Tomorrow afternoon, "members and supporters" of MoveOn.org and Brave New Films will deliver petitions bearing more than 200,000 signature to the offices of NBC News in New York City and ABC News in Washington, DC, urging them to refrain from repeating the smear rhetoric of the Fox News Channel.
According to the press release, the petition reads: "FOX is a Republican mouthpiece, not a legitimate news organization. Real news organizations must reject FOX's smears of Barack Obama, not parrot them and distract Americans from the pressing issues of the day." Similar petitions will subsequently be delivered to CNN and CBS as well.
The joint effort between MoveOn and Brave New Films stems from a recent video from the latter organization. Titled "FOX Attacks Obama, Part 2 - the Virus Spreads," the short film cites numerous instances of Fox News Channel personalities defaming Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and, from these origins, traces the way Fox's language has ended up in the mouths of reporters and program hosts from the other networks. ""The video and petition describe a problem that happens over and over," says Brave New Films' Robert Greenwald, "FOX airs smears against Democrats, and other media repeat it as if FOX is anything more than a Republican mouthpiece."
While the video in question features the treatment of Obama as its target, the aims of MoveOn and Brave New Films are larger, noting that "In 2004, FOX drove the now-discredited Swift Boats story, which ultimately dominated other networks for weeks and altered that important election."
Still, the focus on Obama dovetails with recent events. Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace, aggrieved that Obama refuses to appear on the network, began an "Obama Watch" two weeks ago. There was a moment last week where it appeared that Wallace might have realized that the deceit and abuse his network heaps on the candidate might be a major reason why Obama has been loathe to come on the network: the Fox News Sunday anchor dressed his Fox And Friends colleagues down after they indulged in a prolonged period of "Obama bashing." Wallace has since tried to walk back those comments, saying, "I'm not sure I'd do that again."