Sunday, September 20, 2009

Can't somebody sue Fox News?

You've probably heard about Fox News taking out that big ad in major newspapers, claiming that they were the only ones that covered Glenn Beck's 912 Protest. Of course that wasn't true. For crying out loud, even CSPAN covered the whole dismal affair. And as it turns out, my feeling that the crowd was playing to the cameras was right on. What I didn't realize at the time was a Fox News producer was on stage, but out of camera range, directing the noise as if it was some freaking game show.

Of course, the big stations pushed back against the Fox ad. Rick Sanchez did a great segment and flat out called them liars and CNN did a promo as well calling them out. I think that's great on one level but the problem is, Fox viewers are unlikely to see this stuff and even if they do, they won't believe it. They only believe Glenn Beck. So ultimately it ends up as free advertising for Faux News.

I'm thinking a better strategy to get back at them would be for some enterprising attorney to sue Fox News for false advertising. I'm sure we have consumer protection laws about that and Fox is falsely advertising itself as a news station. It's not. It's an advocacy channel for the GOP.

It wouldn't even have to be a big federal case. Even a small case, with a complaint based on some narrow issue, in one jurisdiction, in one state would do the trick. Way I see it, there's hundreds of hours of archived footage showing how Fox edits stories to spin them in the GOP's favor. The dozens, if not hundreds of times they "accidentally" identify GOPers as Democrats when some scandal breaks. Allowing Beck to create and promote the 912 project and then covering it as "news" smacks of political manipulation and advocacy. You get the picture.

I have to think there's a way to make this case. And it doesn't even matter how small the case is or if it succeeds. This would be, as Chuck Todd put it, catnip for the cables. It could generate weeks worth of controversy coverage that they love so much and it would be much more negative PR for Fox. Not to mention, the lawyer would become famous. Somebody young and hungry could make a name with a case like that. Just look at Orly Taitz.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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6 Comments:

Blogger Ruth said...

Actually, a corporation is technically not allowed under existing law to promote a candidate or a party, although the coathanger court is now trying to reverse that longtime precedent of our laws. Another coverage of the Millionish Moran March was on Bill Moyers' Journal, see http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09182009/watch.html

12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

If we enforced truth in advertising, things would get might quiet. Grotesque hyperbole is as close as we get to the truth. They advertise psychics, quack medicine and loan reduction schemes that get you into more debt.

What would the courts say about a Nissan ad that said "suddenly the speed of light doesn't seem so fast" and that about a car that barely tops a hundred?

2:10:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Ruth, Going after them for campaign violations would be too complicated. Consumer protection would be easier I'd think.

Fogg, as I say, it doesn't matter if the case succeeds. Since Fox is getting all this free press anyway for lying, I'm just trying to think of a way to make the coverage more negative. Again, if Orly Taitz can do it with a thoroughly bogus case...

9:10:00 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Consumers should be protected from a tv station that is a running ad for its party affiliation. But I know that I'm a dreamer.

1:10:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

We're both dreamers that way Ruth. :)

4:18:00 PM  
Blogger TravDawg said...

Great writeup. I said the same thing to myself today, why not sue Fox "news?" Their whole "fair and balanced news" slogan is complete fraud. Can a Snickers bar claim to have zero calories if it doesn't? Can I tell people I'm a real estate broker and sell their house? Of course not. I think the fair and balanced "news" station is a cut and dry case. Any ethical judge and jury without bias for or against Fox would call it consumer fraud. If I thought about suing and you thought about it I guarantee 10s of thousands have thought of it as well, and if they speak loud enough millions will follow. But then again, like you said, all you need is one.

4:01:00 AM  

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