Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Gag order issued in Fox v. Franken

Lawyers for Fox News Network, part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire, News Corporation, contend that Mr. Franken should not be allowed to use those words in the title of his new book due in stores next month, "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" (Penguin).

They argue that Fox has trademarked "Fair and Balanced" to describe its news coverage and that Mr. Franken's use of the phrase would "blur and tarnish" it.

Apparently explaining why they think Franken might be mistakenly seen as affiliated with Fox "News," the complaint goes on to say:

"Franken is neither a journalist nor a television news personality,"... . "He is not a well-respected voice in American politics; rather, he appears to be shrill and unstable. His views lack any serious depth or insight."

In late breaking news, the judge in the case has issued a gag order forbidding Fox News from broadcasting any “news” stories or commentary critical of frivolous lawsuits. In response to questions regarding his order, Judge Stone O. Riley simply said, "Ever heard of glass houses?”

Fox "news" boss Roger Ailes protested saying, “This order will prevent us from promoting, I mean, covering President Bush’s brilliant plan to grow the economy and provide deserving Americans with much needed jobs by limiting lawsuits major corporations like ours find, uh, costly. Whatever happened to freedom of expression in this country? This is an outrage!”

In a related story, Fox attorneys filed papers attempting to register as trademarks the following phrases: *"In late breaking news;" "And now the news;" "In other news;" "Stay tuned;" “We’ll be back after this word from our sponsors;” *“In a related story;” “This just in;” “We have breaking news;” “Live, on location;” “Live, via satellite;” “Good morning;” “Good afternoon;” “Good evening;” “Good night.”

Eds. note: *This piece was filed pending the trademark being issued on these phrases.

No comments: