We couldn't make it to any of MoveOn.org's 3,100 or so house parties this weekend, but we did see Outfoxed,
the documentary that paints Fox News Channel as a Republican propaganda machine. The verdict? Fox-haters will love it. But documentary-film purists? Stick with IFC.
Parts of Outfoxed
are admittedly fun, especially when Fox News footage echoes the daily talking points of the Republican National Committee. In one sequence, George Bush and Dick Cheney call Democratic rival John Kerry a flip-flopper; it's followed by a string of Fox Newsies brandishing the same term.
More fun: Bill O'Reilly declares he's interrupted a guest and told them "shut up" just once in six years. That's followed up with several examples of his, indeed, saying, "Shut up." (Well, he doesn't actually interrupt
someone in every clip. Okay, Bill, we'll shut up).
Even more fun: the fistful of memos from Senior Vice President John Moody charting a conservative course for Fox's news coverage. "Do not fall into the easy trap of mourning the loss of U.S. lives and asking out loud why are we there?," Moody says. In other words, if you question the war, shut up.
begs for greater context. A section called "Happy Iraq" charges that Fox staffers were ordered to heavily cover construction of schools and show things like the reopening of a horse track. However, director Robert Greenwald doesn't address how other networks covered the same issues.
Also, a lack of response from Fox itself hurts the film. (At press time, Fox and Greenwald were duking it out as to whether the network was given enough time to respond.) Still, Outfoxed
is worth watching as we approach Election Day. Or as Fox's Sean Hannity says at the top of every show, the day "you get to cast your vote and decide that George W. Bush deserves a second term." We know, we know. Shut up.
All-girl action hour She Spies
is no more, although its death knell is barely audible. The syndicated program is fading away after last week's dissolution of the joint sales agreement between NBC Enterprises (now NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution) and MGM Domestic Television Distribution. The show first aired in 2002 after NBC and MGM forged their agreement. The show was developed from an idea pitched by Vince Manze, president and creative director of NBC's in-house promo factory, The NBC Agency. Though costly, the show fared so-so in ratings. In the week ended July 4, She Spies
averaged nearly two million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. But the mission isn't accomplished just yet; viewers can catch repeats next season.
Ken Is the Answer
Ratings for King World's Jeopardy
are up everywhere, but they've exploded in Salt Lake City—133%—since hometown boy Ken Jennings went on his winning streak. In May, local station KJZZ scored a 4 household rating/7 share. Now the station seems to be winning double jeopardy: a 9.3 household rating/19 share. According to KJZZ Program Director Bob Quigley, Jennings-mania has given neighboring programs a boost, as well. Wheel of Fortune, which airs before Jeopardy
, is up 66%, from a 4 to a 6.5 household rating and from an 8 share to a 13. "We've just had huge, huge interest," says Quigley. "There's quite a fervor going on." More than 650 postings on a fan's blog, www.robichaux.net/blog, confirms the insanity. One fan calls Jennings "a gladiator in his own arena." Another attributes Jennings' success to his Mormon faith. And one loony claims Jennings has supernatural powers. With ratings like these, KJZZ just hopes he keeps winning.