported by Judy - July 19, 2004 -

As Fox News prepares to defend itself against a complaint alleging false advertising, the news channel is airing comments admitting that the station is a Republican news channel.

The complaint filed today with the Federal Trade Commission by moveon.org alleges that Fox News is deceiving viewers when it uses the slogan "fair and balanced," while presenting a news product that is one-sided and slanted toward Republican views.

The network's defense should be interesting, given the discussion on Fox News Watch on Saturday (July 17) regarding the movie Outfoxed produced by Robert Greenwald. Using clips from Fox News programs, Greenwald documents ways in which the network twists and distorts the news to favor the Bush White House.

In his comments on the film Saturday, panelist Neal Gabler, a media critic and author, says that it doesn't tell people anything they don't already know about Fox. " ... I mean, look, to say that this network promotes the Republican view, not the conservative view, but the Republican view is like saying that the pope is Catholic. It's self-evident." Gabler went on to say that the Fox morning show, Fox and Friends, might as well be titled "Fox and Bush Friends," and that the host of Fox's Sunday morning political show, Brit Hume, is a "Republican spinmeister. It's undeniable that this is a Republican-oriented network, and designed for Republicans who watch it."

No one disagreed with Gabler. Cal Thomas admitted that the network looks "conservative" but said it was because other networks "tilt to the left." In fact, another panelist and Fox News contributor Jane Hall, took Gabler's point even farther. Not only is the network dominated by Republican hosts, those hosts treat Democrats unfairly when they do allow another viewpoint to be presented. In Hall's words, " ... if you look at some of the talk shows, the conservative hosts are much better at demonizing the Democrats than the liberal hosts of those shows."

Fox News lawyers will be working overtime trying to explain away Gabler's and Hall's statements when the FTC hears the complaint.