A long, long time ago, I called the Kitchener Public Library website one of the most garish on the planet. I was a little surprised when a librarian at one of the Kitchener Library branches recognized my name and mentioned my criticism. It was the first time that my blog had been publicly recognized.
Well, maybe my criticisms stung a little, because the KPL has, for some time now, operated with a new, slick and user-friendly website. It’s really quite a step up on the old one. Good work, guys!
Fair and Balanced Utterly Without Merit
The wacky lawsuit launched by Fox News against columnist Al Franken has been laughed out of court. Fox News, which attempted to trademark the simple phrase “fair and balanced” back in 1998, sued Al Franken for trademark infringement for attempting to title his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
While the book’s title is a fairly obvious swipe at Fox News’ slogan and their biased coverage of the news, the precident of trademarking three simple words was probably considered dangerous, as the judge replied that Fox’s claims were “utterly without merit” and denied them an injunction that would have stopped the cover’s publication.
And it was a dangerous and stupid thing for Fox News to do; it took copyright law way beyond any sensible boundary. What right does any news agency have to stop any other from describing themselves as fair and balanced — that’s supposed to be the tenents of journalism itself. And if you’re going to sue Al Franken for his expose, why stop there? The lawsuit provoked a rash of blogs (on all sides of the spectrum) labelling themselves “fair and balanced” as a dare to Fox to come and take the news to them.
And, in the end, Fox ended up damaging its own credibility, and giving their “enemy” the very publicity that they would rather he not have. Commenting on their decision to drop the lawsuit, Fox News spokeswoman Irena Steffen said, “It’s time to return Al Franken to the obscurity that he’s normally accustomed to.” Gee, bitter much?
So, we have a supposedly fair and balanced news source with the maturity of a schoolyard bully, and not even the intelligence to realize that their action wasn’t going to go down the way they like. One wonders just how anybody can trust this news source anymore.
Tom Tomorrow has an assessment of this situation that I think is “fair and balanced”.
Seeking a True Third Way?
“The Right wanted to increase the role of the market. The Left wanted to increase the role of the state. Together, Left and Right supervised the steady expansion of both market and state for a century. But as market and state have grown, the space available for civil society has contracted. Its output of belonging, community and trust has diminished. With the output of trust spiralling downwards, cynicism and detachment have spiralled upwards.”