Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Film Critiques Fox News and Media Empires

Film Critiques Fox News and Media Empires

By Sonia Nettnin

The film, ''Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism'', demystifies the presentation of news and commentary by Fox News.

Director Robert Greenwald interviews former Fox contributors who had serious concerns with the news techniques incorporated by the network. He interviews media analysts from numerous media organizations also.

The Public Square, a non-profit organization that discusses political and cultural issues through a social justice lens, hosted the opening screening on Chicago’s South Side Wednesday night.

Murdoch, News Corp CEO and Chairman, owns nine, satellite TV networks, 100 cable channels, 175 newspapers, 40 magazines, 40 television stations and one movie studio. His media corporation reaches 4.7 billion people, or three-fourths of the world’s population.

Interviews with former Fox contributors detail the network’s operations. The people stated it is “…not a news organization but a proponent of a point of view,” and “you’re either one of us or one of them.” Their observations are prevalent themes throughout the film. Greenwald shows numerous copies of internal Fox memos that support their opinions.

For example, a memo dated 04/28/2004 talks about U.S. Marines and the use of the word “snipers.” The memo states that “snipers,” has a negative connotation and should be replaced with the word “sharpshooters.”

Another example of an internal memo-in-action talks about presidential candidate John Kerry and his “flip-flop” about support of the war against Iraq. After the memo, whenever Fox News anchors and correspondents discuss Kerry, they use the phrase “flip- flop.” The phrase “flip-flop” takes visual form when Fox shows a picture of yellow, flip flops next to Kerry. The color, yellow, has many connotations also. As a result, the film shows the strong influence these memos have on Fox employees and the visual presentation of the news.

Through graphics, music, banners, and icons, Fox news utilizes sophisticated, techniques in their news presentation. As people watch a program, the moving banner - located on the lower one-third of the screen - catches the viewers’ eye. During interviews and discussions, people absorb the moving words.

For example, I noticed when Fox used the word “Palestinian,” it was next to the word “terrorists.” Paired together, they become the phrase “Palestinian terrorists.” In turn, the phrase becomes an association in the mind. Word associations grouped together repeatedly develop into a perceived point of view or “side.” Employment of this technique repetitively instills fear in viewers. If a program pushes a viewpoint that opposes this word association, an “us vs. them,” assessment may develop in the viewer. When viewers are scared, they look for safety and security. If they see the American flag, an icon of government, then it creates another association.

Fox News consultants (experts) are conservatives, mostly, and are paid under contract. One former contractor talked about his final show. They wanted the phrase “suicide bombings,” replaced with “homicide bombers.” He would not use the new phrase because it did not make sense to him. Although his contract did not expire for another eight weeks, he was not called back to the show.

The phrase, “some people say,” is a sourcing technique used by the network frequently. Who is “some people,” exactly? A quoted source is a person who supports the quotation presented by the journalist. Some people are not specific persons, unless there is an official study or poll. The phrase “some people say,” can be used to replace a person’s opinion or viewpoint. The difference between opinion and news reporting is that the former is commentary and the latter is the news. Greenwald shows how Fox uses the phrase frequently.

Greenwald shows the frequency of the phrase “shut up,” on Fox’s show, The O’Reilly Factor. When some of O’Reilly’s guests explained their views, he told them to shut up. After Jeremy M. Glick challenged O’Reilly on the show, future O’Reilly programs showed clips from Glick’s s interview with the phrase “vile propaganda,” next to the Talking Points. Glick explained that future clips of his appearance on O’Reilly’s show misrepresented his view.

During the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Fox news projected George W. Bush as the winner in Florida. Former Fox contributors stated the data was too complex to make that determination. After Fox’s declaration, the other news stations followed suit. The projection created the perception that Bush was the winner. Fox News CEO and Chairman, Roger Ailes, apologized for the faulty projections. He said “…it will not happen again.”

However, the error shows the power and influence media has on its competitors and on public opinion. The media analysts state that if the public wants change and diverse media, they have to claim their digital destiny.


Sonia Nettnin is a freelance writer. Her articles and reviews demonstrate civic journalism, with a focus on international social, economic, humanitarian, gender, and political issues. Media coverage of conflicts from these perspectives develops awareness in public opinion.

Nettnin received her bachelor's degree in English literature and writing. She did master's work in journalism. Moreover, Nettnin approaches her writing from a working woman's perspective, since working began for her at an early age.

She is a poet, a violinist and she studied professional dance. As a writer, the arts are an integral part of her sensibility. Her work has been published in the Palestine Chronicle, Scoop Media and the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. She lives in Chicago.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>