It seems you can copyright anything these days – even if it doesn’t apply to what you do. Lisa de Moraes is reporting in her column this morning that Fox News Channel is suing Al Franken for his use of the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his new book (due next month). Fox, of course, had some very "fair and balanced" things to say about Franken: "unstable" and "shrill", "is neither a journalist nor a television news personality" (note the distinction between "journalist" and "news personality"), "his views lack any serious depth or insight".
Fox News Channel and most of its "personalities" (we must keep the distinction between them and journalists) have this annoying habit of assuming that they have sole rights to the First Amendment. They also have no sense of humor, especially when the comments are aimed at them. Al Franken is an excellent writer and satirist who targets the many stupidities of American politics and who, to my knowledge, has never claimed the mantle of journalist or "news personality". Al’s first three books were lots of fun, although not exactly complimentary to the folks Fox fawns over. The fact that they are trying to stop the publication of this new book is reason enough to buy it the day it’s released.
UPDATE:(8/13) Franken battles back!