We interrupt our regularly scheduled Concordian article to bring you some truly shocking news. News that could absolutely rock the foundation of your puny existence. News that could distort your opinion of reality and force you to become cynical of all purveyors of information. Are you ready for it? Fox News is biased. I’ll give you a minute to regain your breath.
Wait, you already knew that? Hm, then I suppose that I did not need to watch Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism after all.
That’s precisely where Robert Greenwald’s scathing documentary finds itself. Not unlike a documentary chronicling the sky being blue, or water being wet, this documentary reaches and firmly grasps the obvious, but makes no effort to dig deeper. While it attempts to scare us with standard rhetoric in the liberal dogma such as ‘media concentration will make everything 1984-ish,’ and ‘Bush and his supporters are evil,’ in no way does it pick apart the cable news channel as intelligently as I would have hoped.
Featuring a slew of former Fox News contributors who apparently must now fear for their lives, the film gives us a first class ticket into the seamy underbelly of the cable news station that has become the most watched of its ilk in the United States. Watch as Fox News gives its journalists memos on how to proceed with their stories! Oh dear, heaven forbid. Or gasp at the horror of Fox executives wanting their reports to promote a right-wing agenda! Even worse, shriek in terror at a muscular Sean Hannity pounding a series of liberal weaklings into submission with constant interruptions and childish name-calling.
What this film fails to accomplish is to show anything more than what is already apparent from watching their newscasts or opinion programs. We are treated to an aforementioned liberal weakling from FAIR give some blanket statement about Bill O’Reilly being mean, or about how Fox News isn’t really journalism. The movie is as monotone as they come, never deviating from its original statement, and instead of attempting to attack Fox and Murdoch from different angles, they simply bring in another individual to reiterate what the previous person said. Instead of bringing in another old Fox contributor, how about giving us a feel for what their morning meetings are like? Instead of having Al Franken rehash his blood feud with Bill O’Reilly, how about telling about O’Reilly’s rise to prominence? I have no idea where he came from or how he became so popular, but now that I’ve seen this movie I am under the impression that he kills puppies in his spare time.
O’Reilly takes the largest glove slap from Greenwald in this film. A montage of him telling people to shut up is shown, as well as a Jeremy Glick interview that went south. Glick’s father died on 9/11, and O’Reilly invited him essentially to yell at him for being against the Bush administration (and yell at him he did). While this was supposed to show the film-goer that O’Reilly is nothing more than a loudmouth, this segment only begs the question, “who cares what a nobody like Glick thinks?”
The film unfortunately comes down with a case of “liberal-itis” near the end, when Greenwald does his best Fox News impression to muddy the facts by grouping Fox together with Clear Channel, the FCC, GE, and other baby eating organizations. If these companies truly are a rich tapestry of evil and they are really out to get us, then why not do a movie about that? Or how about when one of your experts accuses Fox News of rigging the 2000 election you could devote more than a minute to prove it?
Even worse, the film advises us to go out and protest the network by going to the FCC. Of course the most effective form of protest would be to simply not watch, but the fact is that people who watch Fox News will not cease, and this movie is merely preaching to the choir.
Outfoxed is an apt title for Greenwald’s methods. Greenwald uses opinion and fear, the tools he accuses Fox of using with malevolence, in order to decry them. Isn’t propaganda great?
We now bring you back to your regularly scheduled Concordian article.