Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism


Outfoxed attempts to convince us of the Fox News Corporation’s bias and manipulation of the American public, exploring the techniques used in great detail, but hoists itself on its own petard. How can a movie calling for fair and unbiased reporting be so deliberately biased itself?

I guess the affiliation with MoveOn.org wasn’t in any way contributory to this bias, in the same way they accuse Fox? Of course not. This is just a reaction to the manipulation of the agents of the far-right, and in response to such abuses, you have to abuse yourself… right? Guess that’s how they justify it, but I wasn’t convinced.

I did enjoy this film, in spite of its inherent skew, and failure to judge itself by the same standards it judges others. The exploration of the techniques used by Fox to cloud and muddy any criticism of the Bush administration, and to denigrate any of their political opponents, is extremely powerful. The montage scenes of commentator after commentator using the same buzzwords, like “flip-flop” for example, is very impressive. The section dealing with Bill O’Reilly is especially powerful. This ‘journalist’ is portrayed convincingly to be an aggressive, hypocritical liar, using only his own statements. (Taking a whole bunch of my comments out of context could also produce such an effect, but I’m not sure Outfoxed ever considered themselves to be ‘fair and balanced’).

Technically, though, this ‘film’ is no better than what I could produce on my laptop with my freeware video editing suite. The transitions are at times laughable, and the captioning is appalling. They are inconsistently coloured, sized and placed. It is amateurish at best. The section titling suffers from a similar fate – irregular positioning, bizarre font choices, extreme colours. There are also times when the soundtrack of the background video interrupts that of the narration. This is technically very poorly made indeed.

Whilst I was amused, and at times horrified, by the antics of Fox, this doesn’t excuse them for their gross deception of the American people. The damning section showing the statistics of a study into Fox viewers’ knowledge of the news, shows us how effective their smear campaigns are. It is a lesson to us all on the power of the media.

Rating: 2.5 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 7th October 2004
Hoopla Factor: 3.5 stars

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