Activists Ask FTC to Take Action Against Fox News

By: Charles Geraci

On a day when newspapers around the country reported on some of the more than 3,000 local house parties Sunday night promoting the new documentary “Outfoxed,” activists from MoveOn.org, Common Cause and other groups in New York announced a drive to strip the Fox News Channel of its “fair and balanced” slogan — and then marched on the Fox studios in midtown Manhattan.

The group of about 50 organizers and lawyers gathered outside at Fox, while members of MoveOn handed out about 50 copies of the DVD to Fox employees as they entered or exited the building.

Moveon.org announced at a press conference that it had asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to halt Fox News’ use of the allegedly misleading “fair and balanced” tagline. The groups filed the action under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which deals with deceptive practices in the advertising and marketing of cable television programming.

“Fox News is misleading its viewers by calling its partisan programming ‘fair and balanced,'” Wes Boyd, co-founder of MoveOn.org, said in a statement. “There is nothing fair about deceptive advertising, and there is nothing balanced about telling only one side of the story. The Federal Trade Commission and Congress must act to prevent this misleading marketing from further harming consumers and public trust in the media.”

Fox News has denounced the documentary’s own fairness and its use of internal Fox memos, some of which were also quoted in a New York Times Magazine story.

The “Doonesbury” comic strip today featured Rupert Murdoch admitting he had started Fox News as a pro-Republican media outlet.

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