Three Imaginary Girls

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Watching more than a few seconds of Fox News, one begins to realize that Rupert Murdoch's media organization is actually more a proponent of a point of view — the opposite of journalism. ("Fair and balanced"? Not so much.) With its patriotic stance, right-wing positions, and adamant pro-Bush reporting, Fox News has become America's most successful news network… and a definite force to be reckoned with.

Which is where Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism comes in. Robert Greenwald has crafted a sobering and timely documentary detailing the internal workings of the operation; the film (a production available for purchase on DVD and VHS) joins the ranks of other recent incendiary left-leaning political docs, and represents activism at its healthy cinematic best.

Carefully-edited clips of such network staples as evil Bill O'Reilly (someone should cut his mic) are alternately infuriating and hilarious, demonstrating how a series of memo-mandate talking points — calling John Kerry a "flip-flopper" or saying he "looks French", using the phrase "some say" to introduce negative viewpoints, and on and on — determine the network commentators' slant of current affairs. Notable media experts such as stalwart Walter Cronkite, Eric Alterman (The Nation), Jeff Cohen Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), and (James Wolcott (Vanity Fair) deliver scathing commentary against Murdoch and his minions. Too bad there's not just a little bit more of genius comedian-commentator-author Al Franken, though: his well-publicized book about O'Reilly and the lawsuit filed against Franken by Fox News make him a much bigger part of the story.

Eye-opening and crucial as it is, Outfoxed is not as ambitious or thorough as, say, Fahrenheit 9/11, but it also effectively attacks its enemy with humor, irony, and a heapin' dose of the awful truth.