Inside the system
November 7, 2003 | Page 4
Crazy like Fox News
FIRST CAME Fox News' lawsuit against comedian Al Franken's book Lies (and the Lying Liars who Tell Them).That was laughed out of court. But it didn't stop Fox News Channel from threatening to sue the makers of The Simpsons over a parody of the news channel's right-wing political stance.
In a recent interview with National Public Radio, Simpsons creator Matt Groening said Fox News had considered legal action against the show--despite the fact that The Simpsons is broadcast on sister network, Fox Entertainment. Fox apparently took exception took a Simpsons' version of the Fox News rolling news ticker that contained the headlines "Do Democrats Cause Cancer?" "Study: 92 percent of Democrats are gay" and "Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple."
"Fox fought against it and said they would sue the show," Groening said. "We called their bluff because we didn't think Rupert Murdoch would pay for Fox to sue itself. So, we got away with it."
While the lawsuit never materialized, Groening said some action was taken. "Now Fox has a new rule that we can't do those little fake news crawls on the bottom of the screen in a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking it's real news," he said.
Pushing Ann Coulter's buttons
TALKING PRESIDENTS, manufacturers of such presidential action figures as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, is now releasing an action figure of Ann Coulter, the right-wing nut. The figure comes complete with a series of pithy catchphrases recorded by the right-wing author herself.
Push the doll's button, and you'll hear such "Coulterisms" as:
-- "Liberals can't just come out and say they want to take more of our money, kill babies and discriminate on the basis of race."
-- "Why not go to war just for oil? We need oil. What do Hollywood celebrities imagine fuels their private jets? How do they think their cocaine is delivered to them?"
-- "Liberals hate America, they hate flag-wavers, they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam, post 9/11. Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like Liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."
Sporting a black miniskirt, the "highly collectible doll" comes in a display box with information highlighting Ann's "unique contributions to America's political discourse."
Heard it through the grapevine
"THE WORLD is more peaceful and more free under my leadership."
"[A]S YOU know, these are open forums--you're able to come and listen to what I have to say."
"I GLANCE at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."
"I'M A follower of American politics."
"HONESTLY, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that."
"IS THE U.S. winning or losing the global war on terrorism?...Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get?' It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog."
"I THINK it speaks very much to the health of the nation that 70-plus percent of Americans want to abolish the death tax, because they see it as fundamentally unjust. The argument that some who played at the politics of hate and envy and class division will say, 'Yes, well, that's only 2 percent,' or as people get richer 5 percent in the near future of Americans likely to have to pay that tax. I mean, that's the morality of the Holocaust. 'Well, it's only a small percentage,' you know. 'I mean, it's not you, it's somebody else.'"
"EXCUSE ME one second. Did you just...compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?"
"NO, THE morality that says it's okay to do something to a group because they're a small percentage of the population is the morality that says that the Holocaust is okay because they didn't target everybody, just a small percentage."
"SO YOU see taxes as being the terrible discrimination against the wealthy comparable to the kind of discrimination of, say, the Holocaust?
"WELL, WHAT you pick--you can use different rhetoric or different points for different purposes, and I would argue that those who say, 'Don't let this bother you; I'm only doing it'--I, the government. The government is only doing it to a small percentage of the population. That is very wrong. And it's immoral. They should treat everybody the same. They shouldn't be shooting anyone, and they shouldn't be taking half of anybody's income or wealth when they die."