With billionaire news mogul Rupert Murdoch (of Fox News fame) buying National Geographic it becomes more important than ever to look at the man who controls one of the 6 biggest media empires in the world.
This documentary, Outfoxed, presents a detailed study of Murdoch’s rise to power and experience in creating Fox news. Following the video link will be a list of topics discussed in the film with their timestamp so that you can skip a specific topic if you don’t have time for the whole movie.
3:09 During the first few years that Murdoch’s ownership of Fox’s DC affiliate, he had a hands-off approach to new content; partially due to their success. One day orders came from Murdoch’s offices that the network should cut away from their regularly scheduled program and broadcast the RNC’s fawning tribute to Reagan: “we were ordered, from the top, to carry propaganda; Republican, right-wing propaganda”. It foreshadowed what Fox News would later become.
6:30 Former Fox News reporters and bookers say that they are afraid to be seen “talking to the wrong people”. Working for Fox meant you were constantly being monitored. It created a culture of fear. If you challenged the heads of the network On ideological matters, you were history.
10:45 “Some People Say” – FOX uses the phrase “some people say” to mask opinion as news.
19:04 Fox News contributors are under paid contract for their appearance; if they deviate from the party lines, they might not get asked back onto shows.
21:22 Fox News went after Richard Clarke as soon as it was apparent that he was going to paint the Bush administration in a bad light. For Fox News, “mudding” arguments is almost as good as winning them. So, they didn’t need to definitely prove that Clarke, a former member of the Bush Administration, was angling for a position in a Kerry Whitehouse, they just had to make it look like a possibility.
22:28 They put weak-looking , lesser known liberals up against photogenic, self-assured conservatives.
26:29 Republicans accounted for 83% of the guests while Democrats accounted for 17% of guests on the network’s most prestigious show. Of those democrats, most were either centrist or conservative.
27:50 Stories they Cover…Stories they Ignore – Management set the tone for stories: Jesse Jackson was always to be painted in a negative light, as were immigrants. Culture war issues – abortion, affirmative action, gay marriage – were often covered while ignoring issues regarding the economy, healthcare, and the environment.
34:38 O’Reilly’s show is a good example of everything that is wrong with Fox News. Stories are selected to prop-up the Republican party and their point of view; O’Reilly is very hostile to a guest who disagrees with him, and he distorts and misrepresent things.
42:00 Many Fox News stories are meant to generate fear; for example, stories about what to do if there’s a “dirty bomb” attack. Fear is a great motivator and organizer; even when there is no real evidence for it. Terrorism is the ultimate fear-baiting; and when people are fearful, they are more likely to support military interventions. Talking about terrorism also means that you can avoid talking about other issues, like the economy.
46:29 Fox made the decision to present the Iraq war as a success. “The senior producer told the two or three writers for her news hour…’now, just keep in mind that it’s all good. This is such a fair and balance issue. Keep it positive. We got to emphasize all the good we are doing”.
48:43 Knowledge Networks Poll – It’s a simple survey about fact regarding current events. The more likely people were to watch Fox News, the more misinformed they were and the more likely they were to back the Bush Administration.
50:49 Fox News repeats and propagates the Republican Party platform. It was widely known that the Fox reporter covering the 2000 Bush campaign was married to a Bush campaigner. This wouldn’t have been allowed at CNN.
52:47 Election Night 2000 – The first guy to call the election for Bush was the head of Fox’s New’s election analyze division; Bush’s first cousin. He called it a clear win, when in fact, it was too close to call.
59:16 The Republican send out “the message of the day” so that conservative talk radio, Fox News, and Republican elected officials will all be talking about the same issues, in the same way.
58:41 2004 Election; coverage of Bush was always glowing, while Kerry was shown in a negative light.
1:02:51 During the 2004 election, Fox News painted a very rosy picture of the American economy and by selecting statistics which showed just that. Of course, they credited Bush for the “good” economy. When the stock market had a bad day, they claimed it was because of fear over the prospect of a Kerry presidency.
1:05:28 Murdoch is foremost a politician and this is what makes him dangerous.
1:06:57 The Fox Effect – It made other news organization more conservative because they saw how well Fox did.
1:09:13 A Call to Action – Media control is a political issue. People need to demand accuracy.