July 1, 2005
Chairman and CEO
Fox News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036
Dear Mr. Ailes:
I am writing to demand that Fox News Channel remove C. Boyden Gray from his position as a Supreme Court analyst. Gray's involvement as a leading player in the coming Supreme Court nomination battle makes him an inappropriate choice to serve as an analyst for Fox News, and Fox's failure to disclose Gray's conflict of interest to its viewers only compounds the problem.
In its initial coverage of the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Fox News featured extended commentary by Gray, identifying him only as a "Fox Supreme Court Analyst." But this does not fully inform Fox News viewers of Gray's involvement in the Supreme Court fight.
Gray is founder and chairman of the Committee for Justice, a group formed to advance the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees. In a May 24 profile of Gray, The Washington Post reported: "Every Monday morning for months, veteran Washington lawyer C. Boyden Gray has plotted strategy via a conference call with the heads of groups that want to ease the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees. He has also spent many hours raising millions of dollars for the cause." The Committee for Justice has stated its intention to shape the way the media cover the nomination of a new justice. "Our goal is to not let their analysis or spin become defining, and put them on the defensive," group spokesman Sean Rushton told the Post in a June 29 article.
Given the Committee for Justice's position and its stated intent of influencing the Supreme Court confirmation process and news coverage of the nominee, allowing Gray to appear unidentified as a commentator on the subject makes a mockery of Fox's claim to provide "fair and balanced" news.
In order to rectify this situation, Fox News should immediately cease using C. Boyden Gray as a "Supreme Court Analyst."
President and CEO
Media Matters for America