CENSOR 2.0: Fox asked YouTube to take down Clinton’s now-infamous dressing-down of Wallace.
I missed Bill Clinton’s complete and utter demolition of Fox News Sunday’s smirking myrmidon Chris Wallace last weekend. So, like many, I logged onto YouTube Monday morning to watch it. It was there, just like I knew it would be. And it was awesome.
But it looks like I got there just in time. Logging on a day later, the page was emblazoned with blaring red text: “This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Fox News Network, LLC because its content was used without permission.” But was that really the reason? After all, if Fox is so concerned with unsanctioned misappropriation of its content, why hadn’t it requested that YouTube take down all of it? Why, when you search for “Fox News,” do as many as 1177 clips crop up? There’s Bill O’Reilly, shouting over Jeremy Glick, whose father was killed on 9/11, telling him to shut up. There’s Brit Hume, calling Lebanese people “apparent civilians.” And there’s Sean Hannity, berating his old poli-sci professor for giving him a C-plus at New York University. Why such selectivity in clip removal?
Some people have their ideas. For progressives, of course, Clinton’s bravura performance — especially when juxtaposed with Wallace’s smarmy, shrinking body language — was an embarrassment for Fox, no matter how you spin it. Blogger “Zach” (HanlonsRazor.org), who originally uploaded the clip, writes, “It’s as if they’re trying to erase the actuality of it in order to facilitate their talking heads’ distorting it.”
But, in fact, Fox’s answer may surprise you. It certainly surprised me. When reached on Tuesday, a Fox News spokesperson told the Phoenix: “Our Internet division used poor judgment in asking this to be taken down. We’re thrilled the Wallace-Clinton clip has received so many hits on YouTube.” (It’s worth noting, however, that as of Tuesday afternoon, the entirety of the Clinton interview was still not available on FoxNews.com.)
Fox may not be “fair and balanced,” but maybe — just maybe — they’ve finally figured out the value of democratized media. As of press time, the Clinton clip had been re-uploaded to YouTube, retaking its rightful place among other clips that cast the network and its anchors in a less-than-flattering light. There’s a Ned Lamont supporter sneaking a Hannity sucks ass sign behind quasi-liberal milquetoast Alan Colmes. A 1974 clip of Geraldo Rivera getting way baked, within seconds, on a couple small tokes of grass. And Shepard Smith claiming the folks from J.Lo’s block are “more likely to give her a curb job than a blow job.”
But such is the essence of viral video: it’s fair and balanced by its very nature. (In the meantime, if the Clinton clip is removed again from YouTube, look for it on GoogleVideo. It’ll be there.)