Brave New Films
|Release dates||July 13, 2004|
|Running time||78 mins|
Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism is a 2004 documentary film by filmmaker Robert Greenwald that criticises the Fox News Channel, and its owner, Rupert Murdoch, claiming that the channel is used to promote and advocate right-wing views. The film says this pervasive bias contradicts the channel's claim of being "Fair and Balanced", and argues that Fox News has been engaging in what amounts to consumer fraud.
The documentary was not released theatrically, but rather was distributed in DVD format by the Political action committee MoveOn.org, and sold online through Internet retailers such as Amazon.com, where it was a top-seller in July 2004. MoveOn.org had helped promote the DVD release by taking out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times.
The film examines the global growth of Murdoch's media enterprise in the context of concentration of media ownership considerations, and evaluates the effect of having one person in control of a large media conglomerate on freedom of the press. Outfoxed's analysis includes:
- Review of Fox News's coverage during the lead-up to, and the aftermath of, the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
- Interviews with former Fox News journalists, exposing incidents where Fox News asked journalists to lie, and when they refused, they were fired. When the reporters sued Fox in court, providing proof of their claim, the court ruled that there is no current law against lying on a news program.
- Instances where Fox News commentators such as Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity attempt to intimidate guests with whom they disagree, such as author and activist Jeremy Glick.
- Studies which evidence more airtime and coverage is consistently given to Republican politicians, particularly those in the George W. Bush administration, than to Democrats.
- Inspection of whether Fox News' premature result-calling of the 2000 presidential election contributed to George W. Bush officially being elected.
- Scrutiny over Fox News management, including Murdoch and president Roger Ailes, both conservatives, in controlling the network's content, and editorial control from Murdoch down ensuring which stories and issues are covered and the strongly conservative perspective of such coverage.
- Discussion of suspensions and other reprisals meted out to reporters and producers for not promoting the channel's political point of view.
- Highlights of Fox News's tendency to pick strong, confident, conservatives and weak-looking, complacent liberals to appear on it.
Former Fox News journalists appear in the film critiquing the methods and perceived integrity of their former employer. For example, Jon Du Pre, a former reporter for Fox News's West Coast bureau, said that he had been suspended by Fox News management because his live shots from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Ronald Reagan's birthday — which Du Pre described was like a "holy day" to Fox News's hierarchy — were not "celebratory enough." A former Fox News military contributor, Larry C. Johnson, also claimed that he was in high demand to give on-air analysis on the "War on Terrorism", until he called into question on Hannity & Colmes whether or not the United States could fight two wars (in Afghanistan and Iraq) simultaneously, an incident after which Johnson says he was promptly ignored as a potential Fox News contributor.
- Robert W. McChesney, founder of Free Press, author of "The Problem of the Media"
- Jeff Cohen, former MSNBC/Fox News contributor
- David Brock, President/CEO of Media Matters for America
- Gene Kimmelman, senior director of the Public Policy & Advocacy Consumers Union
- Frank O'Donnell, former Fox News producer, Washington DC
- Dave Burnett, former Fox News reporter, Washington DC
- Diana Winthrop, former Fox News producer
- Walter Cronkite, former CBS Evening News anchor
- Larry C. Johnson, former Fox News contributor
- Jon Du Pre, former Fox News anchor-West Coast bureau
- Clara Frenk, former Fox News producer
- Dave Korb, former freelance Fox News writer
- Av Westin, former Vice President of ABC News
- David Hnatiuk, former Fox music supervisor
- James Wolcott, former staff writer for the New Yorker, cultural critic for Vanity Fair
- Peter Hart, media analyst for FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting)
- Steve Rendall, senior analyst, FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting)
- Rep. Bernie Sanders, independent Congressman from Vermont since 1991
- Joseph A. Cafasso, former Fox News military & counter-terrorism editor
- Al Franken, Air America host
- Jeremy Glick
- Eric Alterman, media critic, author of "What Liberal Media?"
- John Nichols, author of "Dick: The Man Who Is President"
- Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause
- Jeff Chester, executive director of Center for Digital Democracy
- Alexander Kippen, former Fox News reporter, Washington, D.C.
- Larry Irving, former asstistant secretary of commerce for Communications & Information
- Len Hill, independent producer
- Malkia Cyril, executive director of Media Youth Council
- David Goodfriend, founder of Air America Radio
- Wally Bowen, founder and executive director of the Mountain Area Information Network
Outfoxed received positive reviews from critics, earning 85% on rotten tomatoes. Users generally liked it as well, giving it a score of 74%. 
Variety.com reviewer David Rooney writes that the film "provides stimulating evidence of how thoroughly news can be skewed, political agendas served and a climate of fear created by a news net selling itself as an objective information service." He compares it favorably to Michael Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, adding that without the "media spotlight" that surrounded Moore's film, Outfoxed "appears unlikely to reach beyond a liberal audience with an already vehement aversion to Fox News' partisan coverage."
Megan Lehmann wrote in the New York Post, a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, that the movie was a "narrowly focused, unapologetically partisan documentary," and that it "is so one-sided, it undermines its own integrity."
Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post praised Greenwald's uncovering of "...a handful of memos from a top Fox executive", which he argued suggested network bias over the war in Iraq and the investigation of the September 11 attacks. However, Kurtz was highly critical of how Greenwald's allegations relied on "orders, or attitudes, of an unnamed 'they'...", and was critical of the filmmaker for making "...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."
Fox News response
Fox News called the film "illegal copyright infringement" for its use of clips from Fox News Channel programs.
It also said the film misrepresented the employment of four people identified as former Fox News employees. Fox News said Alexander Kippen and Frank O'Donnell had actually been employees of WTTG, the Fox owned-and-operated station in Washington, DC, and not employees of Fox News Channel. It said that Jon Du Pre, identified as a former anchor in the film, had actually been a reporter and that his contract had not been renewed because he was "a weak field correspondent and could not do live shots." It said that Clara Frenk, identified as a former producer in the film, had actually been a "pool booker" who "expressed no concern about the editorial process" while employed there. Fox also pointed out that Frenk had been a volunteer for Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign.
Fox News challenged any news organization that thought this was a major story to "put out 100 percent of their editorial directions and internal memos [and] Fox News Channel will publish 100 percent of our editorial directions and internal memos, and let the public decide who is fair."
- Fox News Channel controversies
- List of documentaries
- Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
- Orwell Rolls in His Grave
- The medium is the message
- Politico-media complex
- Propaganda model
- Deans, Jason (2004-07-21). "Fox News documentary tops Amazon sales chart". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-03-29.
- Jesse Walker (2004-08-16). "Outfoxed DVD Review". Mindjack. Retrieved 2007-11-27.
- Miles O'Dometer (2004-11-27). "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism". Rambles.net. Retrieved 2007-11-27.
- "Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)". Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Rooney, David (2004-07-12). "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism". Variety.com. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
- Lehmann, Megan (2004-08-06). "Fair and Balanced, this Doc's Not". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
- Kurtz, Howard (2004-07-11). "Tilting at the Right, Leaning to the Left: Robert Greenwald's 'Outfoxed' Has Its Own Slant on Balance". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "FOX News Channel Statement on 'Outfoxed'". Foxnews.com. Archived from the original on 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2007-01-23.
- Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism - Outfoxed on Google Video.
- Outfoxed at the Internet Movie Database
- Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism[dead link] - The critical documentary's website.
- Outfoxed streaming Dutch VPRO documentary by Tegenlicht. Introduction, several seconds, in Dutch with story itself in English and Dutch subtitles; 50 min. Broadband internet needed.