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'Fox and Friends' Host Hints Journalistic Standards Are Out of Date

Reported by Judy - January 30, 2007 -

In the same week that they were publicly chastised by their boss for not knowing what they were talking about, the three blind mice of news suggested on "Fox and Friends" that journalistic standards of objectivity are out of date. With video.

Co-hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Gretchen Carlson on Tuesday (Januaray 30, 2007) discussed a column by New York Times ombudsman Byron Calame addressing an ethical lapse by reporter Michael Gordon.

Gordon, in an appearance on the "Charlie Rose Show," had expressed his personal views on George Bush's escalation of troop numbers in Iraq, saying: “So I think, you know, as a purely personal view, I think it’s worth it [sic] one last effort for sure to try to get this right, because my personal view is we’ve never really tried to win. We’ve simply been managing our way to defeat. And I think that if it’s done right, I think that there is the chance to accomplish something.”

After Calame relayed readers' concerns about Gordon's comments, the Washington bureau chief spoke to Gordon, who agreed he had stepped over the line.

But the Fox News three-some didn't think so. Kilmeade framed the dispute as one over something as arcane as grammatical rules, saying:

"I understand fundamentally, like the textbook written in 1969 when the grammar books were written, say OK you shouldn’t do that, but if you’re sitting down in a chat show and you have expertise about Iraq, you’ve been there, you’ve written about it, you’ve talked to all the players, why wouldn’t you be qualified to give an opinion and are they more angry at his optimistic tone when he said let’s give it a shot or are they more concerned about journalistic standards because standards have seemingly been going by the wayside a little bit.”

"Standards have seemingly been going by the wayside a little bit?" No joke. And where would that be more true than on Fox News, and "Fox and Friends" in particular after they aired a false story -- without checking the facts -- claiming Barack Obama had attended a radical Islam school.

Kilmeade went on to claim that Gordon was being chastised for expressing a pro-war view and that he would have escaped criticism from his bosses had he expressed an anti-war view.

As the conversation went on, Fox News added to that perception by displaying a banner at the bottom of the screen reading: “Times Reporter in Hot Water for Expressing Pro-War Opinion.”

Furthermore, Kilmeade suggested that journalists who try to maintain a detached stance are unpatriotic, asking, "Why wouldn't you (be optimistic about Bush's plan)? Aren't you pulling for America in this?"

Kilmeade apparently has forgotten how "patriotism" at the Times and other news organizations in the run-up to the war led journalists to print the administration's false claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and helped get the nation into this war in the first place.

The segment veered onto even shakier ground when Carlson questioned whether a journalist was even expressing an opinion when saying that he or she hopes the U.S. "succeeds in the war on terror," pulling the old Fox News trick of conflating the war on Iraq with the war on terror.

Watching these three discuss journalistic standards was a surreal experience. Even John Moody, senior vice president of Fox News, has admitted they don't always know what they're talking about.

Perhaps Kilmeade could tell us what journalistic standards he thinks have not gone by the wayside and what ones he thinks are still in force?