The new "documentary" Outfoxed looks to take on Rupert Murdoch in the same way that liberal activist Michael Moore took on the Bush administration with his highly successful Fahrenheit 9/11. Though director Robert Greenwald's film is unlikely to see anywhere near the 2000 screen nation-wide release that Moore's left-wing polemic enjoyed (in fact, it's unlikely to make it into any theater outside of the small "house party" screenings ), the American media's infatuation with themselves has ensured heavy coverage of the film's DVD release.
True to form, the New York Times penned a love letter to Greenwald in this week's magazine:
The film is an obsessively researched expose of the ways in which Fox News, as Greenwald sees it, distorts its coverage to serve the conservative political agenda of its owner, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. It features interviews with former Fox employees, leaked policy memos written by Fox executives and extensive footage from Fox News, which Greenwald is using without the network's permission. The result is an unwavering argument against Fox News that combines the leftist partisan vigor of a Michael Moore film with the sober tone and delivery of a PBS special.
Whatever points are to be made about the so-called conservative bias at Fox News could just as easily be made about the liberal slant at CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. So why take on Fox, the lone network with a right-of-center slant? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the film was financed by the ultra-liberal groups MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress.
The Washington Post sums it up nicely:
But Greenwald, whose last movie was "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War," makes no effort at fairness or balance himself. Not only did he avoid contacting Fox, and indulge in some misleading editing, but the film also features a parade of the network's liberal detractors — including Al Franken, Vermont Rep. Bernie Sanders, the group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting and out-of-the-closet liberal columnist Walter Cronkite.
Greenwald does score points with a handful of memos from a top Fox executive that appear to suggest tilting the news on such subjects as Iraq and the Sept. 11 investigation, and in interviews with a few former Fox staffers and contributors — three of whom are off-screen and anonymous, their voices distorted.
But many of their allegations are hard to assess because they involve orders, or attitudes, by an unnamed "they" at Rupert Murdoch's network.
Say what you will about Michael Moore, at the very least he offers his political opponents equal time in his films, even if it's only to ridicule them as he did with Charlton Heston in Bowling for Columbine and again with a never-ending flood of Congressmen in Fahrenheit 9/11. The fact that Greenwald has produced his film without ever bothering to allow Murdoch or another Fox representative to respond to the charges renders the "documentary" little more than left-wing propaganda.