NEW YORK Fox News Channel has sued liberal humorist Al Franken and the Penguin Group to stop them from using the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book.
Filed yesterday in Manhattan, the trademark infringement lawsuit seeks a court order forcing a Penguin publisher, Dutton books, to rename the book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.
The suit in State Supreme Court also asks for unspecified damages. Fox News registered "Fair & Balanced" as a trademark in 1995, the lawsuit says.
Franken's "intent is clear to exploit Fox News' trademark, confuse the public as to the origins of the book and, accordingly, boost sales of the book," the suit charged.
Dutton spokeswoman Lisa Johnson accused Fox News' parent company, News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch, of trying to suppress the book.
"The attempt to keep the public from reading Franken's message is un-American," she said.
The New York Times further quoted Johnson as saying, "It is extraordinary that one of the largest media corporations would take such action. In trying to suppress Al Franken's book, News Corp. is undermining First Amendment principles that protect all media by guaranteeing a free, open and vigorous debate of public issues."