Now your cell phone can be fair and balanced, too

Published July 23, 2004 7:53PM (EDT)

Are you a Greta van Susteren "liberal?" Is just one hour of prime time not enough to satisfy your appetite for Bill O'Reilly? Are you concerned about the leftist bias of the liberal cell-phone establishment? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may want to invest in a Fox News ringtone.

That's right, Roger Ailes and friends have found a way to make cell-phone ringtones even more annoying. With an array of computerized cadences based on some of Fox News' most popular theme songs available for purchase, you can answer your cell and broadcast your political allegiances all at the same time. Or, on the off chance you find yourself far away from cable TV, you'll still be just a phone call away from the soothing tones of Sean Hannity's favorite jingle.

Why anyone would want to download a Fox ringtone is another matter. Imagine the flashing lights and dramatic riffs of a Fox News Alert transposed into the curiously tinny medium of the cell-phone ring. To your colleagues begging you to turn your phone off, the jumpy, muted notes of the O'Reilly Factor theme songs are just plain irritating. But to Rupert Murdoch, it's patriotism, in ringtone form.

MIDIRingTones, the company that hawks Fox's digital ditties, stands by its product. Though a spokeswoman admits it's "obviously not our top seller," "hundreds" have still taken the plunge and downloaded a fair and balanced ringtone. Is the silent majority finally speaking up, one phone call at a time? Perhaps, but don't count on the Fox Report's theme song to overtake the cell-phone version of In Da Club anytime soon.

By Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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