Fabio: “You go down to the library, it’s like Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s like, sex drugs and rock & roll”
Tucker: “In the library?!?”
Fabio: “In the library!”
So Roger Friedman is this sort of bottom-feeding entertainment writer who Fox News has been syndicating for awhile. Finally he does something useful and posts a review of the leaked and torrented unfinisd print of the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” movie, and he’s got entertard bloggers calling for his head. Typical of the genre is Josh Tyler’s junior high school-esque rant,
What’s strange and incredibly frustrating for someone attempting to retain his site’s independence, is that if you slap big corporate ownership on something, it instantly elevates it to respectable institution. Maybe we indie-sites deserve to be treated like gutter rats, but if we do then so do the big corporate, mainstream print and internet crowd which spends so much of its time looking down its collective nose at the rest of us.
Never has that been more evident than today when Fox News reporter Roger Friedman posted a review, on FoxNews’s website, of the recently pirated, illegal copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Take just a moment to let the implications of that sink in, and then while you’re at it consider this: The normally fractured, opportunistic, greedy, independent online community has shockingly, united as whole, and refused to review the film. Not only has almost every even marginally respectable website and blog refused to review it, most have come out with strong commentary against the viewing of it, decrying the illegal downloading of Fox’s upcoming summer blockbuster as blatantly immoral. Some have done so even in the face of backlash from their generally pro-piracy readers. In response Fox’s hard-working public relations departments have issued statements asking for the online community’s support, praising indie-run sites like this one for coming out against the illegal pirating of Wolverine, and asking us to stand up and refuse to download or discuss it.
. . .
So who caved? Not the internet crowd, not the independently owned bloggers so often decried as the scum of web society. Fox’s own FoxNews. The same Fox begging for sympathy over the pirating of their big movie. While the hard working (and well-intentioned) 20th Century Fox PR staff asked for restraint and cooperation, on the other side of the company someone decided to take advantage of the buzz on their film to greedily increase traffic to their website while at the same time, by their willingness to run a review from someone who illegally downloaded it, further promote the spread of the very Wolverine downloads which Fox claims are bankrupting the movie industry. Worst of all, Roger Friedman not only illegally downloaded the movie and then reviewed it publicly, he then all but endorsed the idea of others doing the same saying: “I did see Wolverine on a large, wide computer screen, and not in a movie theater, but it could not have played better.”
ROTFLMAO. See what Friedman did is what real journalists do. Whether Fox or anybody else likes it, “Wolverine” is out there and people are watching it. Whether or not its any good is something people like myself are curious about and even an early version can help clarify that issue.
Tyler’s “see no torrent; hear no torrent; speak of no torrent” acquiesence with Fox is absurd. Maybe if he wants “indie” film websites to be taken seriously, he might want to put a stop to the public fellating of Fox’s public relations department.
Personally, I hail Roger Friedman for doing something that apparently these “independent” sites would never think of doing — going beyond being a simple extension of big studio public relations departments.
Update: A commenter over at ScreenRant sums up my thoughts on this,
Michael J said,April 5th, 2009
Roger Friedman has a set of brass ones. Good for him for not being a toadie of the film industry. Unlike 99% of the so called critics and film websites.
According to The New York Daily News, comedian Harry Shearer played an audiotape on his Le Show (which is available via podcast format) of Sean Hannity up to his usual tricks on Hannity & Colmes.
On March 31, Hannity & Colmes featured two women who had formerly worked as nurses taking care of Terri Schiavo. Both of the women claimed that Schiavo was not in a persistent vegetative state and made the absurd claim that Schiavo said things like, “Help me, mother.” When Hannity pointed out that the judge said they weren’t credible, the nurses launched into the patented right-wing attack on Judge Greer.
Anyway, Shearer played a tape of Hannity talking to the two women during commercial breaks. According to the Daily News (emphasis added),
Between commercials, according to an off-air audiotape obtained by investigative comedian Harry Shearer for last Sunday’s episode of his weekly radio program, “Le Show,” Hannity coached the women on exactly how to respond when liberal co-host Alan Colmes cross-examined them.
“Just say, ‘I’m here to tell what I saw,'” Hannity can be heard instructing his guests. “No matter what the question, ‘I’m here to tell you what I saw. I’m here to tell you what I saw.'”
Hannity adds helpfully: “Say, ‘I’m not going to be distracted by silliness.’ How’s that? Does that help you? Look into that camera. Look at me when I’m talking.”
On the air, Iyer performs beautifully. “I don’t have any opinions or judgments. I was there,” she declares
After the segment ends, Hannity gushes off the air to the nurses: “We got the points out. It’s hard, this isn’t easy. But you did great, both of you. Thank you, guys. Those nurses are powerful, aren’t they?”
On his radio show, Shearer injected: “Yeah, especially when they do what you tell ’em to do. Very powerful when they follow instructions from the host!”
Gee, why didn’t Hannity just hand Iyer a script beforehand?
Fox News host: Repeat after me. The New York Daily News, April 15, 2005.
The New Republic has an article about the Dan Rather dustup in which Telis Demos claims the following,
If this last offense sounds familiar, it’s because the right-wing media does it all the time. In February 2004, for instance, Fox News broadcasters Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, and John Gibson all showed a photo of John Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda on a podium at an anti-Vietnam War rally in the 1970s. It turns out the photo was fake. Did hordes of media critics demand retractions from Hume, Hannity, and Gibson? Of course not. As a result, it seems likely that plenty of voters continue to believe the picture was real.
Did this really happen, though? I searched through all of the transcripts of Fox News programs on Lexis and I couldn’t find any time when this faked picture was shown as if it were real. The photo was definitely shown on Fox News by Brit Hume, but not in the context that Demos claims. On February 15, 2004, Chris Wallace discussed the photo on Fox News Sunday,
WALLACE: Juan mentions that there was dirt being loaded on John Kerry. It was also being loaded on him about his opposition to the war in Vietnam after he came back as a war hero.
And I want to show you some fascinating pictures. Let’s put up the first one, if we can. There is a picture of Jane Fonda, a famous anti-war activist, in the foreground. And way back in the back, fuzzy, no sign that they were anywhere close together — and I must say, two years before Jane Fonda actually went to Hanoi and became Hanoi Jane — at a rally.
WALLACE: And this was put out as some indication that they were in lock step.
And then, when that sort of fell flat, another picture was seen on the Internet showing, well, they’re not now far apart, they’re actually right together on the podium, John Kerry and Jane Fonda. There is only one problem with that picture, it was a fake. Jane Fonda was digitally added. The photo agency that owns the picture says this is the original, John Kerry by himself.
Ceci, I guess the question is, with the length of this campaign — it looks now we could be talking about eight months between Kerry and George W. Bush — and all the things, either rumors or bogus pictures that could be circulated on the Internet, are we headed for something we’ve never seen before?
I found one example where Hannity mentioned a photo on his show (not with Brit Hume, though) where it was unclear which photo Hannity was referring too, though I suspect it was the photo of Kerry sitting several rows back at an event where Fonda spoke. But the only time the fake photo is mentioned on Brit Hume’s show that I could find is to dismiss it as a fake.
Demos isn’t very helpful since he just says “February 2004.” Does anyone else know if Fox ran the photo as real (if they did, it would be interesting to track how long it took them to acknowledge the fact that it was fake).
Forge Ahead. Telis Demos, New Republic, September 15, 2004.
So last night I had the television on for background noise because the wife and kids were still in Tennessee visiting her sister. I really wasn’t paying attention until I heard Bill O’Reilly launch into his hilarious Talking Points Memo trying to justify Fox’s lawsuit against Al Franken’s book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
I should say that I can’t stand Franken. His book about Rush Limbaugh was almost as pathetic and annoying as Limbaugh’s own books. It is disturbing that people like Franken, Ann Coulter, Limbaugh, and Michael Moore can move so many books.
The title of Franken’s book, however, is clever — a bit too clever for Fox which is suing the comedian arguing that the book infringes on its trademark for the phrase “Fair and Balanced.” Not only is this a frivolous lawsuit, but it is a stupid public relations move by Fox. Could there be more of a whiney liberal thing to do than sue somebody who says mean things about you and mercilessly parodies you?
And Bill O’Reilly just compounded that problem with a ridiculous monologue that was laugh-out-loud funny,
The main point here is that trying to hurt a business or a person because you disagree with what they say is simply unacceptable in America. And that message has been sent by FOX. There’s a principle in play. Vigorous debate is embraced by us, but smear campaigns will be confronted. It is simply a joke for The New York Times to editorialize that fabricated personal attacks are acceptable under the banner of satire.
Mommy, Al’s using satire again. Make him stop!
You can’t try to hurt a business or person simply because you disagree with what they say? Then what the hell was O’Reilly’s campaign to get Ludacris fired as a Pepsi spokesman about about? Apparently O’Reilly can dish it out, he just can’t take it.
It gets funnier on the satire issue,
I wonder if The Times thought that Donald Sagretti was funny when he manufactured dirt to hurt Richard Nixon’s political opponents. I guess The Times editorial board would be yucking it up if their pictures appeared on a book cover accompanied by the word “liar.” Satire, my butt.
Just in case it isn’t clear, O’Reilly here is actually claiming that Franken is guilty of defamation for calling O’Reilly and others at Fox liars. Of course this is the same O’Reilly who called Franken an idiot. I suspect a judge in either case would find that each charge is true and therefore not subject to libel or slander statutes. (It’s not like you have to dig especially hard to find instances of O’Reilly dissembling or Franken acting like an idiot.)
And what would a pointless rant be without an absurd finish that cites a well known authority about how to deal with one’s opponents,
But once again, that’s not the issue here. The point is accountability. We are shining a spotlight on the haters and the enablers. You can decide if that spotlight is aimed in the right direction.
Talking Points cannot understand how people could side with the defamers and their pals. But it’s important to know just who these people are. For as Don Corleone once said, “kept your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
Okay, when you start pulling Godfather quotes into the mix, you’ve really gone off the deep end. The effect of watching O’Reilly deliver this speech was to question his mental stability. He looked and sounded like someone who was on the verge of losing it — and all because of an insult by a nobody like Al Franken. God forbid Dana Carvey says anything mean about O’Reilly!
The Best Defense Is a Good Offense. Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, August 14, 2003.
Robin Wallace has a commentary on the Fox News web site about whether or not the media should name the accuser in rape cases such as Kobe Bryant’s. I wonder if Wallace shouldn’t first do a bit more research before writing about the topic. According to Wallace,
Opponents of rape shield laws also argue that victims of other crimes are publicly identified, and that all crime victims make a choice to endure the always painful and difficult experience of the legal process when reporting the crime. Advocates argue that other crimes donÂ’t carry the stigma of rape, and that identifying these victims would stop many women from reporting rapes and sexual assaults.
. . .
Even in a town as small as Eagleton, Colo., — just 3,500 residents — where everyone supposedly already knew who the victim was anyway–they got it wrong. The Kobe Bryant case is actually making the case for rape shield lawsÂ—exhibiting in full ugly reality what happens when the identity of a rape victim is not protected.
Rape shield laws have nothing to do with whether or not the media can publish the name of the accuser. Rape shield laws, instead, govern what sort of information can be introduced at trial about the accuser, especially related to her sexual history. As Vail Daily summed up Colorado’s rape shield law,
The Colorado Rape Shield Statute provides, in relevant part, that evidence of specific instances of the victim’s or a witness’ prior or subsequent sexual conduct, as well as reputation evidence of the victim’s or a witness’ sexual conduct, shall be presumed to be irrelevant except in specifically identified circumstances. Irrelevant evidence is not admissible.
Any law that outright banned the media from naming the accuser in a criminal case would almost certainly be unconstitutional. The media generally don’t name accusers based on their own judgment that it’s generally not newsworthy (though there are occasional exceptions).
The only thing Wallace makes a case for is Fox giving her time off until she comes to the realization that she needs to actually understand a topic before writing about it.
Update: I received an e-mail pointing out that a number of states do have Rape Confidentiality Laws, sometimes included as part of their rape shield laws. First, Wallace was writing specifically about the Kobe Bryant case and Colorado has no such provision to my knowledge. Second, rape shield laws generally refer only to laws shielding testimony, not to confidentiality. Third, the reason more states don’t have confidentiality provisions is that the Supreme Court has already ruled them unconstitutional. A state can order that court records mentioning the name of a victim be kept secret, but a state cannot forbid or punish the media for publishing the name of the victim in a rape case.
No Justice Gained by Outing Rape Victims. Robin Wallace, Fox News, August 1, 2003.