Promotional art for "Outfoxed"
The separation of church and state is an important issue for most Americans. But what about the separation of media and state? If a respected "news" outlet offered up biased viewpoints on politics and national issues, how would you know whether what you were hearing were straight facts or skewed opinions?
These are some of the questions asked by "Outfoxed," an unsettling documentary about media giant Rupert Murdoch's Fox News network. Interviews with past Fox correspondents and passionate journalists punctuate producer/director Robert Greenwald's examination of the "Fair & Balanced" network and its right-wing Republican ties.
The low-budget doc opens with startling numbers about Murdoch's enormous media empire. His combined properties reach a staggering 4.7 billion viewers -- or 3/4 of the world's population. With a sense of scope clearly in place, "Outfoxed" begins to dissect Murdoch's crown jewel, Fox News. From the program's volatile commentators to questionable discussion techniques, Greenwald leaves no stone unturned. Among the most upsetting revelations are the reporters' consistent use of the ambiguous source reference "some people say," and Bill O'Reilly's demeaning "shut ups" and bullying approach.
Greenwald and company focus on several unnerving memos Fox presents to its news team prior to broadcasts that often urge more critical coverage of liberal issues, including same-sex marriage. "Outfoxed" also unearths figures that show just how misinformed the Fox News audience likely is.
The documentary itself proves liberal by film's end, offering messages about free thought and open discourse. Straightforward discussions with passionate speakers, such as liberal activist and Saturday Night Live alum Al Franken (whose radio show can be considered the antithesis to Fox News), fuel the "fight the power" fire. And at a mere 1 hour and 19 minutes, Greenwald gets his point across without boredom or overkill setting in.
"Outfoxed" is a must-see for any Fox News aficionado who will be better served by understanding what occurs behind the curtain. Whether Republican or Democrat, the American public deserves one thing from its news sources -- the truth.
Not rated. 1 hour, 15 minutes.
- Tyler Hanley