Fox News baits antiwar protesters

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at
Sat Mar 29 15:52:22 MST 2003

>From the Bergen Record's report on NY antiwar demonstration:

[...] Fox News had its own response to the demonstrators. The news ticker
rimming Fox's headquarters on Sixth Avenue wasn't carrying war updates as
the protest began. Instead, it poked fun at the demonstrators, chiding them.

"War protester auditions here today ... thanks for coming!" read one
message. "Who won your right to show up here today?" another questioned.
"Protesters or soldiers?"

Said a third: "How do you keep a war protester in suspense? Ignore them."

Still another read: "Attention protesters: the Michael Moore Fan Club meets
Thursday at a phone booth at Sixth Avenue and 50th Street" - a reference to
the film maker who denounced the war while accepting an Oscar on Sunday
night for his documentary "Bowling for Columbine."
The protesters said Fox's sentiments only proved their point: that media
coverage, in particular among the television networks, is so biased as to be

"They're all bad, but Fox is the absolute worst," said Tracy Blevins, 32, a
New York City resident. "The people who report the news aren't journalists.
They just say what the government tells them to say."

Reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Fox spokeswoman Tracy Spector was
unaware of the messages on the news ticker and said she would look into it.
Spector said the network "didn't mean to insult anyone."

Spector did not return calls for further comment by early Thursday evening.

Media experts said what Fox did Thursday morning was not shocking - Fox was
openly hawkish about the war long before it began. But, they said, the
display - tagged with the Fox News logo - threw journalistic objectivity out
the window and also ridiculed the First Amendment right to freedom of

"Fox tries to position itself as 'the real American network,'" said Michael
Hoyt, executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. "But real
Americans believe in democracy and freedom of speech. I think what they did
was cynical and bush league."

Barbara Reed, an associate professor of journalism at Rutgers University,
said she wasn't surprised by Fox's action, given the fact that the network
is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the Australian media mogul and ardent
conservative whose publications have been hawkish.
"Fox isn't the only news outlet that has shown bias, but I think Murdoch and
Fox are over the top on this one," Reed said.

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