This week’s Democratic National Convention was upbeat and substantive, qualities that were noticeably absent from the Republican National Convention. Of course, Fox News needed to find something to attack, so they attacked the original Democratic platform, which had omitted the direct mention of the word ‘God’ and reference to the controversial stance of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel. During their coverage of the Democratic National Convention, Fox News used R.E.M.’s hit song “Losing My Religion” as its intros and buffers. R.E.M. fought back with a cease and desist order.
In a press release, the band had this to say,
R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” was used in the Fox News coverage of the Democratic National Convention last night. R.E.M. today, through its music publisher, Warner-Tamerlane Music, demanded that Fox News cease and desist from continuing its unlicensed and unauthorized use of the song. Michael Stipe said, “We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there.”
Just over a week ago, Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M., was among a group of artists who attacked the Republican platform, saying,
“Literally every policy position of the Republican party can be explained in this light: Obstructing or denying equal access to healthcare, public education, equitable taxation, legal protection; obstructing or denying marriage equality, workplace safety, voting rights, a living wage; obstructing or denying a woman’s right to choose, and a fair-minded Supreme Court that would value the freedom of the individual over the power of corporations – this is how you create a permanent aristocracy, where only the rich can afford ‘equality.’”
It’s easy to see why Stipe would be a little peeved that Fox would try to use his song to their political advantage.
Fox also mistook the actual meaning of the song. “Losing My Religion” is a southern expression (R.E.M. is from Georgia) that refers to being at the end of your rope. In the case of the song, Stipe has said it was an expression of unrequited love.
“God” and “Jerusalem” were added back to the Democratic platform.