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More Disinformation from the Right, This Time About News Hounds

Reported by Melanie - May 8, 2005

Byron York, a conservative writer and the author of a new book titled, The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President--and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time, was interviewed by Clarence Page on the C-Span2 program, "After Words" today. York devoted many pages in his book to the making of the film Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, and to our work on it. During the C-Span2 interview, York talked about we News Hounds, and about Outfoxed, and I want to address some of his spin.

First, York said Robert Greenwald, the Producer/Director of Outfoxed, "hired" the eight of us (we were called "media monitors") to monitor Fox for the film. York is wrong. We were not "hired." We were recruited from the ranks of MoveOn.org and all the work we did on Outfoxed was voluntary. We did not receive any pay. Additionally, in the beginning, there were approximately 30 monitors, but we were the only ones who could stand to monitor for the duration.

Second, one of the main points York makes in his effort to discredit Outfoxed is to say that Greenwald decided, in advance, what he wanted the message of Outfoxed to be. York said Greenwald assigned categories to the "media monitors," and that we watched for clips which would support his message. Not so. Yes, we were initially given broad categories to look for but as the weeks and months passed, and as we noticed obvious patterns to Fox's broadcast style and saw clear messages being delivered, we nearly doubled the list of categories. Much of what we documented came to us as a result of watching, not as a result of being told what to watch for.

Third, York said 100,000 copies of Outfoxed have been sold. Not even close. Outfoxed is out in both VHS and DVD, and DVD sales alone top 200,000.

Fourth, York said the film was sold on Alternet.org and Buzzflash. True, but it was also (and still is) sold on Amazon.com. After its July, 2004 debut, Outfoxed topped Amazon's sales chart for roughly ten days, and it remained near the top for several weeks thereafter.

And finally, I can't tell you, or Byron York and all his conservative friends, how honored I am to be a part of the "vast left wing conspiracy."

(For more information, here is Judy's review of York's book, and here are some of Ellen's thoughts. Ellen was the only News Hound who agreed to be interviewed by York for his book. For more information on our work on Outfoxed, please see our manifesto.)

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