- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
‘Outfoxed’ neither fair nor balanced
“Outfoxed,” showing exclusively at the Avalon, fearlessly outs its own bias with a subtitle, “Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism.”
This act of belligerence on the part of the proprietor of Fox Television News and a prominently naturalized Republican apparently offends and alarms producer-director Robert Greenwald. He even finds a participant to recall the bleat of Peter Finch as the demented anchorman of Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network,” in order to put the right on notice that the filmmaker too is mad as a hornet and doesn’t plan to take it any more.
The presidency of George W. Bush seems to have called Mr. Greenwald to the topical-polemical documentary format. “Outfoxed” appears to be the second installment in a trilogy of similarly motivated and like-sounding harangues.
“Unprecedented” was outraged at the results of the Florida balloting in the 2000 presidential election. “Uncovered” will be outraged at the rationales for war in Iraq. All three movies depend on one-sided talking-heads advocacy augmented by excerpts from network news telecasts. Shot in digital video formats, they also circulate to a considerable extent through direct-to-video distribution outlets.
The more anti-Bush polemics you view, the likelier you are to find yourself in an argumentative echo chamber, meeting old friends from earlier titles. In this case, Rep. Bernie Sanders and professor Robert McChesney of “Orwell Turns in His Grave” recycle comments and grievances for Mr. Greenwald in “Outfoxed,” which has better novelty value when it showcases former employees of Fox News who want to tattle.
Mr. Greenwald professes to be shocked at the very idea of echo-chamber effects when commentary on the Fox network appears to be in lockstep with administration policies. Evidently, he’s oblivious when the competition displays a funny, ongoing tendency to echo Democratic Party cliches and talking points in any given campaign week.
The refusal to recognize that this partiality thrived long before Rupert Murdoch is amazing. Complaints of cronyism between political parties and news magnates are so venerable that it’s absurd to pretend you’ve just caught onto them. George Orwell, to cite a hardheaded example, used to take such biases for granted in the England of the 1930s and 1940s.
On American network television the phenomenon used to reflect a liberal-Democratic Party tilt almost exclusively. Fox had the temerity to put a different bias into the domestic mix, at a time when the established networks were finding it financially expedient to question the autonomy and profitability of their news divisions.
Mr. Murdoch had a certain timing advantage: He didn’t need to dismantle an old organization. He could create a new one that suited his politics and notion of showmanship. It’s fair to find it wanting in many respects, including impartiality if one is sincerely aggrieved on that point. But the pretense that only a conservative or Republican bias warrants opposition and reform is absurdly hollow.
Fox seems to have been generous to Mr. Greenwald with examples of its miscreancy. Maybe even crazy like a fox. His compilation would be acutely short of documentary diversion without the segments that, for example, dwell on Bill O’Reilly’s belligerence; string together repetitions of the blah journalistic phrase “some people say”; and showcase mockery of Sen. John Kerry as a “flip-flopper.”
I don’t think Mr. Greenwald realizes that his accumulation of Fox “moments” also serves as a rollicking trailer for the network, especially among people who regard it as a perversely provocative fixture of the news scene rather than the source of truth everlasting.
Admittedly, Fox newscasters are as likely to be chuckleheads and stuffed shirts as their counterparts elsewhere. The somewhat bewildering thing about a crusader who purports to be alarmed by their shortcomings is that he declines to notice all those similar, recurrent shortcomings on his own side of the political fence. You’ll even find them in many of the people recruited to corroborate each other in “Outfoxed.”
By Brahma Chellaney
Beijing's creeping aggression signals a challenge to U.S. presence in the Asian Pacific
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Tech companies call for an end to NSA online snooping
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return; RG3 might be benched
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Happiness is attainable. Morning to night. I love to teach, deal with folks that have an issue and really wish to tackle it and write.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow