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Who are the brain police?

In a Fair andBalanced world, the news media would present unbiased information and allow viewers to make up theirown minds fromthe facts. Sort of a "We Report, You Decide" approach. Rather than the current "We Distort, You Shut Up And Think What We Tell You To" approach. I read an interview back in the early 90's where RupertMurdoch was more forthcoming than he probably meant to be. He stated that his news shows never ever broadcast anything that he disagrees with, because if they did he'd fire everyone involved on the spot.That's Fair and Balanced.

In August 2003, Fox announced that they were suing Al Franken and his publisher for trademark infringement.Franken's upcoming book is called "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look atthe Right". This is comparable to a restaurant that claims to have "the best burger in town" suing someone who writes a song that includes the phrase "the best burger in town."

Also note that Franken writes about Fox and O'Reilly a great deal in his book, and his use of the phrasewill probably be considered nominative fair use.

While liberals have predictably flocked to Franken's defense, so have conservatives such as Glenn Reynolds.Conservative internet gossip maven Matt Drudge claims that the lawsuit was filed at the direction ofFox star Bill O'Reilly as revenge for Franken having embarrassed O'Reilly on CSPAN's "Booknotes" programby pointing out that O'Reilly lied repeatedly about having won several prestigious industry awards evenafter the organizations that hand out the awards had pointed out the fallacy.

Jon Stewart on the Daily Show probably put it best.

"Fox News has filed suit against political satirist Al Franken over use of the phrase 'Fair and Balanced'.Huh? You're kidding me! I don't know what to say. I'm Shocked and A..., no I'm... Dazed and C...... um....I know! I'm Confounded and Bewildered! (Announcer: Confounded and Bewildered is a registered trademarkof Jon Stewart and Comedy Central)".

Ultimately, the strategy of attempted prior restraint may backfire, in that the day after the suit wasannounced, Franken's book shot up in Amazon's salesrank from somewhere in the 400's to number 1. Fora book that doesn't come out for a month and a half by an author that probably 50% of Americanscouldn't pick out of a lineup, that's not bad.

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If fifty million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.
- Anatole France


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