LOS ANGELES - Veteran US rock group R.E.M. is slamming Fox News for playing "Losing My Religion" in covering the Democratic convention, accusing the conservative US broadcaster of "puff adder" reporting.
But Fox News hit back, saying it had used the hit tune entirely legally, and claiming that R.E.M. was seeking a "publicity fix" by issuing the protest.
The pioneering alternative rock band, which split up last year after three decades, posted a message on its website Thursday saying that Fox News used the hit song on Wednesday.
"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," said the statement.
Frontman Michael Stipe added: "We have little or no respect for their puff adder brand of reportage. Our music does not belong there."
A Fox News spokeswoman said the channel had not used the R.E.M. song on Wednesday but rather Thursday morning -- and hit back at the band.
"Fox News Channel's use of an R.E.M. song during Thursday's edition of 'Fox & Friends' was in full accordance with its license agreements with all appropriate parties," she said in a statement emailed to AFP.
"Nevertheless, we're always flattered to have this much attention for a song selection and we hope R.E.M. was able to satisfy their publicity fix."
The group, whose hits also include "Shiny Happy People" and "Everybody Hurts," were a cult band on the US college rock circuit before hitting the mainstream in the early 1990s.
Led by Stipe on vocals and Peter Buck on guitar, R.E.M. took alt-rock to the masses with a string of hits also including "Radio Free Europe" and "The End of the World As We Know It."
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