Less than a month after Fox News apologized four times for false reports about Muslims in Europe, the network is pointing sanctimonious fingers at NBC’s Brian Williams for having admitted to a fictitious anecdote about getting shot at in Iraq.
A search of FoxNews.com turns up at least four on-air segments about Williams yesterday and today. But Williams also came up among other topics on Hannity, e.g.. And I saw a debate on the subject on The Kelly File last night that did not make it online.
Based on that spot check, alone, Fox has spent more time discussing and analyzing Williams’ misstep than in retracting its own falsehoods about Muslims in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. One of those falsehoods was so egregious, British Prime Minister David Cameron called Fox’s expert (who has appeared many times on Fox as such) “a complete idiot.” In none of its four apologies did Fox explain how it came up with its wrong information that there are Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe.
But that is far from the only glaring misinformation promoted by Fox.
- Chris Kyle’s defamation of Jesse Ventura – Chris Kyle’s American Sniper book, upon which the hit movie was based, gained a lot of buzz via an O’Reilly Factor interview in which Kyle claimed to have decked former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura in a bar brawl. The story has been disproved, along with other Kyle tales, and Ventura has already won one big defamation award and will likely win another. Fox not only couldn’t care less, the network has beatified Kyle and vilified his critics.
- Donald Trump’s birtherism - Barack Obama’s birth certificate had been produced and validated while he was still a presidential candidate. Yet Fox went all in on Trump’s known-to-be bogus accusations of birtherism in 2011. Trump is still presented as a credible expert and Fox promotes his just-as-fictitious presidential candidacy.
- The ACORN videos - The “fair and balanced” network repeatedly promoted a series of dishonestly edited and subsequently discredited videos designed to destroy the community organization ACORN. Yet “straight news anchor” Megyn Kelly gushed over the “citizen journalism.” One of the videographers, James O’Keefe, was later named Fox News Sunday’s “Power Player of the Week.” Fox has continued to overlook O’Keefe’s numerous scrapes with the law and hosted him as a legitimate source as recently as last May.
But even though the Kyle defamation occurred on Bill O’Reilly’s own “no spin zone” show, he seemed to forget that and any other Fox News falsehoods (and I’m sure I’ve left out many more) as he discussed the Williams controversy last night. No, the other examples of fabrications that O’Reilly just happened to think of came from Democrats Hillary Clinton and Senator Richard Blumenthal.
That’s bad enough. But what’s “media critic” Howard Kurtz’ excuse or that of the supposedly independent guest (and former Fox contributor) Lauren Ashburn?
That is not to say that O’Reilly, Kurtz or Ashburn were wrong to suggest that Williams deserves a lot more professional consequences than he will likely get. But, unlike Fox's falsehoods, Williams' was a personal anecdote, not part of his journalism.
Fox should clean up its own house before it complains about the dirt in any others'.
Watch the amnesia on last night's The O'Reilly Factor below.
Btw, has BOR ever offered up a mea culpa to his viewers for his deliberate lie about having not participated in the “no go zone” fiasco? If he did, I certainly missed it. Unlike Williams, that WAS part of BOR’s, ahem, journalism.
It just goes to show that we really need to be careful about choosing our heroes.