How do you annoy the maximum number of Liberal blogs with minimal effort? If you're Fox News, all you have to do is shut down the YouTube channel that supplies them with infuriating O'Reilly Factor clips. They did this today!
Spend even a few minutes on a politically-inclined blog that leans to the left, and you'll spot the little red-and-white "News1News" logo (above) attached to the upper-left corner a YouTube clip, usually of Glenn Beck ranting hilariously or otherwise being horrible. News1News specializes in capturing and uploading Fox bloviator's most outrageous statements for all of eternity. And each day, we bloggers—from the Huffington Post, Mediaite, Truthdig, Gawker, etc.—plucked newsworthy clips from News1News' Youtube channel, surrounded them with our words, and put them on our sites. (In fact, Mediaite's feature "Your Moment of Glenn" is all News1News clips.) From all this blog love, News1News videos had more than 20 million cumulative views by the time it was shut down. It was the simple, convenient way to stoke Liberal ire!
But today, it appears that Fox News determined it was time to close this one-stop Liberal blog fodder shop: They sent more than 150 DMCA takedown notices to YouTube regarding Fox News clips on the News1News channel, said the channel's proprietor, John. (John, a doctor living in Washington, DC, didn't want his last name used.) This put the channel well over YouTube's controversial "three-strike" copyright violation limit. News1News was shut down, and John was inundated with emails from caffeine-addled bloggers asking, frantically, "what happened!?"
Because, now, if you try to watch Hannity's infamous apology to Jon Stewart on the Huffington Post, or Michael Jackson's "ghost" on Gawker, or Glenn Beck saying dumb stuff on Truthdig, you will only see "This Video is no longer available due to copyright claim by Fox News LLC". (SPOOKY!!)
Which, granted, these clips did belong to Fox, and they were well in their rights to have them taken down, as specified by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. So how do we know this is a politically-motivated move by Fox to hinder the liberal blogosphere's ability to make fun of them? Because plenty of Fox News clips are still available on YouTube—only on conservative-leaning channels: GlennBeckDailyClips, for example has more than 630 clips of, well, the Glenn Beck Program. And ConservativeNation has 186 stomach-churning videos from the whole spectrum of quality Fox News programing. Also: Duh, Fox News would totally do something like this.
News1News is back up, at a new address—at least until Fox takes it down again. But what's surprising about this whole episode isn't that Fox will use digital copyright law to fight back against its political opponents; it's that the operators of these popular cable news-ripping YouTube channels are actually pretty important players in the blog game. Think about it: They not only get to select which cable news clips have the possibility of "going viral" and becoming news themselves, but if they're taken down, whole swaths of video-based blog posts become a lot of words surrounding a big empty space.
Fox News thought John was important enough to take down, even though he's just some guy whose hobby is clipping videos and putting them on YouTube. And John said that network bigwigs took enough notice when one of his MSNBC clips hit 500,000 views that VP of Digital Media, Mark Lukasiewicz, personally called him to say they had their eye on him. (Mark Lukasiewicz could not be reached for comment because he is important and it is 9:30pm.)
How does John do it? "I DVR things," he said. "I know what people are going to find interesting. You can watch a Bill O'Reilly show and you can pick out the things that are going to make heads explode. Literally, when my head explodes I know it's going to be a good clip."
UPDATE: Fox filed three takedown notices against the new News1News account this morning. (See below.) STEEEERRRRRIKE ONE!
UPDATE 2: It appears that both GlennbeckClipsDaily and ConservativeNation YouTube accounts are now "suspended". A commenter claiming to be the owner of ConservativeNation says: "it seems as though Fox is hell bent getting ALL their clips off You Tube..I don't think this is aimed specifically at liberals." That could certainly be true—but the fact that these accounts didn't go down until after this article went up still suggests a preference for targeting liberal channels. (ConservativeNewMedia—a popular conservate channel that wasn't mentioned originally in this article—remains active. Let's see it it goes down now!)