From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Kurtz: "it's neither fair nor balanced"

July 18, 2004 12:26 PM

Howard Kurtz covered Outfoxed on CNN's Reliable Sources this morning: "it's neither fair nor balanced."

7/18/04, CNN Reliable Sources

KURTZ: Coming up, the new film that takes on Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and the gang at Fox News.


KURTZ: You can't see it in any movie theater, but a new DVD called "Outfoxed" is generating plenty of media buzz.


KURTZ (voice-over): Filmmaker Robert Greenwald, a big fan of Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 911" uses unauthorized Fox News footage to slam the network as pro-Republican and pro-Bush. "Outfoxed" trots out liberal commentators, from Al Franken to Walter Cronkite, and some former employees to depict Fox as shilling for the GOP. And the movie has its moments.

There was this embarrassing exchange when correspondent Carl Cameron sat down to interview George W. Bush in 2000.

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: My wife has been hanging out with your sister.


CAMERON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has been all over the state campaigning...

KURTZ: Cameron told me that despite his comments, his wife never actually worked for the Bush campaign.

Then there's Bill O'Reilly, seen in some heated exchanges with guests.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": You shut up about sex (ph). Shut up. Why don't you just shut up?

KURTZ: The movie digs up some memos to the staff from Senior Vice President John Moody, such as this message last April on Iraq coverage -- "Do not fall into the easy trap of mourning the loss of U.S. lives and asking out loud, why are we there?"

But it ignores other memos, in which Moody, for example, says speeches by Bush and John Kerry should be given equal time.

And that's the problem with "Outfoxed." In skewering Rupert Murdoch's network, it's neither fair nor balanced.

The filmmaker says there's a good reason.

ROBERT GREENWALD, PRODUCER, "OUTFOXED": I absolutely never called Fox News and I have two words. Al Franken. They sued to stop him. They sued to stop the book. They're litigious.

KURTZ: But the film makes it looks like Fox never has liberal guests, which isn't true. Worse, there's some misleading editing, such as this snippet involving an anchor seeming to blast the book by former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An appalling act of profiteering.

KURTZ: But that wasn't the anchor's opinion. He was actually quoting Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Fox responded to the film with a challenge to other news outlets. Quote, "If they will put out 100 percent of their editorial directions and internal memos, Fox News Channel will publish 100 percent of our editorial directions and internal memos, and let the public decide who is fair."


KURTZ: There's plenty to criticize at any news organization, and liberals may love this movie, but it would have been stronger if it had laid off the editing tricks and included some contrary voices.

More from the archive in Media, Outfoxed.

Kurtz: "it's neither fair nor balanced" (07.18.2004)

Next Entry: Marine: "I'm not a sharpshooter!" (07.18.2004)
Previous Entry: Robert's LA Times interview (07.18.2004)

Read the 3 comments.

Chuck Stuart:

I usually admore Howard Kurz - too bad he was so intent on the trees that he missed the forest.

Mon Jul 19 2004 3:26 PM

Paul Stone:

"Cameron told me that despite his comments, his wife never actually worked for the Bush campaign."

Any you believed him, Howard, without doing any additional detective work?!

"But it ignores other memos, in which Moody, for example, says speeches by Bush and John Kerry should be given equal time."

Let's hold "Outfoxed" to a higher standard than Fox News?! What?!

"But the film makes it looks like Fox never has liberal guests"

That's not true. It makes it look like Fox News invites far fewer liberals guests than conservatives, and that the liberals they do invite are weak representatives of the liberal gene pool. They avoid inviting guests who can potentially embarrass them on their own network.

Howard Kurz just proves that nobody wants to challenge Murdoch, because they know that they may someday have to work for him.

Tue Jul 20 2004 12:44 PM


hi, i m an avid follower of american politics and media...and its interesting to see that u guys need such movies to open ur eyes to the right sided media campaign in USA media which was so evident to all of us outside usa and uk. But its a commendable effort and the one which makes us believe that american democracy is still very much alive and kicking and is not under full control of bush and large coorporations (who stole the last election froma well deserved winner..Al Gore). Everyone knew there were no weapons of mass destruction..for GOD's sake millions of iraqi children died due to sanctions imposed on them for 13 can they have any WMDs...but its all about oil...and control...
i hope the elections are fairer this time and that if bush doesnt postpone them by arranging a millitant strike just in case his ratings come down...
down with the Bush....
(not that i m a fan of kerry)
but he is lesser of the two evils....

Thu Jul 22 2004 5:49 AM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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