“Some people say”

Outfoxed contains a scene claiming to expose a “Fox News technique” of using the phrase “some people say” as a way to “insert unsourced opinion into news briefs.”  To prove this allegation, a montage follows showing with Fox anchors and commentators (though no distinction is made between the two by Outfoxed) using the phrase.

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Peter Hart of the left wing media watchdog FAIR, says on screen that “Journalistically it’s a very peculiar technique because the idea behind journalism is that you’re sourcing who you’re referring to. This is just sort of a clever way of inserting political opinion when you know it probably shouldn’t be there.”

The montage however is guilty of using exactly the technique it is expressing outrage over as its lack of context for any of the clips allows Greenwald to “insert unsourced opinion” into a supposedly factual presentation.

Outfoxed provides none of the context for almost all of the examples, and only limited context for others, and provides no evidence or argument beyond the flat statement that this technique is used by


FALSE PORTRAYAL AS A FOX NEWS TECHNIQUE

Despite portraying this “Fox News technique” as being a uniquely Fox tactic, the film offers no evidence that Fox News uses “some people say” more than any other news outlet.

Brent Bozell notes that this complaint “might have merit – if [Director] Greenwald would also consider that this device is used by every other single news network as a way of questioning politicians”.

In fact, a simple Google search reveals the use of the phrase across network lines:

NBC – Katie Couric: you know some people say Hollywood folks should stick to acting.”

PBS – Elizabeth Farnsworth: Some people say this is the greatest American play.

PBS – Jim Lehrer: Well, some people say that it doesn’t look like to the innocent observer…

CNN – Elizabeth Cohen: And some people say, look, when you look at the statistics…

CNN – Nic Robertson: Some people saying yes, they’re dead, ashamed that the coalition forces killed them

MSNBC – Joe Scarborough: Well, Dee Dee, some people say that Richard Clarke doesn‘t have a political agenda.

NBC – Matt Lauer: Some people say that’s what you’ve done.

A search of ABC News alone turned up 202 results for “some people say” and an additional 1,756 results for the shorter “some say”.

  • Credit Card Pain: Some Say Goodbye to Fixed Rates
  • Before Approving a Second Stimulus Plan, Some Say Spend the First $787 Billion Properly
  • First Hispanic Justice? Some Say It Was Cardozo
  • Foreclosure Report: Some say the recession is over, but number of homes in foreclosure grows.
  • Money Matters (05.13.09) – Some say the recession is over, but number of homes in foreclosure grows.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s war of words with the CIA may not be fully over as the speaker’s allies seize on comments made by CIA Director Leon Panetta that some say could vindicate her charge
  • Holocaust Shooting Signals Race Turmoil, Some Say
  • Some Say It’s OK for Girls to Go Wild
  • Some Say GM, Chrysler Should Stop Lobbying
  • GMA Gets Answers: Private Medicaid HMOs – Some say they struggle to get care with Medicaid HMOs.
  • Some say it’s unhealthy for girls to indulge in princess fantasies.

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