August 17, 2003
Fair and Balanced: revenge of the blogs

Let's get the story straight here: Fox News sued Penguin Books and Al Franken (complaint, PDF), claiming that Franken's use of "Fair and Balanced" in the subtitle of his book, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" infringes and dilutes Fox's registered trademark in the phrase. Yes, I suppose this is an arbitrary or fanciful mark (if not downright misdescriptive), since Fox's coverage is anything but "fair and balanced."

Fox's complaint resorts to name-calling: Franken is an "increasingly unfunny" "C-level commentator"; the book "tarnishes the mark by associating the mark with Franken's sophomoric approach to political commentary."

In true web fashion, bloggers took the case up in spades, adding "fair and balanced" subtitles to hundreds of sites around the 'Net. Meanwhile, Lisa Rein archives the fair and balanced Daily Show, Jon Stewart's take on the fact-is-stranger-than-fake-news. (For more background, see Washington Post story.)

Posted by Wendy at 07:41 AM