Thursday, 5 June 2008

FILM: Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism [notes]

These are some of the notes I took whilst watching the documentary Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on journalism (on freedocumentaries). Much of the film consists of testimony from former FOX insiders. Some were only willing to speak on condition of anonimity.
TRAILER
STATISTICS

Murdoch's Empire

9 satellite television networks
100 cable channels
175 newspapers
40 book imprints
40 television stations
1 fim studio

Murdoch's Audience

280 million: US television networks
300 million: Asia satellite networks
300 million: homes receiving his cable channels
28 million: read his magazines

Total Audience

4.7 billion people (can that really be true?)

NOTES

FOX News Channel was established in 1996. Roger Ailes, FOX CEO and chairman, said FOX's aim was to "restore objectivity" in the news. And to do "fine, balanced journalism". [Really, that's what he said.] He was formerly a media strategist in the presidential campaigns of Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr.
Murdoch was and is fanatically pro-Reagan. Reagan's birthday is treated by FOX like a religious festival, a holy day, with wall to wall coverage devoted to the great man...
Former employees speak of a kind of surveilled Stalinist system within FOX, a system where everyone is constantly monitored and in fear of saying the wrong thing.
Every morning FOX employees receive a list of what to report, how to report it, and a list of what to ignore or repress. If you don't tow the line you lose your job. A 23rd March 2004 FOX memo stated (on the 9/11 Commission) "don't turn this into Watergate".
The streaming banners and graphics are consciously designed to subvert the audience into accepting neo-conservative, pro-right ideas.
FOX is a Republican party political broadcast that runs 24/7. Nothing more.
A former employee spoke of how the "news flash" was used when the Columbine shootings occured, but then it soon started to be used for meanigless stories about celebrity and cultural trivia.

"Some people say..."

Opinions can't be disproved. "Some people say..." is a tool which allows the reporter or presenter to promote any political perspective he or she likes. It allows for lies to be peddled as truth. Everything is permissable.
FOX's devotion to Christianity compells them to run stories that ask such deep and searching questions as, "Why is Jesus so popular?"
Fear is the most economic and reliable weapon in the propoganda tool box. Make them afraid. Make them very afraid.

"Fair & Balanced"

A FOX slogan. Fair and balanced. But what law compells the media to report in a 'fair and balanced' way? It's a law called the "fairness doctrine". The fairness doctrine legally prevents the US media from reporting with undue bias...
Well, it used to. The "fairness doctrine" was abolished under Ronald Reagan. FOX and every other corporate news organisation in the US can legally say pretty much whatever the hell they like. So they do. End of story.
[You can see why Murdoch is so pro-Reagan. Reagan as good as gave Murdoch the keys to his Empire.]

The economy "is in great shape"

FOX default position. Bush has been great for the economy. Everything is just great.

Iraq "is in great shape"

FOX default position. The war has been great for Iraq. Everything is just great.

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