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FOX News Criticizes Blogs For Lacking "Editorial Oversight." So Where Is The FOX News Oversight? Too Busy Looking Out For The GOP?

Reported by Ellen - April 19, 2005 -

Over the weekend, FOX News took a few swipes at bloggers. FOX News Watch (4/16/05) host Eric Burns said "There will be some who just want their prejudices reinforced, which the bloggers and the citizen journalists can do."

Regular panelist Cal Thomas added gravely, "People reinforcing their prejudices is a continued danger in our profession because people now have the ability to tune in only those things that reinforce what they already believe. I think that's dangerous to a free society."

Later, on FOX Report, host Rick Folbaum introduced a news report from Claudia Cowan by asking, if bloggers are "really journalists?" Cowan claimed that blogs are "blurring the line between opinion or speculation and hard news." Not surprisingly, she cited Powerline as one of the latter saying, "It questioned CBS' now discredited National Guard memos within minutes of the broadcast. On the other, bloggers have zero editorial oversight."

Next, Dennis Kneale, identified as "of Forbes" came on to knock bloggers again. "We think bloggers are a bunch of incredibly motivated idealogues who want to stand on their own separate mountaintop and scream anything they want without much accountability and without much in the way of penalty... "The question here is whether we have something our founding fathers dreamed of - the freest, most unfettered, unruly press imaginable or do we instead have here an angry mob of irresponsible people carrying pitchforks and torches."

That's very colorful language, Mr. Kneale, but I wish you and the rest of FOX News would turn your microscope on your own accountability before you go complaining about ours.

For starters, I'd like to know why Kneale was never identified as a regular on FOX News' Forbes on Fox program?

Next, we News Hounds have collected quite a group of FOX News errors and outright inaccuracies that have yet to be corrected. Here's the list of the most egregious:

1. On February 9, 2005, News Hound Melanie reported on Brit Hume's "shamelessly strung together" quotes of FDR to make it look as though he favored Social Security privatization. She re-reported the same story on February 24, 2005, March 4, 2005. Bill Bennett echoed Hume's statement on FOX News on February 3, 2005.

We know that FOX News reads our blog so there's no excuse for this untruth going uncorrected.

2. On March 21, 2005, Sean Hannity misrepresented the credentials of Dr. Bill Hammesfahr on Hannity & Colmes by calling him a Nobel Prize nominee eight times during the program. A partial transcript of that interview remains on the FOX News website. Hannity calls him a Nobel Prize nominee four times in that transcript. Almost a month later, no correction has been issued and the transcript remains unedited and uncorrected on the FOX News site.

3. David Asman made a number of misstatements in his Observer segment on 4/6/05. News Hound Nancy catalogued those errors in her post on 4/7/05 and again on 4/13/05. To wit:

A-Asman mistakenly said that a sentence about Pope John Paul II appeared in a NY Times Sunday obituary. In fact, Nancy found that the 19-page obituary did NOT contain that sentence but she found it elsewhere, in another story in the paper.

B-He confused "Catholic News Service" & "Catholic World News".

C-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).

Rather than correct his errors, Asman sent a gmail to us on April 11 saying we were wrong, not him. Unfortunately, he couldn't get that part right, either (but I don't blame FOX News for that, unless they have editorial oversight of their employees' emails). The gmail Asman sent to us was addressed to David Brock, who is with another blog called Media Matters with which we have no connection. Melanie, who monitors other programs and is thus not intimately familiar with Asman's Observer columns, did not divine that his gmail was really meant for us. So she wrote back to him explaining we're not David Brock. Either Asman doesn't read his email or he didn't believe Melanie or he didn't care who was who. A few days later, he did another Observer column calling US liars. Nancy posted an explanation of the truth again. To date, neither Asman nor the editorial overseers we should be grateful for over at FOX News have corrected their mistakes.

4. Bill O'Reilly has made so many misstatements, they are too numerous to list here. See mediamatters.org for a partial list along with Al Franken's book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. I'm not holding my breath for a correction from those acclaimed accountability-bearing editors, the supposed hallmarks of "real" journalism over at FNC.

5. National Review correspondent and author Byron York recently wrote a book called The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President- and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time. I was interviewed for that book and though I only appear in a small portion of it, I was astonished at the number of errors. Click here to read my post detailing them. York's book was published by Crown Forum, a division of Random House, a major publisher. But no one contacted me to confirm any of my quotes or any other information about me that appeared in the book. York has appeared a number of times on FOX News (4/6/05, 4/9/05, 4/12/05, and 4/15/05) but only Alan Colmes on 4/15/05 (follow previous link) questioned any of York's facts.

6. And for extra credit, let's not forget Saddam Hussein's WMD's.

Reporter Cowan ended her segment by saying, "There's no way for readers to know if their favorite blogger is an honest reporter, a political operative or a paranoid crackpot. There's no code of ethics, no standard, no forum to correct mistakes."

Comment: If editorial oversight and a forum to correct mistakes are so important, then why does FOX News keep them so much under wraps?