US senator and filmmaker open campaign against Fox News

Robert Greenwald, Sen. Bernie Sanders condemn station as warmonger in on-line video; media observer: Film lacks balance and credibility.

fox attacks 224.88 (photo credit:
fox attacks 224.88
(photo credit:
Condemning the Fox News Channel as a warmonger that is agitating for a US attack on Iran, documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald and US Senator Bernie Sanders announced an "online viral video campaign" Wednesday calling on television news organizations "not to follow Fox down the road to war again." Greenwald, the director behind "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" and "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," has compiled a new three-minute video that mashes clips from Fox's coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its aftermath with recent coverage of possible US military action against Iran. The video and an accompanying "open letter" to ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC and CNN - viewable at - urge news organizations to ask tough questions about administration policy on Iran and say citizens should pressure them to do so. Three telephone messages to Fox in New York seeking comment were not returned Wednesday. One media observer said the video lacked balance and journalistic credibility. "They are accusing others of doing what they have done, which is to stitch together multiple snippets of video and very short sound bites to make an ideological argument," said Bob Steele, the Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at the Poynter Institute school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Take this as one small piece of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle in the larger scheme of things," he said. The video has clips of US Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, Fox host Bill O'Reilly and others warning of the potential for a US war against Iran, spliced together with graphics that say "Sound Familiar?" and "Other networks followed Fox's lead on Iraq." In one clip, CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour says during an interview that CNN was intimidated by the administration "and its foot soldiers at Fox News." "We felt it important right now to raise awareness and ask the media to please ask the hard questions, before it's too late," said Greenwald. "We've focused on TV because they are the ones who have the greatest, quickest input. But over time, we will be asking and expanding this to all media. In a conference call announcing the campaign, Greenwald and Sanders, a Vermont independent, said they do not have answers about what to do about Iran, but said they fear the White House will make a unilateral decision to attack. "We have got to put pressure on the mass media not to play the same craven role they played in Iraq, when they effectually collapsed and became a megaphone for Bush's policies," Sanders said. "What Robert is saying here is that the leader of that effort is Fox News, which in many ways is simply a propaganda machine for the Republican Party and the Bush administration."