Fair and Balanced? Culture Jam Presents Outfoxed

SPARC (Student Political Awareness and Responsibility Coalition) continued its Culture Jam film series this week with Robert Greenwald’s Outfoxed. The documentary focuses on the Fox cable news channel, which is owned by known Bush supporter Rupert Murdoch.

The film uses interviews by former Fox news employees (both known and anonymous), politicians, and activists. Through the interviews and video clips from the channel, the documentary exposes the conservative bias.

In 1985, Murdoch bought Washington D.C. channel WTTG. Shortly following his purchase, changes began happening in the station’s content. Major stories of the time (like AIDS) were discouraged, instead making room for features on one of Murdoch’s favorite politicians, Ronald Reagan.

As the channel developed over the years, the focus on presenting as former Fox news anchor Jon Du Pre said, “a proponent of a point-of-view.”

Many of the former workers- including on-air talent, producers and contributors- eagerly spoke about how they were forced to work right-wing themes into their broadcasts. Memos were sent to all with talking points for the day’s news. For example, in reference to war footage, employees were told to refer to snipers as “sharpshooters,” for its less negative connotation.

The interviews were very effective at getting the films point across. But it’s obvious to whom the film caters to. When Vermont progressive representative Bernie Sander’s showed up on screen there was scattered applause and shouts of enthusiasm.

One interviewee, Jeremy Glick, lost his father in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Because Glick had signed an anti-war petition, Bill O’Reilly asked him onto his program. During the interview O’Reilly repeatedly told Glick to “Shut Up” as he was attempting to explain his stand. This was a theme throughout; there was even a montage dedicated to clips of O’Reilly telling various guests to “Shut Up.”

The film explicates the dangers of corporate owned media again and again. Murdoch’s audience, among his various enterprises is 4.7 billion people (3/4 of the population). Generally, the goal of reporting is to bring the facts to the people in an objective manner. When the owner of the outlet is so bent on pushing his own ideology, it is difficult to consider it credible.

Next week’s film is Venezuela Bolivariana: People and the Struggle in the Fourth World War, playing Tuesday the 28th in the CC Theater at 8pm.