PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (FOX Attacks Special Edition)

This is America these days: you’re either with something, or you’re against it, and never the twain shall meet. Just try democracy under those conditions.


Director: Robert Greenwald
Cast: David Brock, George W. Bush, Walter Cronkite, Al Franken, Brit Hume, Rupert Murdoch, Bill O'Reilly, Ronald Reagan, Geraldo Rivera
MPAA rating: N/A
Studio: The Disinformation Company
First date: 2004
US DVD Release Date: 2004-07-13

In this election season, there are a few things that every American voter should know.

First, the Republican platform that suggests they are about “change” is insulting after years of their almost complete control of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches (up to January 2007). Second, Sarah Palin is a cynical, pandering, and borderline ridiculous VP choice, no matter how you spin it. Third, Barack Obama is neither the Second Coming, nor is he the Antichrist – but, since when is it a problem for a democratic politician to be exciting? Fourth, to be a “community organizer” is in no conceivable way a bad thing – community organizers are, basically, people doing what politicians are supposed to be doing, except they have to do it without financial support! And, fifth, CNN may not be a great place to get all your news, but FOX is, quite simply, not a legitimate news source.

If you are getting your information in whole or in part from FOX News, you really should diversify. Otherwise you’re likely to believe stuff that a) isn’t true, and b) is bad for America and the world.

I am not an American voter. I shouldn’t have to say this, and anyone who isn’t an American voter will know exactly why, but many Americans have trouble with the idea of a foreigner commenting upon their nation and its domestic affairs. This is, of course, arrogant and hypocritical, especially considering that although the world that resides beyond the US borders doesn’t get to vote for the US president and representatives, those politicians get to exercise power and influence on a global scale.

In my country, it matters a great deal (to our economy, cultural mood, and foreign policy) who is in charge in the US. So, if I have an opinion on the state of the US political machine, I get to say it. And, since I am not on a FOX news program at the moment, no one can tell me to shut up.

Robert Greenwald’s 2004 documentary on the inner workings of FOX News explores the central problem that this 24-hour “fair and balanced” news channel is essentially a propaganda engine for the Republican Party. It is an illuminating, frustrating, and utterly damning film. While it is no doubt hated by its critics – it has been called “rank propaganda ... the distorted work of an ultra-liberal filmmaker” by Bill O’Reilly, probably the figure whose reputation was most damaged by the film – it is seen as essential viewing by its fans.

In it you can see the connections between the GOP and the higher ups at FOX; the soft interviews of key Republicans (including the president); Bill O’Reilly insult a young man whose father was killed at the World Trade Center; a raft of on-air personalities using opinion as though it were fact; wide and repulsive use of the flip-flop card (as though everyone should have one idea and stick to it, no matter what, forever, even if they start to think it might have been wrong); and general jingoistic ultra-nationalism.

Unfortunately, but crucially, the debate over the integrity of FOX News lends itself to the kind of political absolutism that leads nowhere but the vacuum. But this is America these days: you’re either with something, or you’re against it, and never the twain shall meet. Just try democracy under those conditions. As Al Gore recently laid out in his under-discussed book, The Assault on Reason, without a public sphere in which to hold sustained, reasoned, well-informed discussion, there can’t be much progress.

FOX News seems designed to curtail any such discussion – guests who disagree with the basic FOX worldview are routinely cut off, and even pushed off air, never to return. This cycle must be broken. The rest of the world, those of us without a chance to cast a vote in the American elections that do, ultimately, effect us all, need your help.

This edition, newly minted for the current election season, includes a series of shorts that were originally produced for the Internet. They are of poor video quality (they are pixilated and badly transferred, it seems to me), but their message is clear, and they are always informative, entertaining, and well-researched. Just like the film they accompany.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.


Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.


Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".


John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.


The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.


Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.


In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.


Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.


Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.


'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.


The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.