Just read this on the New York Times opinion page.
I maintain that the U.S. media has been decidedly turned politically conservative just by the way it covers (or does NOT cover) world events. Fox News Network is the band leader of the politically conservative news coverage. All the power to them, really. They've found a nitch and they're sticking to it like flies to. . . Bovine Feces. (I'm stealing this "bovine feces" term from a poster here. . . don't remember his or her name, of course. . . who made me not-so-quietly howl out loud when I first read it! )
So here comes Al Franken. I liked his work from Saturday Night Live. But I never new he was an author. . . until now. Apparently he's written a book that's. . .well. . . making our "flies to feces" Fox agency a little upset. They're all "a-buzzzzzzzz". And they're taking Franken to court, no less. Apparently they don't like "fair and balanced" used in Franken's new book title. Never mind that the Fox News Networks has undermined the meaning of the term "fair and balanced" to the point of foul aroma. To the Fox News Networks, "fair and balanced" is anything that suits their point of view. . . with very little room for argument, much less thoughtful discussion. At any rate, our friendly comedian is writing about the Fox News Agency and using "their" term (cough, cough). . . as if they have freakin' ownership of the phrase "fair and balanced". Well. . . its a case worthy of Judge Judy. Unfortunately, this case is apparently going to a more serious court. Ahhh. . . The American legal system. It's got to make your smile if not cry. Will this case be worth the court's time? Who knows? It just seems. . . well. . . absurd and silly. And I like absurd and silly especially when it comes to this type of stuff!
My second point (not that I really ever made a clear "first point") is that Franken stands to win from the free publicity from all of this! All I have to say is: "Go, Franken, Go!" I can see how his publisher is having heart flutter right about now. Free advertisement! It's just wildly wonderful!!!
Windfall Publicity for Al Franken's Book
So, the satirist Al Franken writes a book making fun of the Fox News Network, mocking Bill O'Reilly and the gang, and its response is to sue him? The publisher of Mr. Franken's new book-"Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right"-must be having heart flutters. You can't buy this kind of publicity.
This strange lawsuit has all the feel of an O'Reilly shouting match shoved onto an unlikely new stage: the Supreme Court of New York State. For Fox, the issue is-among other things-Mr. Franken's use of the words "fair and balanced" in its subtitle. The network's lawyers are arguing that those words belong to Fox as part of its trademark. (Journalism schools need to take note here.)
Mr. Franken and Mr. O'Reilly have had one or two public set-tos already, and Fox's complaint sounds like a collection of things Mr. O'Reilly wishes he'd remembered to say at their last encounter. It calls Mr. Franken "deranged," a "parasite," "sophomoric" and lacking "any serious depth or insight."
In a word, Fox apparently does not think that Mr. Franken is amusing, prompting the comedian to threaten to trademark the word "funny" for a possible countersuit.
For years now, liberals have wrung their hands over the fact that the right wing had a monopoly on acerbic, unfair and entertaining political commentators. Mr. Franken is clearly attempting to fill the gap, and for some reason the Fox people appear to be doing everything they can to help pave his way.
Their legal case, however, seems far too frivolous for the real courts. What about Judge Judy?