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Fox fair and balanced

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Fox fair and balanced; They Can Have It. They Deserve It.

by Rob Kall

This is the fourth in an occasional series of articles suggesting new, politically useful  words and phrases. Previous articles are listed at the end of this one.

There are days when you can watch  the lies on the news, the blatant propaganda being passed along, without thought, without journalistic integrity, direct from the administration media manipulators through  the local dailies, through the local news rooms, national network news, through cable news. It flows untouched by questions, by analysis, by curiosity. It is pure propaganda and it is a warning sign, like wilted leaves, that something is dying in America.

We expect it from Fox News, in particular, which gives a new meaning to the phrase "fair and balanced." As a matter of fact, we should coin a new phrase-- "Fox fair and balanced"--  to mean:  partisan, unfair, skewed, distorted, dishonest, journalistically corrupt, propagandistic, corrupt. You get the idea. I've been borrowing the phrase Greg Palast uses-- Foxified-- to describe the kind of news organization that is "Fox fair and balanced."

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But, since it has become totally clear to those not on the far right, that Fox news is, as I've defined it, "Fox fair and balanced," why not begin using the phrase to describe any media that shames the word journalism?

When all the networks report that George Bush has assured us that no terrorism was involved in the worst blackout in history, and they fail to ask how he knows this, that's what you call "Fox fair and balanced" reporting.

When all the networks report that George W. Bush says he's been for upgrading the grid, without going back and digging up the record that shows that he is lying, that he actually opposed funding of upgrades since he became president, that's what you call "Fox fair and balanced" reporting.

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When Bill O'Reilly opens has nasty, partisan,  false claiming mouth, that's what you call "Fox fair and balanced" reporting. As far as the fa;se claiming, I am referring to his claims that he won the most coveted journalism award when it was some other award his program won. Al Franken called him on it in a public forum and made O'Reilly look like the creepy, deceiving, horse's ass he really is. You can see the interaction on the internet. It's right here:

Video of Al Franken Calling Bill O'Reilly on His Lies. Plus A Talk by Molly Ivins

But now, Bill O'Reilly is charging that Franken was ""shrill and unstable'' during that episode. Watch the episode. See for yourself. Franken was smart... smarter than big Bill, who, as the Chicago Sun Times  described it, "was bested in a snarlfest."

Oh, by the way, when I was in the third grade, I won the Pulitzer prize for my writing. Oh, wait a minute. It was a gold star. Ahhh... one award, another award... what's the difference? That's basically the excuse O'Reilly gave. He mixed up awards. I think he's smart enough to know the difference. I think it was not a mistake. I think he was applying the "Fox fair and balanced" approach to his claims.

The problem is, O'Reilly is in the habit of running a "Fox fair and balanced" show, which means he doesn't let the whole story be told, and he controls what facts and lies are told. At this public forum, O'Reilly was not in CONTROL. He was a passive participant and he was unable to bully the other party, in this case, Al Franken. In this rare set of circumstances, it was easy, a piece of cake, for Franken to cream big Bill. Of course, Bill tried to shut Franken up, like he, like most right wing talk show "Fox fair and balanced" hosts are apt to do when someone says  a truth that they don't like or agree with. But this was not Fox News, and O'Reilly was not able to shut Franken up. So now, showing total lack of spine, O'Reilly and his network are going after Franken with litigation.

The good news is that Al Franken's book is now number one on's order list. Still, I hope that Franken, or his publisher counter-sues Fox for punitive damages for inappropriate use of litigation.

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Meanwhile, there are many of us who are having fun with this new idea of  "Fox fair and balanced" news. I imagine you could also use the term if someone cheats at sports, or doesn't play fair, or if you are negotiating and the offer is unreasonable. Try it out. Is it a "Fox fair and balanced" offer, or portrayal of a situation? If a teacher hears one side of a story from two kids caught fighting, is the one kid's excuse "Fox fair and balanced?"

The bottom line is that Fox has taken the phrase "fair and balanced"  and made it a joke, a laughing-stock, and turned it from a positive description into a despicable one. If you are reading this, then by all means, please do respect the "trademark" ownership by Fox. But a trademark is as good as its reputation. Among right wingers who like to watch TV news with blinders on, the Fox trademark may have a value. But for people who want to really see and hear the whole story, "Fox fair and balanced"  news is a pathetic joke-- a travesty of journalism that will, perhaps take it's place in history as an embarrassing sidestep along a path that was quickly identified as one that could only lead to a divided nation, fascism, and a media that was untrusted and reviled by the masses, as they gradually realized what a fraud it was.

previous articles in this series include:

"Fox Fair and Balanced;" They Can Have It. They Deserve It. Our Stories and Heroes Will Save Us Memes to Beat Bush With: BushConomics and Bush Victories

Rob Kall  is publisher of progressive news and opinion website and organizer of cutting edge meetings that bring together world leaders, such as the Winter Brain Meeting and the StoryCon Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story. He is also an avid collector of dictionaries and related reference works, with his 500 piece collection including books dating back to the 1500's. His offers over 1000 choice quotations. This article is copyright by Rob Kall, but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached

Other writings of Rob Kall


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