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FOX Friends discuss "24" in context of Clinton remarks, but no mention of Keifer Sutherland's legal problems

Reported by Chrish - October 1, 2007 -

I only mention this because FOX has over-covered so many other celebrity issues - does the name Paris Hilton ring a bell? - that the absence of coverage is all the more glaring. Kiefer Sutherland, a.k.a. Jack Bauer, was arrested last week for a DUI and faces possible jail time because he was in violation of probation he's serving on an earlier DUI. This was mentioned on a FOX morning show last week when it first happened, but there has been no typical FOX-driven media diversion, because "24" is a wildly popular FOX TV program and they protect their own, from a corporate point of view.

Gretchen Carlson opened the segment saying that because she was on vacation last week (in Europe), she missed something about her favorite show: President Clinton said something about Jack Bauer. Well finally, I thought, they're going to be fair and balanced in their celebrity-hounding. No, it was actually a segment regarding a disagreement between the former and future Presidents Clinton (just teasing) (maybe) about US torture policy - more on that later.

Just for the record, though, FOXNews.com is pulling the same ploy with Sutherland's arrest as they are with Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" comment. It would appear to the casual viewer that the FOX website has printed 7 stories about the actor's arrest, giving some parity to the coverage of the aforementioned heiress or actress Lindsey Lohan's troubles. Actually, there are only 2 stories, both AP, one repeated twice with different headlines and the other reprinted, in entirety, under http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Sep29/0,4670,PeopleSutherlandArrested,00.htmlhttp://www.foxnews.com/wires/2007Sep29/0,4670,PeopleSutherlandArrested,00.html different links. (The seventh link goes to a gossip column with a brief mention.)

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Now I don't judge Sutherland's personal problems any more than I do Hilton's and I'm not endorsing a media jihad against Sutherland to be "fair" or "balanced." It's just another example of the "gatekeeping" that goes on at FOX (and throughout the corporate media), the selection of which stories get how much coverage. FOX's coverage of this could lead to disapproval of one of their biggest stars, and that could adversely affect their bottom line, so...minimal coverage.