Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is mad. As the owner of Fox News Network, Murdoch has spent a lot of time and money molding and advertising a station he calls Fair and Balanced. He doesn’t just call Fox fair and balanced, that’s their on-air slogan.

So why is Murdoch mad? Ask producer-director Robert Greenwald, whose eye-opening, infuriating documentary Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism has caught the conservative mogul in a lie. Fair and balanced? Only someone on a morphine drip would make that claim, only to refute it after the medication wore off.

Unlike Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, Outfoxed isn’t currently playing in a theater near you. It is only available on DVD. It retails for $9.95, but anyone with an interest in how the media controls our news will find this expose not only fascinating, but frequently funny and often frightening.

As someone who gets their news from the local papers and the evening news, I seldom click over to the cable news networks. I didn’t realize the Fox News Network was the official news network of the Republican Party. They don’t say that in their ads. They do say Fair and Balanced, but after watching fifteen minutes of Bill O’Reilly, it became immediately clear that Fox News Network wasn’t fair, it was far from balanced.

I abhor bullies, especially those who pretend to be fair and balanced, using their pulpit to destroy their enemies. Religion has been doing it for years, but after watching Outfoxed, the parallels become convincingly real. In the documentary, Murdoch sees himself as something of a God, someone so supreme that he can say and do things that are not only questionable, but blatantly wrong, and demand his subjects follow suit.

Greenwald does an excellent job of showing Murdoch’s pit bulls jump through his hoops, obeying internal memos as if they were the word of God, and repeating catchphrases ad nauseam believing they’re being clever instead of insipid and boorish. By stitching together these moments, Greenwald is really the clever one. How can you not laugh when a dozen people say exactly the same thing?

Murdoch and Fox New Network may be at the center of Greenwald’s target, but he takes aim at all corporate news outlets, whose desires to be the biggest have limited our legitimate news sources. Greenwald effectively backs his argument with former Fox employees, political pundits, and media watchdogs. Some may have an axe to grind, but after watching O’Reilly tear into the son of a World Trade Center victim, you know where you want to put that axe.


Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism

A documentary by Robert Greenwald. 75 Minuted. Not Rated.

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