FTC Shies Away from ‘Fair and Balanced’ Flap

Fox News Channel’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan is under fire, but don’t look for the Federal Trade Commission to pour on any gasoline.

Two advocacy groups -- liberal MoveOn.org and nonpartisan Common Cause -- filed a petition with the FTC Monday claiming that Fox News’ reporting was “deliberately and consistently distorted and twisted to promote the Republican Party of the U.S. and an extreme right-wing viewpoint,” AP reported.

The two groups asked the commission to prevent the network from using its slogan.

However, FTC chairman Timothy J. Muris indicated later Monday that he and his agency were not on board, AP reported.

“I am not aware of any instance in which the Federal Trade Commission has investigated the slogan of a news organization,” Muris said in a prepared statement. “There is no way to evaluate this petition without evaluating the content of the news at issue. That is a task the First Amendment leaves to the American people, not a government agency.”

“Fox has no obligation under the law to be fair and balanced, just not to market itself as fair and balanced," Common Cause president Chellie Pingree told AP.

Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti told AP, “while this is clearly a transparent publicity stunt, we recognize all forms of free speech and wish them well.”