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Simpsons Parody the Bashing of Democrats

"Simpsons' creator Matt Groening is threatened with a suit by news station Fox News, according to the Independent.. Politics is obviously involved. A rightwing station like Fox News that describes itself as fair and balanced doesn't consider ridiculing its balanced fairness as witty..Pointless news crawls up 37 percent... Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at foxnews.com." translated from the German
Simpsons Parody the Bashing of Democrats

Fox News Threatens to Sue Fox Entertainment

By Michaela Simon

[This article originally published October 29, 2003 in the cyber journal Telepolis is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,
 http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/co/15966/1.html.]

Simpsons' creator Matt Groening is threatened with a suit by news station Fox News, according to the Independent [1].

That Fox and its syndicate members enjoy legal suits is not a surprise. But is legal annoyance provoked by different parties in the same house? The Simpsons run on Fox Entertainment. Since the first episodes, the media empire and its boss Rupert Murdoch have patiently endured the criticism.

What caused the sudden humorlessness toward a product that gives the corporation regular commercial revenues? Politics is obviously involved. A rightwing broadcast station like Fox News (cf. False Assumptions [2]) that describes itself as fair and balanced obviously doesn't consider ridiculing its balanced fairness as witty [3]. In the critical episode, a Fox News Crawl ran with the following content in the bottom margin of the screen:

Pointless news crawls up 37 percent... Do Democrats cause cancer? Find out at foxnews.com... Rupert Murdoch: Terrific dancer... Dow down 5000 points... Study: 92 percent of Democrats are gay... JFK posthumously joins Republican Party... Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple...

The parody of the anti-democrat bating continues uncensored despite the legal threats. However according to Groening, Fox has introduced a new rule for the future that no news-sticker may crawl through on the Simpsons. The reason according to Fox is that the viewer could be confused and mistake the fake as the real news. Nothing is mentioned about a legal threat from Fox News.

homepage: homepage: http://www.mbtranslations.com
address: address: http://www.toostupidtobepresident.com


This'll only make the Simpsons more popular 11.Nov.2003 10:43

Adammonte9000 adammonte9000@aol.com

Fox News is great at helping people's careers. Look at Al Franken. Fox News was gonna sue him for using "Fair and Balanced" in the title of his book. And what happened? The book skyrocketed to #1, and no suit was ever filled. Fox News is just embarrassing themselves and proving how pathetic they are.

Will Krusty Be The Next Target?? 11.Nov.2003 11:35

North Portlander

Fox News has no sense of humor. What's really scary is the idea that they apparently believe someone out there might mistake the Simpson's humorous "crawl" for actual news. Not that I believe that's the real reason . . .

make sure you get your facts straight 11.Nov.2003 12:32

fact checker

Especially when they're this funny: Fox News did indeed file a suit and went to court and got laughed out of court. Check out Franken's speech that was carried by Democracy Now for more info. Being sued was the best thing that could've happened to Franken, and it will probably be the best thing to happen to the Simpsons. It's funny to watch Fox sue itself though; that's just priceless.

Don't Let the Facts Get In The Way of A Good Story 11.Nov.2003 13:24

meow

Oh, those humorless rightwingers! They hate free speech. And hippies! Especially hippy cartoonists! Rupert Murdoch is Montgomery Burns and he's releasing the hounds on those poor little animators....
... Except it's not true. Groening was uh ... kidding. I know it's hard to tell with Terry Gross. She tends to take everyone a little too seriously (especially a certain member of KISS). But the day after the Fresh Air interview, the Simpsons released this : "Matt was being satirical and certainly there was never any issue between the show and Fox News. We regret any confusion." Funny story though.

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44898-2003Oct30.html

now that's funny 11.Nov.2003 17:33

allen

look at you guys, jumping all over this story. you all get "C's" for fact-checking.

Hey Fact Checker 11.Nov.2003 17:51

Grammar Checker

Addammonte states "The book skyrocketed to #1, and no suit was ever filled. " Because of the spelling error, Addammonte's statement is correct becuase no law suit was ever "filled," a lawsuit was "filed," as you correctly state. I appologize for my use of the passive voice, however the context of Addammonte's original post required me to do so in order that I coney my message to you by mimicking Addammonte's context.

did you critics even read the stories? 11.Nov.2003 18:02

reader

"Fox News, however, denies reports that they ever threatened to sue."

Well, everyone must be wrong. I mean if Faux News says that they didn't threaten to sue we should believe them. It's not like they've sued people for calling their biases into question in the form of satire in the past... oh wait...

In any case, this story circulating through the entertainment "news" shows how ludicrously far from journalism corporate media can be. The story depends entirely on what source you read.

One source: "Fox News, however, denies reports that they ever threatened to sue."

Another source: "FNC denied that a lawsuit was ever considered..."

And another one: "Fox spokesman Robert Zimmerman voiced surprise at Mr. Groening's comments, saying the network had never considered legal action."

So, are they actually denying that they threatened to sue, or are they denying that they would have seriously considered suing? Those are 2 entirely different things. Apparently there was a flurry of activity from the Fox News legal team leading to the shows statement.

Also note that Fox did not deny that ". . . 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."

My guess is that there was a threat, but a hollow one given how Fox's lawyers were laughed out of court on the "Fair and Balanced" lawsuit which was found to be "wholly without merit."

Read the story 11.Nov.2003 19:22

Meow

The article states that The Simpsons (not Fox) released a statement saying, "Matt was being satirical and certainly there was never any issue between the show and Fox News. We regret any confusion."

I'll say it again for the benefit of the rest of the class: There. was never. any issue. between the show. and Fox News.

Fox doesn't own The Simpsons. If both sides wanted it that way, The Simpsons can go to another network. It's got enough of a following and a hi$tory that the show does not have to kiss the network's ass.

do some further reading 12.Nov.2003 00:52

simpsons fan

Fox doesn't own "the Simpsons" but they do have a contract. And, in the words of Lionel Hutz, "But I ask you, what is a contract? Webster's defines it as "an agreement under the law which is unbreakable." Which is unbreakable! Excuse me, I must use the restroom." In any case, it's not like the show can just move to another network and Fox does have plenty of control (though I agree with Groening, for such a popular show it would be stupid for Fox to do anything). Personally, I don't doubt Groening's claim (remember there's quite a difference between Groening and "the show") but I'll reserve judgment until he says something else about it.

Contract is a Contract 12.Nov.2003 10:51

Meow

A contract is a MUTUAL agreement. If The Simpsons people weren't happy at Fox the show would be free to go to another network once the contract expires.