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The Blind Observer

Reported by Nancy - April 13, 2005 -

David Asman's "Observer" segment on FNL on Tuesday 4/12 seemed a direct reaction to my criticism of him last week. But, in true Fox style, he got it wrong again.

His op-ed piece last Wednesday, 4/6, was called "Who's in Need of Rejuvenation?"; Tuesday's (4/12) was called "Setting the Record Straight". As of this posting, both are still available on the foxnews.com website. Please do go read them for yourselves, as I've only included excerpts below.

Last week, in my post about his 4/6 "Observer", I identified a problem with the quotation Asman used, & poked fun at Asman for whining about a competitor using a standard Fox ploy ("some say").

This week, on 4/12, Asman began his "Observer" with this:

Fox News has a lot of enemies, some of whom won't hesitate to flat out lie in order to criticize what we do.

One of those lies circulating on the Internet is about an Observer I wrote about the New York Times. The day after the pope died, the Times ran a bio of the pope by Ian Fisher (fee required to view story).

The piece made a dig at the pope by mentioning his physical decline, saying: "Some critics said it was a symbol of a papacy in need of rejuvenation." When reading the Observer on TV, I put up the quote; with the author's name highlighted right underneath.

Let's compare & contrast what Asman actually said, as I documented last week & as confirmed in the official transcripts of his "Observer" published on the Fox News website:

Even their Sunday obituary managed a final dig at Pope John Paul II. The Times obituary focused on the pope’s deteriorating physical condition and then said: “Some critics said it was a symbol of a papacy in need of rejuvenation.” Of course, the Times obituary never tells us who “some critics” are.

So last week he said (& the official transcript confirms): "Even their Sunday obituary ..." But today he claims he was talking about: "... a bio of the pope by Ian Fisher ..." Which is it? Does he not know the difference between a bio & an obit? The NYTimes' 19-page obituary of the Pope was clearly labelled "Obituary". So it shouldn't have been too hard for Asman to distinguish it from the "bio" by Fisher.

Continuing on his current wrong track, he says:

But the anti-Fox web site implies that I made up the quote.

Simply not true. I did not IMPLY anything. I STATED that he got it wrong:

I had scanned the obit, but didn't recall such a phrase. So I went back & read it carefully -- all 19 pages. Sorry, David: no such phrase. ... Here's the *full* NYT obituary, all 19 pages of it, if you want to read it. The NYTimes has a *lot* of articles about the Pope, his death, etc. The phrase could have appeared elsewhere, but it's not in that obituary.

And in fact, a simple search (as I did, & as several readers & commenters also did) revealed that the sentence occurred in the bio, not in the obit.

Still on the wrong track, Asman continues:

This same group posted another hack-job attack on an Observer last week. The Observer focused on a dubious award given to a Democrat congressman for political pork. The anti-Fox website asked: “… let's see if Asman will gleefully report this award the next time it goes to a GOP.”

I wrote to the site, explaining that I had, in fact, written about Republicans getting that same “Porker of the Month” award. I included an Observer from October.
In light of this Observer, I asked the Web site if they’d like to correct their record. Of course, they did NOT correct the record. These anti-Fox sites are not interested in the truth; they’re interested in bending the truth to suit their attacks.

He did send us a gmail, which we all found hilariously funny, because it was addressed to David Brock at Media Matters -- in spite of the fact that my post originated on this website (not on Media Matters) & was signed with my name, as are all our posts at NewsHounds. The gmail was sent to us Monday 4/11 at 3:03pm & I freely admit that it took me until just now (Wed 4/13 at 1:05am), or 34 hours, to post an addendum noting the info included in his gmail & hoping we don't have to wait another 6 months for a similar "Observer." But I'm still waiting for Asman to correct any of the errors he made in that 4/6 "Observer" piece.

Additionally, Tony Spence (Director & Editor in Chief, Catholic News Service), commented on my post that:

Those comments were made on April 4 by a poster named "Diogenes" in the Off the Recrod section on the web site of Catholic World News, and independent news and opinion agency run by Mr. Philip Lawler. It has no connection with Catholic News Service, a news agency owned and operated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as a fair and impartial news gathering source. CNS does not editorialize, and we have no comment on the NYT obituary. I have written to Fox News asking them to correct this misinformation.

Spence agreed to let us know if Fox News made the correction, or even responded to him; so far they have not.

So Asman still hasn't corrected his mistakes:
1-He mistakenly said that sentence appeared in the NYTimes Sunday obituary. Not true. The 19-page obituary that appeared on Sunday 4/3 does not contain that sentence.
2-He confused "Catholic News Service" & "Catholic World News".
3-He claimed that comments made on April 4 by a poster named "Diogenes" in the Off the Recrod section on the web site of Catholic World News, an independent news & opinion agency run by Philip Lawler, were the editorial opinion of Catholic News Service (which does not editorialize).

Still waiting for those corrections from the network that claims to practice "real journalism" ... & wondering why David Asman is afraid to name the NewsHounds, instead preferring that tired Fox ploy, "some" -- could it be because he knows I'm right?