may be prickly but Franken sure is cuddly
scored some press passes for the much discussed Fox News
Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism Tuesday night.
Eric Alterman (What Liberal Media?), Arianna Huffington
(Fanatics and Fools), John Nichols (Our Media, Not Theirs),
Nicholas Lemann (dean of the Columbia University School
of Journalism) and Paul Starr began the night with a panel
discussing the state of the media. Arianna was funny as
hell, bitch-slapping the press-filled room by saying that
journalists, across the board, needed a "spine transplant."
Lemann sounded like a big pussy, claiming that it's too
tough to get networks and news media to agree to do serious
new stories. That's the last thing we need to hear from
a dean of journalism. He should be rallying the integrity
troops, not throwing in the towel.
The night began with a bizarre warning from the fire marshal
that we should be respectful and contain our emotion. Al
Franken, who was in attendance, hilariously ignored the
advice by screaming out "fucking idiots" a few
minutes later when a joke was made about network lawyers
being in attendance in the audience. (His radio show on
Air America is finally getting its stridecheck it
out if you were initially turned off, as I was. He's fatter
in person than I'd imagined. Cuddly. I wanted to spoon him.)
As per the documentary in case you've missed out
on the press about it it may or may not see official
release. The director, Robert Greenwald, fears he'll get
sued by Fox since it mainly consists of Fox footage, all
of which was used without permission. MoveOn is sponsoring
a series of house parties for viewings: http://action.moveon.org/outfoxed.
The most damning cases of bias uncovered by Greenwald involves
leaked memos from Fox officials telling journalists and
reporters how to discuss issues on air. Here are a couple
1. The pictures from Abu Graeb [sic] prison are disturbing.
They have rightly provoked outrage. Today we have a pictureaired
on Al Arabiyaof an American hostage being held with
a scarf over his eyes, clearly against his will. Who's outraged
on his behalf? It is important that we keep the Abu Graeb
[sic] situation in perspective.
2. As is often the case, the real news is [sic] Iraq
is being obscured by temporary tragedy. The creation of
a defense ministry, which will be run by Iraqis, is a major
step forward in the country's redevelopment. Let's look
at that, as well as the deaths of a US soldier in a roadside
Murdoch's bizarre obsession with Ronald Reagan is discussed
to hilarious effect and a montage with O'Reilly telling
dozens of people to shut-up on-air is revealing and hilarious.
Bush's presidency first being announced by his cousin on
Fox is discussed in greater detail than it was in Fahrenheit
9/11 and is one of the film's strongest sections.
To its detriment, the ethics of other networks and news
organizations is never broached and many of the clips that
are used to prove Fox's conservative bias are taken out
of context. The emotional plea for media reform at the end
of the movie, scored to Clapton's "Layla," was
horribly cheesy. Nevertheless, this is a movie that needs
to be seen before Fox has it sealed away as evidence in
their inevitable Fair Use trial.
The reception afterward was ghetto and cramped. So I left.