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Fox News slogan challenged

NEW YORK -- Fox News's use of the slogan "Fair and Balanced" constitutes deceptive advertising, two political advocacy groups claimed yesterday in a petition filed with the Federal Trade Commission.

Liberal and historically nonpartisan Common Cause assert that Fox News's reports are "deliberately and consistently distorted and twisted to promote the Republican Party of the US and an extreme right-wing viewpoint."

Alleging consumer fraud, the complaint calls for the FTC to order Fox News, consistently the highest-rated cable news network, to cease and desist from using the slogan.

Irena Briganti, a Fox News spokeswoman, told the Associated Press that "while this is clearly a transparent publicity stunt, we recognize all forms of free speech and wish them well."

James Kaminski, a former FTC lawyer currently practicing advertising law with Arent Fox Attorneys, sees little chance for the petition, noting that the FTC does not wade in political waters.

"Whether [Fox is] biased or not . . . it's a freedom of speech issue," he said.

But Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause, said the legal actions were consistent with the First Amendment. "Fox has no obligation under the law to be fair and balanced, just not to market itself as fair and balanced," he said.

Awards booklet has its critics

The annual meeting of the 230-member nonprofit Television Critics Association in Los Angeles turned controversial as the group became embroiled in what was described by more than one member as "a public relations disaster."

Earlier this year, the group's president, Kay McFadden, a TV columnist for the Seattle Times, and another board member began developing a 44-page color program booklet commemorating the 20th anniversary of the TCA Awards. The booklet was to be supported by ads congratulating the honorees, mostly paid for by the networks and studios. Sources said each of the six broadcast networks bought an ad for roughly $4,000 a pop.

But as word of the arrangement spread, many members were outraged, believing that accepting network ad money at least appeared to be a conflict of interest. In the end, the members passed a resolution that said the ad arrangement constituted "an ethical lapse" and directed the leadership to "apologize to the people and organizations we cover" for soliciting the money.McFadden admitted she had made a mistake in not conferring with the members, who shortly thereafter reelected her for another one-year term.


'Last Man' looks at Texas politics

Political film junkies going through withdrawal after "Fahrenheit 9/11" won't want to miss "Last Man Standing," an absorbing, funny, often depressing portrait of the 2002 race between Republican Texas state legislator Rick Green and his young challenger, Patrick Rose. This up-close-and-personal portrait of a horse race in which tactics, not principles, are all-important was made by Paul Stekler, who in 1996 codirected the award-winning PBS special "Vote for Me: Politics in America." In many ways, "Last Man Standing" is like a chapter from that film, featuring some of the wackier elements of Texas political culture as well as commentary from veteran observers of it. The 90-minute film will be shown on the PBS program "P.O.V." at 10 tonight, on Channel 44.


Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on "Around the Globe" today on NECN:
* 9:30 a.m.: "Talk of New England"
* 12:30 p.m.: "Globe at Home" -- the Globe's classical music writer, Richard Dyer, and Nancy Zeltsman, artistic director of Boston Marimba Festival.
* 4 p.m. "Around the Globe"
* 6:30 p.m.: "New England Business Day"
* 8 p.m.: "NewsNight" Schedule is subject to change.


Noon: BostonWorks Savvy Manager Mary Helen Gillespie discusses workplace disruptions during the DNC.

Talk of the dial

6 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) -- "Early Exchange." Guest: Scott Daniels, "WBIX BostonWorks Hiring Squad," job search in software engineering.
7 p.m. WBZ-AM (1030) -- "David Brudnoy Show." Guests: Charlie Baker, Harvard Pilgrim; Peter Meade, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

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