Criticize Fox? Not on ABC

ABC has mysteriously "scrubbed" an upcoming episode of "Boston Legal" of all pejorative references to Fox News and O'Reilly.

By Julia Scott
Published March 10, 2005 8:26PM (EST)

Fox News may report only one side of a story, but at least critics have always had creative license to lace into the roost of Bill O'Reilly. Until now. AlterNet reports that an episode of "Boston Legal" slated to air on Sunday night on ABC has been "scrubbed" of all pejorative references to Fox News and O'Reilly. Top ABC executives heavily censored an earlier version of the script, in which a teacher calls Fox News "hate speech" and installs a "Fox Blocker" on every TV set in his school. A side-by-side comparison of the two versions of the script reveals it has been stripped of any references to the network. The Sunday episode is, ironically, about free speech.

Neither ABC nor David Kelley, the show's creator, would comment on the changes. The script also contained excerpts from "Outfoxed," an anti-Fox documentary by indie filmmaker Robert Greenwald which argues that the cable channel has an explicit conservative agenda. The "Outfoxed" excerpts will be included in the episode, although ABC would not allow Greenwald to buy ad time for his film to air during the episode. "The door has been closed in our face," said the film's distributor.

Julia Scott

San Francisco-based freelance journalist Julia Scott writes about water and energy issues for various publications. She also covers the environment for Bay Area News Group, a chain of newspapers in Northern California.

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