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Fox and Friends 'Corrects' Obama Madrassa Claim

Reported by Judy - January 22, 2007 -

"Fox and Friends" on Monday (January 22, 2007) backtracked on the ridiculous story they aired last week, which claimed that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, attended a radical Islam school while living as a child in Indonesia, but it would be too generous to call what "Fox and Friends" did a "correction." With video.

The story aired Friday was based on an article in "Insight Magazine," published by the conservative Washington Times. Besides insisting that Obama had attended a madrassah, the article also said, based on unnamed sources, that Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign was researching Obama's background and spreading the madrassah story.

But Monday morning, "Fox and Friends" distanced themselves from the story. Co-host Brian Kilmeade noted that the Obama campaign "wanted to correct the record" and insisted that Obama had never attended a radical Islam school. Kilmeade added that the Clinton campaign also called and insisted they had no one researching Obama's background.

"There was a firestorm created over that so we just want to say that's the story. The Obama camp was upset so we hope they're not now," he said.

Then co-host Gretchen Carlson pleaded with Obama to come on the show because Fox News will be the "home" for all the information on candidates in the 2008 election. "So come back back, Senator Obama," she said.

Then co-host Steve Doocy added that, "We're just being fair. His camp said the 'Insight Magazine' article [was] wrong. We're just putting that out there."

So what exactly are they saying? Does Fox News believe the article and their story based on it were wrong? Or are they just giving equal time to the people who were referenced in the article and their story? It's impossible to tell.

The "Fox and Friends" co-hosts did not clearly apologize for an error. Kilmeade's comments sounded like an apology, but Doocy sounded like Fox was merely offering a chance for the people named in the stories to comment.

Fox should have sought out comment before airing the story in the first place, but the "fair and balanced" network didn't.

Other news organizations handle corrections differently. In these New York Times corrections, the newspaper states directly which information was incorrect and what the correction inforrmation is.

Perhaps the journalists of Fox News should review aspects of the Society of Professional Journalists ethical guidelines which ChrisH posted recently.

Maybe they could pay special attention to the ones suggesting journalists seek comment from all sides in a story and admit mistakes.

Just a thought.