Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fox Girds for Assault on Clooney and Film

On Joe's Team
Neo-nanny Brent Bozell III rushes in to rewrite the legacy of Sen. Joseph McCarthy in his latest polemic from the pulpit of Media Research Center.

A message of liberal bias "emanates from the new George Clooney movie, Good Night, and Good Luck," Bozell writes about the film, which fĂȘtes Murrow's journalistic stand against McCarthy's anti-communist witch hunt. "Murrow threw every media dirty trick into [an] attack against the left's hate object, Sen. Joseph McCarthy."

Bozell joins a conservative chorus in defense of the late Senator from Wisconsin — a lineup that includes Allan H. Ryskind, Ann Coulter and Tom Snyder — who have called Murrow’s journalism the worst form of “liberal advocacy” and Clooney's anti-McCarthy film a Hollywood crusade against an upstanding, red-blooded American.

Fox Piles On

But these are mere minnows in the media mainstream. The film is taking heat from a larger outlet of right indignation. Earlier this month, Fox News Channel’s John Gibson teamed up on Big Story with author Reese Schoenfeld to criticize Good Night, and Good Luck, question Murrow’s journalism, and paint Clooney as a hypocrite. Earlier in the week, Brit Hume's Special Report posed the question, "Do Hollywood Liberals Hurt Candidates?" and went on to deride Clooney for being too active in politics.

It doesn’t end there. A source at Fox News headquarters in New York told MediaCitizen that producers for The O’Reilly Factor are digging for dirt to prepare an upcoming segment in which host Bill O’Reilly — a long-time Clooney nemesis — will heap scorn upon actor and film.

O'Reilly has tried to keep his distance thus far, telling reporters in early October that "Clooney's pathetic attempts to bait me into a controversy in order to bring attention to his movie are simply cheap." Those more familiar with O’Reilly’s hush-money hi-jinks might sense the irony in this stake to higher moral ground. Indications from within his own shop are that Bill won't stay silent for much longer.

Repeat after me . . .
McCarthy Redux

(O'Reilly's wild accusations and brow beating of guests recall McCarthy's own coercive tactics as head of the Senate investigations subcommittee, which he deployed against those that didn't measure up to his paranoid delusions.)

Clooney told Salon.com last month that politicized television like O'Reilly's Fox News leaves viewers with a skewed perception of the truth. “You know, if you watch Fox News — my aunt and uncle are conservative, and if you had a conversation with them before the war, Saddam Hussein was the reason for 9/11, was attached to al-Qaida, all of those kinds of things,” Clooney said.

While Clooney offers a careful critique of Fox's news slant, his film draws a more damning parallel between the cowed media of the McCarthy era and the Fox style of journalism that’s practiced today – which was recently manifest in mainsteram media's failure to challenge this administration's rationale for the war in Iraq.

Murdoch Invades Your Hometown

Fox's "news entertainers" routinely attempt to frame the national agenda with a relentless drumbeat of right-wing soundbytes. Clooney and his film are just one of many targets in Fox's grand media scheme to smear dissenters and protect the conservative status quo in American politics.

Thus far, their cable news network has served this end well. What’s especially worrisome, however, is Fox News Channel's plans to spread its own brand of "advocacy jourmalism" from cable to broadcast television stations across the country.

As MediaCitizen reported earlier this week, former GOP operative Roger Ailes, the architect behind Fox News Channel's rightward tilt, is now remaking 35 local television stations — reaching into nearly 40 percent of America’s households — in the image of his right-wing cable network. Ailes plans to replace local news on News Corp. stations in dozens of domestic markets with the blinkered infotainment that’s become a hallmark of O’Reilly and his fellow bloviators at Fox News Channel.

Media consolidation made Fox’s takeover of local news possible. News Corp. owns both a Fox and a UPN affiliate in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — the country’s three biggest markets — and other duopolies in six more of the top 20 markets, including Dallas, Minneapolis and Washington.

Returning Control of Your TV Set

Bigger not better
As I write this, News Corp.'s lobbyists are schmoozing officials in Washington to further loosen regulations that prohibit one company from owning even more local news outlets. In the coming months, the Federal Communications Commission — the agency charged with regulating the number of TV stations one corporation can own — will reconsider media ownership limits.

The loosening of ownership caps would unleash a new wave of media consolidation. At the local level, we could see a single firm own the majority of media — daily newspaper, TV and radio stations, cable TV systems. Such concentration not only violates the premise of a competitive marketplace, it makes a mockery of the notion of a free press enshrined in the Constitution. The implications are clear: media conglomerates such as News Corp. would have the power to put their footprint on political discourse in a manner never seen before.

To stop the "Fox Effect" from invading more hometown news markets, Free Press has launched a national campaign, asking its more than 220,000 activists and others to tell Congress, News Corp. and local stations: “Don’t Fox with my local news.”

The downside for Clooney’s film would be a media marketplace increasingly dominated by those who would rather shutter criticism of officials and aggressive reporting in favor of the myopic flag waving that’s made Fox News notorious.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's not surprising that Brent Bozell and his ilk defend Joe McCarthy, who bore the same cloven hoof as they.

If you listen carefully, under the bleating and squealing of the right wing, you can hear the sound of jackboots on cobblestones. We know who they really admire, even more than McCarthy, don't we? The one who did such an excellent job of eliminating left-wing media types in Germany in the 1930s.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise that coulter is defending "gunner joe". She should be happy that witchhunts are not tolerated in this country. Otherwise, she would be very much at risk. As for O'reilly, let him talk. The more he says, the dumber he sounds. Anyone who takes these people seriously is mentally challenged.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, "mentally challenged" accurately describes approximately half of the American electorate, as evidenced by the results of the 2004 election.

the dissenter said...

ron silver and fred thompson among others! what did they have in common?

the dissenter said...

ron silver and fred thompson among others. what do they have in common!?!

Anonymous said...

Yes, jackboots on cobblestones is the sound they march to. They are propaganda agents for the fascist cabal that has hijacked our nation.

All decent people from all perspectives should take a serious look at the mountain of clear-cut evidence that overwhelmingly proves the scary reality that 9/11 was pure theater, a 'false flag' terror event straight out of the Nazi playbook. Respected commentators are starting to speak out, recommending people read David Ray Griffin's great book '911 Report: Omissions and Distortions,' among many good sites and books.

Not Specified said...

When I studied the cold-war frenzy in American History in college, I would have never believed we would relive such idiocy.

The Fox Bullshit Channel and the exploitation of 9/11 shows you how much things have changes since the early 90s.

Farnsworth said...

And lest we forget, Bozell is the nightmare nephew of William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review, and himself the author of a disgustingly obsequious and appallingly biased "study" of McCarthy, McCarthy and His Enemies. The book was, not coincidentally, co-authored by Bozell's own daddy, Brent Jr.
The nuts don't fall far from the tree, do they?

Anonymous said...

William F. Buckley was an America First alum, which became an embarrassment to him, as the America First crowd included Nazi symps. So, for him to gush over the "noble" Tail-gunner is no surprise. Suitable company for Bozell, Coulter and the rest of them.

Some conservatives are objecting to Coulter, by the way--they feel she makes conservatism look really bad, and that she is not a principled conservative, but an extremist hate-monger.

Think the Fox affiliates will be quick to support her against increasingly angry conservatives? Be interesting to see.

As bad as Fox NewsCorp is, the rest of mainstream meadia have a long way to go to restore the public's trust, as well.

RADdams said...

Tim,

The two side-by-side photos of the attack boys, Joe and Bill, says it all. It would make a nice billboard with the caption "Any Questions?" underneath. Love your work!

Stay tuned to "When Fascists Eat Their Own" later this week!

Anonymous said...

I worked for Bozelle in an internship position a couple of years back. I just did my job and said nothing about my political views - and I didn't know much about his and the Media Center's until I went to work for Bozelle. Bozelle did tell me, however, that his father was a speech writer for McCarthy. As they say, the apple falls not far from the tree.

spyder said...

Earlier in the week, Brit Hume's Special Report posed the question, "Do Hollywood Liberals Hurt Candidates?" and went on to deride Clooney for being too active in politics.

Well obviously Brit is only concerned w/ "liberal" sorts of celebrities. He has no such admonishments for the likes of Arnold, nor Ron Silver and Fred Thompson (who was assigned the duty of shepparding Roberts nomination among the Senators--who like celebrity butt kissing). The real damage here is in the attempts by the right to deflect the attention from McCarthy's evils (and their complicity with it) and put the spotlight on the film and Clooney. Didn't the Pentagon just silence another military blogger??

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Whazdat! said...

Glad to find another sane blogger. Mine's "whatz dat wojto?". I knew that this movie about the Murrow / McCarthy fight would take on significance. Can't wait anymore to see it.

P.S. The beauty of the Repressed Right is the non-diversity of their arguments. It makes it that much easier to counter them.

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I.Q.SMALL said...

HOW I VOTE (NOT)

I cast my vote on character
Assessment as made by
Media pundits, if with their
Rationale somewhere laid by--

Rather mislaid: this changeling thing
Called "character" is like
Chameleon, as the praises sing
TV shows. I liked Ike,

But not so much as anyone
Whom these pundits applaud;
Votes they have cast, or deeds they´ve done
Count no more than a fraud.

What care I for a voting record
When bimbos on TV
(Whom I perhaps had gladly peckered)
Are happy telling me,

Albeit with a serious tone,
That "questions" have been raised--
False rumor with the certain known
Made equal, coolly phrased.

Why should a rumor, innuendo
Be treated just like fact?
Well, I was busy with Nintendo
When school taugh things abstract

Like measuring one´s words to deeds,
Or gauging proposition--
No, I followed the TV´s leads,
Its prepackaged rendition.

Why, if I read the tally once
Of how a joker voted--
My candidate--the slightest glance
Might shock delusion bloated.