That Fox News Channel advertisement on the back cover is not a parody. We know it’s hard to believe, but it’s a real ad, and they paid good money to run it, too. And yes, it’s the second such ad that we’ve run (see the letters page for reactions to the first). If the ad causes you distress, we suggest that you chew a Tums, go to your television set, turn it on and change the channel to your local Fox News station. Then–turn it off! Hard! Feel better? No? Well, look at the ad again and really read it. “Real journalism,” it says. “Fair and balanced.” Are you laughing yet? Catch the quote: “America guarantees a free press… Freedom relies on a fair press…” Whom are they quoting? Voltaire? Jefferson? No, Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News. That’s the Roger Ailes who is former chief strategist for Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Bush I. Mr. Ailes, you see, comes from a good Republican background, not a good journalistic background. His boss, owner of Fox News, among many other properties, is Rupert Murdoch. Interesting fact: Every one of the papers owned by Murdoch’s News Associates is solidly in favor of war on Iraq. Compared with Murdoch, Mao Zedong, who said, “Let a hundred flowers bloom,” was a free-speech fanatic.

For the big picture on the rightward tilt of the big media, we refer you to Nation columnist Eric Alterman’s well-reviewed book What Liberal Media? As for Fox News, we have seen nothing to make us want to change Daphne Eviatar’s description in these pages (“Murdoch’s Fox News: They Distort, They Decide,” March 12, 2001): “a calculated mouthpiece for the right that remains thinly veiled behind its misleading mantra, ‘fair and balanced.'”

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Let’s welcome to the world (with hopes for a better one) Georgia Frances Reed-Stamm. Born 11:57 am, March 2, weighing in at 6 lbs., 13 oz. Congratulations to senior editor Betsy Reed and husband John Stamm. And say hello to Esther Kaplan, Betsy’s replacement while Betsy is on maternity leave.