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Begala: FOX never tried to contact me

Reported by Chrish - January 9, 2008 -

Donna reported yesterday that Major Garrett, a FOX News reporter, announced that Paul Begala and James Carville would be joining the Hillary Clinton campaign. A short time later Wolf Blitzer announced on CNN that both deny any involvement with the campaign. How could he possibly know?

"Fox was, is and will continue to be an asinine and ignorant network. I have not spoken to anyone in the Clinton campaign about this. I have not done domestic political consulting since President Clinton was elected. I'm not getting back into domestic political consulting." James Carville

Paul Begala explained at Huffington Post:

"I've been dealing with the media and politics for 25 years, but I've never had a more surrealistic day than January 8. Several times that day Fox News reported that I was joining Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign. It was a big story - at least until the stunning election returns.

The only problem was, it wasn't true.

Fox News never even tried to contact me to verify their story, and when I contacted Fox, I felt like a character in a Kafka novel -- or at least Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Fox's Major Garrett -- a good guy whom I've known for years -- broke the story. My phone started ringing off the hook, and my email box bulged. There are still, thank goodness, a lot of real journalists out there. Tim Russert was first. I assured him it wasn't true, he thanked me for waving him off a false story, and that was that. Then my own network, CNN, called. I told them if I were quitting CNN that CNN would know before Fox News. Soon after, others called or emailed: Jonathan Alter of Newsweek, George Stephanopoulos and Teddy Davis of ABC, Beth Fouhy of AP, Mark Halperin of Time, John Harris of the Politico, Jill Lawrence of USA Today, Peter Baker of the Washington Post, Patrick Healy of the New York Times, David Gregory of NBC and Bill Sammon of the Examiner. There were probably more. I list the names only to give credit to journalists who behaved like reporters, not repeaters.

After I told Fox it wasn't true -- and this is the surreal part -- they kept reporting it anyway. In fact, Fox's Garrett told me he'd "take it under advisement." Take it under advisement? I realize I'm generally seen as just another liberal with an opinion, but this was not a matter of opinion, it was a matter of fact. Fox now knew their story was flatly, factually wrong, and they took it 'under advisement.'"

The email exchange is reprinted at Huffington Post.

This is yet another example of the low journalistic standards at FOX News. Everyone is entitled to mistakes but when the subject calls and denies the report, it's astounding that they continued to report a known falsehood. "Best political coverage, period." Bah!