Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fair and Balanced … and Influenced

FOX News, which has successfully positioned itself as a right-of-center competitor to such mainstream outlets as CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC, likes to portray itself as unbiased and independent. But exactly how independent is FOX News? And, more importantly, exactly who wields influence at the network? You might be surprised. In recent remarks at the Arab and World Media Conference sponsored by the Arab Thought Foundation and held in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Saudi Prince al-Walid bin Talal, a member of the Saudi ruling family and billionaire investor related the following little gem:

Al-Walid also criticised US media which he described as "in general ... pro-Israel." But he also accused Arabs of not being pro-active in fighting the allegedly slanted media.

He said that during last month's street protests in France, the US television network Fox -- owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in which Al-Walid himself has shares -- ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots."

"I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said.

"Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."

Isn’t that just perfect? At Fox, they report, Al-Walid snaps his fingers, and they scurry to re-write. You decide.


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