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Liberal activist organization filed a deceptive advertising complaint with FTC against Fox News Channel over use of the slogan "Fair and Balanced."

However, FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris quickly issued a public statement pointing out the clear First Amendment implications of any FTC involvement in this area:

"I am not aware of any instance in which the Federal Trade Commission has investigated the slogan of a news organization. There is no way to evaluate this petition without evaluating the content of the news at issue. That is a task the First Amendment leaves to the American people, not a government agency."

Addressing Fox News' slogan would also open up all of the other networks' slogans to governmental scrutiny--also clear First Amendment violations.

(Statement of Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy J. Muris on the Complaint Filed [July 19, 2004] by, July 19, 2004.)


FTC gets some 300,000 samples of deceptive spam--forwarded by computer users--each day, and stores it in a database. FTC and its law enforcement partners use the database to generate cases against people who use spam to spread false or misleading information about their products or services. To better handle the high volume of spam forwarded to the database, FTC recently opened a new email box: The old email address ( will be phased out.

FTC's spam database has served as the basis for FTC cases involving pyramid schemes, money-making chain letters, credit card scams, credit repair scams, bogus weight-loss plans, fraudulent business opportunities, and other scams that were promoted via email.

(FTC Release, July 28, 2004.)


J. Howard Beales, III, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP), will leave FTC on August 6, 2004 to return to academic life as Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy at George Washington University. Beales has been BCP Director since June 2001, when he was appointed by FTC Chairman Timothy Muris. Lydia B. Parnes, Deputy Director of the Bureau, will be named Acting Director and will assume Beales' duties following his departure.

"Howard has been an invaluable member of my senior management team and a trusted colleague," Muris said. "Under Howard's leadership, the Bureau of Consumer Protection aggressively attacked fraud and deception; strengthened consumer protections in critical areas such as privacy, telemarketing, and identity theft; and implemented innovative, award-winning consumer education programs. Consumers everywhere have benefited from Howard's exceptional tenure as Bureau Director."

Under Beales' leadership of BCP, FTC filed 258 federal district court cases and obtained orders for nearly $1.3 billion in consumer redress, including the two largest consumer redress settlements in the Bureau's history. As part of FTC's reformulated privacy agenda, Beales was a prime mover in managing the creation and implementation of the National Do Not Call Registry, which received unprecedented Congressional and consumer support. He also was instrumental in leading FTC's systematic attack on spam, with the agency filing more than 60 cases and developing rules to implement the CAN-SPAM Act. A long-time student of FTC, Beales also is noted for his innovative and aggressive use of the Commission's unfairness authority to attack abusive Internet advertising practices.

Parnes joined FTC in 1981. She was appointed Deputy Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection by Chairman Janet Steiger in 1992, and continued to serve in that capacity under Chairmen Robert Pitofsky and Muris. A respected consumer protection lawyer, Parnes has been active in all aspects of BCP's law enforcement and consumer education programs, most recently managing implementation of the Hispanic consumer law enforcement initiative and the creation of the Bureau's Criminal Liaison Unit to facilitate the criminal prosecution of fraud. Prior to becoming Deputy Director, Parnes served as an Attorney Advisor to Chairman James C. Miller, III, Assistant Director of the Division of Policy and Evaluation, and Associate Director of the Division of Marketing Practices.

(FTC Release, July 16, 2004.)
















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