Editor's Notes at EditorsNotes.com

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Britney Spears: Not a Drunkard

In the paper's apparently weekly front-page satire feature, the New York Post ran a story Thursday titled "Britney hits the bottle." An accompanying photo showed Britney Spears chugging what is now believed to be a mini-bottle of Ginseng, while the Post reported that it "appears to be booze." Spears is threatening a lawsuit.
Outfoxed: The Lawsuit

In Fox News's failed lawsuit against Al Franken, judge Denny Chin said that Fox's trademark "Fair and Balanced" is weak because of its wide use in the public marketplace.

A group of liberal organizations is now trying to challenge Fox's trademark, but they're not just arguing that it's not a valid trademark. According to legal documents obtained by Cablenewser, they're arguing that Fox shouldn't be able to use the phrase at all, asserting that Fox is not fair and balanced.

Meanwhile, Editor's Notes is preparing its own lawsuit against the network, arguing that while Fox does indeed report on many things, we very rarely make any decisions regarding said reports. It's a shame that we're the first to say it, but Fox's blatantly dishonest "We Report, You Decide" campaign has got to be stopped.
New Convention Correspondent Announced
With all the networks cutting down on their convention coverage, you knew someone would have to fill that void.
NY Times thinks it inadequately challenged Iraqi WMD claims; E&P comments, Der Spiegel reprints ... Senate may avoid Nielsen spat; Nielsen takes swipe at Fox ... ChriSci cuts costs with aim of cutting ties to Church ... Shreveport paper may follow Lexington's lead in criticizing its civil rights coverage ... AP coninues to seek Bush military records ... Alt weeklies confront online competition.
Dirty Liberals Threaten Fox's 'Fair & Balanced' Trademark

Those Michael Moore-loving communists who brought you Outfoxed are now planning to sue Fox News Channel. Cablenewser thinks he's on to their plan:

Exclusive: MoveOn.org and Common Cause will announce "two major legal actions" against FOX News -- and now we have a hint at what they are. Two specific issues will be addressed by the legal actions. The trademark "Fair and Balanced" will be challenged at the Federal Trade Commission, CableNewser hears. And the other issue relates to elections. In the film, Greenwald claims that FOX is an extension of the Republican party. Could they be complaining to the FEC...? Details will be released at 10am Monday. (Hat tip: Johnny Dollar)

We're not too sure about the sourcing here. "CableNewser hears?" "Hat tip: Johnny Dollar?" What is this, an above-the-fold Times story?
AP: Movin' on Down

The AP is on the move. Sure, their new offices may be larger and all on one floor, but suddenly working at the AP seems much less cool to us.

Also, our tip to AP employees: try not to catch fire.
O'Reilly vs. Franken: God's Gift to Media Critics

Bill O'Reilly has argued, strongly, that he is not behind Fox News's failed lawsuit against Al Franken's book, "Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them." He asserts that it was Fox News's lawsuit, not his.

O'Reilly appears to have a lawsuit of his own in mind, however. Specifically, he asks:

Some of those smear books that are written here are being sold in London. Can I go over there and sue those people over there? Because I can't win here. Can I go over there and sue? Because I'll go.

We can only pray.
Robert Novak Offers Editorial Advice

Robert Novak agrees with us, that unsubstantiated rumors probably shouldn't receive front-page, above-the-fold placement in the New York Times:

NOVAK: Of course, this is a ridiculous rumor. [...] For "The New York Times" to run this kind of a story -- this is a tabloid story, a rumor that there's no basis for, and put it on page one, that just shows that -- the dregs that "The Times" has gone to.


NOVAK [to HUNT]: Would you have run that? You're an executive at "The Wall Street Journal." Would you have run that story in "The Journal"? Yes or no!

HUNT: I think you run a story pointing out that there is great speculation on...

NOVAK: Would you have run that story?

HUNT: Well, wait a minute. Do I get a chance to answer? Mr. Prosecutor?


NOVAK: You didn't answer it.


HUNT: I did. I will.


NOVAK: I'd still like to get an answer from...


HUNT: Bob! Bob! Bob! We're going to turn up the hearing aide...

NOVAK: Would you run that story? Yes or no?

HUNT: No, Mr. Prosecutor, stop for a second. You got an answer. I already said in the beginning, apparently you couldn't hear -- I already said I thought it was a perfectly legitimate story.

NOVAK: You would have run it?

HUNT: I might have run it differently, but I would have run the story. Yes, Bob. You know something? If you had ever been an editor, you would have, either, but I'm not sure you ever were an editor.

To review, New York Times editors, if you're ever in a quandary about whether an item is "fit to print," you can always seek the guidance of Robert Novak, the columnist who exposed the identity of an undercover CIA operative for no apparent journalistic purpose.

(You can always call us, too.)