ABC “Outfoxes” Fox News

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This Sunday's episode of "Boston Legal" on ABC features "Outfoxed," the documentary on the Fox News Channel, but never mentions Fox. ABC has refused to run ad for "Outfoxed" during the episode.

New York, NY, (PRWEB) March 10, 2005 — This Sunday, March 13th, ABC will air an episode of David E. Kelley's top rated drama, Boston Legal, that features "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism." The real story here, according to The Disinformation Company and "Outfoxed" producer/director Robert Greenwald, is that the show never mentions Fox News.

The gist of the television story is that Chi McBride, the principal from Kelley’s previous hit show Boston Public, uses the “Fox Blocker,” a device sold on the Internet, to prevent Fox News Channel from being shown on all the televisions at his school. He claims it promotes hate speech and makes it harder to run the school. The episode revolves around free speech issues and uses actual footage from "Outfoxed" in several scenes.

According to an anonymous source, ABC executives got nervous when they saw the initial script, which specifically mentioned Fox News and Bill O'Reilly repeatedly — it even included the clip from "Outfoxed" where O'Reilly threatens war protesters in the same sentence he promises not to demonize anyone.

According to sources reporting to Robert Greenwald’s production company, ABC ordered Kelley to remove all references to Fox News from the script. Meanwhile, ABC is also refusing to run a commercial for "Outfoxed" — featuring the infamous montage of O'Reilly's “shut-ups” — during the episode. The Disinformation Company, which distributes the film in retail outlets, earlier attempted to purchase the ad.

In an ABC show fundamentally about the first amendment, ABC has silenced the show's creator to protect a competitor and refuses to sell commercial space for an ad critical of that competitor.

“I am shocked that ABC is not willing to take our hard-earned money to run an ad for "Outfoxed" during Boston Legal this Sunday," film producer/director Robert Greenwald said. "The episode of Boston Legal focuses on "Outfoxed" which makes ABC's refusal all the more troubling.

"While I understand that the film is controversial, I had assumed that ABC was still in the business of selling advertisements for the network. The refusal of ABC to run an ad for this film which has reached an audience all over the world is of great concern. Previously the only media that had refused to run an ad were two Rupert Murdoch newspapers in Australia. I hope ABC will re-consider its position.”

"Outfoxed" is one of the most successful documentary films of recent years and became an instant hit when it was released in July of 2004, zooming straight to number one on Amazon.com’s DVD chart. Distributed initially on DVD via the Internet by organizations such as MoveOn.org and The Center for American Progress, and to retail and rental outlets by The Disinformation Company, the film became so popular that it went on to screen in theaters across the United States and in many foreign countries.

Disinformation President Gary Baddeley said that his company has placed advertisements for "Outfoxed" with a variety of media outlets without any problem until now and that “it’s particularly frustrating that ABC’s standards and practices department would not make any suggestions at all as to how we’d have to edit the ad to make it acceptable, saying only that it seemed like there were ‘insurmountable issues’ without being very specific. I have to conclude that there are political concerns governing their decision.”

For more information, check out Alternet’s story on the debacle at: http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/21463/

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Anne Sullivan
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