STUDIO: Ryko Distribution
RUNNING TIME: 111 minutes
• Short Featurettes
An fair and unbalanced look at the unfair and unbalanced.
Ed McMahon doodles his plans for world domination.
Bill O’Reilly, Jeremy Glick, Al Franken, Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes
Outfoxed chronicles the rise and, uh, continuous rise of the country’s preeminent conservative news network. From its earliest stirrings in local news to its current election power throes, Outfoxed illustrates just how biased Fox news really is. If you did not know this, please refrain from voting.
Reagan’s victory in 1984 was almost derailed by his repeated attempts
to deck his Mother’s drunken ghost.
It has been eight years since the 2000 election debacle, but the smoke from that fight still reeks. The pit dug from the Bush/Gore battle is still crowded with pundits and politicians, and with good reason: most of the major players are still center stage, and we’re hearing a lot of the same rhetoric now as we did back then. Sure, smearing and lies are an ever present staple of every presidential election, but yet again, we stand very close to electing a proud academic underachiever (5th from the bottom of his class!) who’s loyal to a party with reckless disregard for its proudest middle-america constituents. We’ll fuck you over for your cash and send your kids to war, but we’ll be sure to save those blastocysts! You morons.
And I just alienated the important half of my audience. While I believe everything I wrote in that last paragraph, it’s certainly not very productive. Anyone who might have benefited from the information in this article just closed the browser window. Unless you’re just trying to fire up a lazy group, why preach to the choir?
Like that introduction, Outfoxed is a purely choir-preaching endeavor, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless media. The piece takes a good look at Fox news from the beginning, and might even contain one or two scandalous tidbits that even hardcore liberals weren’t aware of, including the copious pre-war memos instructing reporters to hype up the war effort or praise Bush’s economic policies. By now, everyone with a brain should know that Fox News is a huge load of shit, especially after years of failed warmongering and economics policies.
Unfortunately, Outfoxed recounts many of the most played out anti-fox debates, and in ways that aren’t necessarily productive. We learn about Fox’s lopsided favortism toward conservative interviewees, as well as Bill O’Reilly’s penchant for using his show as a bully pulpit, but who is this intended to sway? A conservative viewer might as well say, “well, thank God! A news channel with conservative interviewees! That sure beats the hell out of CNN!”, or worship at the altair of O’Reilly unconditionally, since, at least in their purview, most news anchors are liberal propagandists.
“For the last time, the gentleman sitting at the end is NOT a
child molester! He happens to be a Hitler clone.”
That’s not to say Outfoxed doesn’t present facts. It does. But it doesn’t diffuse the all-important counter argument that the mainstream media is liberal. Going after a conservative network like Fox requires an airtight case. While there’s tons of sensational stuff in the anti-fox manifesto to dwell on, like O’Reilly’s horrible interview with protester Jeremy Glick, there’s even more damning factual evidence available to pin down Fox as a propaganda mill.
First, tell me why a network like CNN or NBC isn’t as skewed as Fox before you go after the sensational stuff. From the conservative perspective, Fox is the only right-wing news provider, so labeling it as such won’t do much to sway viewers who are crucial to Outfoxed‘s success. Most of the graphs like the one above would probably only elicit a chuckle from the conservative audience. We’re not given both sides of the story, and that’s a major failing of the piece.
It doesn’t help that Outfoxed is not well produced. The overall look and feel of the production is pretty chintzy, from the PowerPointesque graphs to the cheap segue cards. There’s a deadly argument against Fox News, but Outfoxed feels like a spitball going up against a Hummer.
If you’re a liberal who’s interested in why Fox is a load of shit, you’ll probably like this film. However, Outfoxed seems like a choir pamphlet for the already initiated. It’s brash, partisan, angry, and clearly out to promote an already established viewpoint. Despite whether it’s a valid or correct viewpoint, I’m unable to label it a documentary. It’s an opinion piece, which is fine; its problem is that won’t recruit any converts. It’s just too one sided to be useful.
There are handful of up-do-date segments on more of Fox’s painfully partisan antics, including a segment on the current election. The video looks pretty nice for a cheap documentary, and the audio is a stalwart Dolby 2/0.