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Blog catches FoxNews.com in fabrication
October 1, 2004 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Blog catches FoxNews.com in mocking fabrication Are you surprised it was in a story quoting Senator Kerry? (A sequential account. Scroll upward to follow developments.)
posted by fleener (57 comments total)

 
I dunno. I'm a huge Kerry fan, especially post debate, and even I got the joke. Still, this is coming from the reporter assigned to cover Kerry in general -- the Onion guys don't moonlight for CNN on the side.
posted by effugas at 9:48 PM on October 1, 2004


Nothing surprising here as FOX News shows it's bias. What I found most disturbing about the story is that the person behind it wasn't just an intern pranking, it was the "journalist" assigned to cover the Kerry campaign for FOX.

From the link above:
As noted by Nat Hentoff in The Village Voice, Cameron's reporting "... equal[s] the standard that broadcast journalists Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly used to set."

What does that tell you about "Fair and Balanced"?
posted by mkdg at 9:49 PM on October 1, 2004


Except, unlike a certain other network, Fox has already retracted and apologized.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:51 PM on October 1, 2004


Carl Cameron was the reporter who was buddy-buddy with W. during the pre-interview, as captured in the movie Outfoxed. So I'm not exactly surprised that he'd be doing this.
posted by calwatch at 9:56 PM on October 1, 2004


The apology:

Earlier Friday, FOXNews.com posted an item purporting to contain quotations from Kerry. The item was based on a reporter’s partial script that had been written in jest and should not have been posted or broadcast. We regret the error, which occurred because of fatigue and bad judgment, not malice.

So if CBS said "we were just kidding about the (not authenticated yet not proven to be fraudulent) TANG memos, plus, reportin' is hard work" they'd be OK?

Not to mention, apples and oranges.
posted by mkdg at 10:06 PM on October 1, 2004


A news source "regrets the error" when they spell someone's name wrong. This wasn't an apology, nor was it an "error."
posted by PrinceValium at 10:21 PM on October 1, 2004


Of course its just a simple error. Fox News never mocks anyone. They are serious news operation! *cough*
When bracing for a New York demonstration aimed at media companies last Thursday, the self-described "fair and balanced" Fox News Channel targeted picketers with its scrolling news ticker, or "zipper," outside its headquarters.

The sign's messages included "Does Anyone Here Have a Job?" and "The Cleverest Sign Wins a Week's Free Vacation ... to Baghdad," plus there was a shot at FNC's competition: "CNN [Cable News Network] Agrees with You. They're Two Blocks North. And They Have Doughnuts!"
posted by skallas at 10:26 PM on October 1, 2004


Is it joking or is it just another "oops"-we-were-just-having-fun plan to mock and denigrate Kerry's character?

Man, I'm sick of being so damned cynical all the time. The problem is that it turns out, more often than not, that yeah, it was contrived.
posted by fenriq at 10:45 PM on October 1, 2004


I blame Schoolhouse Rock. I believed "I'm just a Bill," "Three Ring Government" and "No More Kings." I was raised to believe the world was an honest place. The lies start with Santa Claus and they never stop.
posted by fleener at 11:05 PM on October 1, 2004


This is a crisis in the same way Franken's fake letter to Ashcroft is a deadly lie. And the people who are going to believe this are the same people who believed that Onion article that said that Harry Potter was driving children to satanism was real. And those people are voting for Bush no matter what. I don't think we have a huge problem here.
posted by weston at 11:21 PM on October 1, 2004


Having watched "Out Foxed" this is no surprise at all. What's interesting is the timing, it's very subversive against Fox News. The reporters at Fox do what they are told to do, and they will find ways to rebel from the dogmatism.
posted by stbalbach at 11:23 PM on October 1, 2004


"Kerry is an asshole."
"Just kidding."

See that? The 'just kidding' makes it all better.

"Hey, I killed your grandma, but I was just kidding."
"Hey, I told your parents you were gay, but I was just kidding."
"Hey, I'm the one that ordered all those dildos on your company's credit cards and charged it to you, then had them mailed to your boss with a note written in lipstick saying, 'Cum over sometime,' but I was just kidding."

Fuck FOX.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:37 PM on October 1, 2004


I'm a big supporter of FNC, but somebody needs to be more than "reprimanded" for this. Either Carl Cameron (who wrote the mock story in jest), or the person who actually pushed the button to put it on the FNC website -- basically, whoever was directly responsible for the transition from "fake story" to "Posted On FNC Site At HH:MM:SS." I don't know about being fired, but probably a period of "leave without pay" would be appropriate.

And for anyone (TPM guy?) who for a moment thought that this was anything but a gag -- in other words, anyone who thought that this was intended to be a Real News Story -- sheesh, like weston said, you're too far gone to be helped at this point.
posted by davidmsc at 11:40 PM on October 1, 2004


wait, was the whole of the harry potter leads to satanism/witchcraft ordeal sparked by an Onion article?
posted by Satapher at 12:19 AM on October 2, 2004


you know what?
I'm sure some shady Kerry operative fed credulous Fox"News" a poisoned pill in order to embarrass them

he is called Buckhead on the Internet, I gather.

I don't see lib'rul bloggers calling for Roger Ailes' head on a platter, tho. Impeach FOX!

what a fucking laughinstock
posted by matteo at 2:18 AM on October 2, 2004


This is how it works, constant low-level FUD, with everyone on message.

Personally I sort of admire the neocons/righ-wingers/dittoheads/whatever you want to call them, they stick to the task, they work together and if anyone calls them on it they scream "librul media, "ooooo right-wing conspiracy". They are like the mythical "lefty hive mind", except for one fact, they win the elections.

It's all about winning. In this country, until New Labour realised this, we had eighteen years of hateful, fearful, right-wing government.

Shit, Kerry supporters will be lining up to accept the Fox apology and passing this off as no big deal. But this is the crux of the issue. The blogs, talk radio, press and television is the delivery system, the "jokes" the "omissions" the "errors" is the message. The consistency of message and the discipline to keep up the FUD regardless of how ridiculous it looks is work of art for a cynic like me.

They know they are wrong, they know they look stupid, they like this, it's part of the fun. Some of them believe it, but most of them realise that winning is all and second means nothing in politics.

I'm with the chicken, your elections are fascinating.
posted by fullerine at 3:23 AM on October 2, 2004


Except, unlike a certain other network, Fox has already retracted and apologized.

(clicks stopwatch) Well. That didn't take long.

Today would be a great week to be a chiropractor. I don't even want to guess the number of right-wing blogs that are going to start bending over backwards to spin this one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:10 AM on October 2, 2004


http://www.conspire.com/fox-photoshop.jpg
posted by mr.marx at 5:46 AM on October 2, 2004


Repuiblican spin has begun.

What say we all write letters to the editor of SFGate?

Here's mine,

To the Editor,

Apparently Debra J. Saunders is part of that elite who believe that reporters get to decide important national events, seding their message from no high to us lowly people who obviously don't know how to interpret what we see and hear. Else why would she ignore (in Saturday's howler, "Bush won the debate with Kerry") what a majority of people in this country, and even the most conservative pundits and Bush's own camp have admitted - that Kerry gave a far better showing than Bush in the first debate. I have heard that some editorial writers participate in the ethical practice of repeating verbatim spin Karl Rove has sent out from the White House, but Saunders is obviously far too ethical for that. After all, she believes in democracy, and that's why she decided who won the debate in spite of what a majority of people thought - because democaracy is all about know-it-all reporters telling people what to think."
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:16 AM on October 2, 2004


davidmsc: thought that this was anything but a gag -- in other words, anyone who thought that this was intended to be a Real News Story

Real News Organizations do not play "practical jokes" on the homepage of their Internet site. I saw the article, and there was nothing to indicate that it was intended to be ironic or funny; it was presented as "news" by Fox's "chief political correspondent" with the (obvious) collusion of the editorial staff. That's not funny, that's not "fair and balanced," that's full on, lose your job quote fabrication. And unlike the CBS case, the "newsman" in question admits to making the whole thing up, although no one has yet gotten round to asking him his motives for doing so.

So let's drop the "oh, it was just a gag!" bullshit, OK? You may be a conservative but I know for a fact you're not that stupid and neither are we...

(eustace, I read that just before coming to MeFi this morning and I laughed... and laughed... and laughed...)
posted by JollyWanker at 6:23 AM on October 2, 2004


Up Next: The News In Red and Blue

If you were watching the network evening news in June, July and August, you would have seen somewhat favorable coverage of John Kerry -- six out of 10 evaluations were positive -- and somewhat unfavorable coverage of President Bush.

If you were watching Fox News Channel's 6 p.m. newscast, you would have seen about the same coverage of the president. But Kerry's evaluations were negative by a 5 to 1 margin...

Matthew Felling of the media center is skeptical. "If this is what passes for 'fair and balanced' journalism, it looks like someone has a finger on the scale at Fox News," he says.

posted by y2karl at 6:33 AM on October 2, 2004


"....the people who are going to believe this are the same people who believed that Onion article that said that Harry Potter was driving children to satanism" (weston) - Actually, my brother believes this irregardless of the Onion, which I'm fairly sure he's never even heard of.
___________________________

I can imagine the precise genesis of this bit of Fox BS :

1) Karl Rove thinks - "Holy Crap! Kerry made Bush look weak in that debate. We've got to smear Kerry as gay, and effeminate : pronto!"

2) Rove calls telebubbies* at at Fox.

3) Telebubbies concoct parody. Quick retraction is expected, but transmission of the Kerry-hairdresser meme is predicted to spread far and wide via other news organization's cover of the ensuing hullabaloo.

4) $ Profit !

*A "telebubby" (you heard it here first. I just coined the word) is a friend or buddy of a political operative (a backslapping bubba of a buddy) who works for network television and orchestrates this sort of covert propaganda.

____________________

But, regardless of FOX propaganda, Kerry did make Bush look weak.

Bush looked weak and small.

Small and weak.

Mean too.

George.

Bush.
posted by troutfishing at 6:37 AM on October 2, 2004


FOX is a Scalia-sanctioned Republican orgy, in the middle of main street, at high noon on Easter Sunday.
posted by troutfishing at 6:40 AM on October 2, 2004


troutfishing, Kerry did not make Bush look weak in the debate. Bush did it all on his own. Moreover, the public finally saw how little our fearless commander knows about his administration's own record. Hell, half of the MeFi crowd could have trounced Bush in a debate because his retort is essentially, "But it's a hard job! I know how to hand things. Don't forget Poland! Elect me because I won't admit I've screwed our country!" What a freaking joke. Well, not really, because this joke has run our country into the ground.
posted by fleener at 7:13 AM on October 2, 2004


Real News Organizations do not play "practical jokes" on the homepage of their Internet site.

This is the network that directed people to Scientology for a crisis hotline, called people upset about dead Iraqi civilians "whiners", altered its studio news ticker to taunt war protestors, and sued an author because one of their stars was upset.

Fox has a record of proving itself not to be a real news organization, and the silence of the right wingers who only a week ago acted as though not firing Dan Rather would destroy all credibility of news as we know it is telling.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:47 AM on October 2, 2004


"....Kerry did not make Bush look weak in the debate. Bush did it all on his own." - fleener, I'd only partly agree with that : I think Kerry made Bush look weak and small for the fact that Kerry addressed the real issues and so took on real presidential stature next to Bush - who seemed to be a pygmy compared to Kerry, in part because Bush prattled on with idiotic talking points that Kerry chopped out from under him like "The enemy attacked us" (! - sheesh.)

So yes, Bush cooperated in letting himself get chopped down to pygmy stature - far too wee to be presidential.

The camera work cooperated in making Bush look small as well : because the podiums of the two debaters were the same size, the camera crew focused closer up on Bush and this, combined with the fact that Kerry is taller than Bush and so less of Bush's torso stuck up over the podium, worked to make Bush look like a child, a hobbit, or a gnome.

It was a perfect storm that made Bush look weak, small, and not especially bright.

Fidgety and twitchy as well.

Mean too, perhaps.

Our little George.

Not a curious George, this one.
posted by troutfishing at 8:02 AM on October 2, 2004


JollyWanker: I understand what you're saying -- but what I'm saying is that I don't believe that this was ever intended for posting on the FNC site.

I think what happened is that Cameron was fooling around, and hit "send" with the gag article instead of the real article, and someone at FNC didn't bother to check it, and it wound up being posted on the FNC site.
posted by davidmsc at 8:08 AM on October 2, 2004


As a media person myself, I'll say it: Fox "News" is the most cultural institution that poses the greatest danger to American democracy that I have seen in my lifetime, other than, say, the former Soviet Union's massed ICBMs. They are the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's 1984 with a Yankee swagger, Stalin with hourly terrorist alerts. And they are the most-watched TV news network in this country.

The fact that Carl Cameron's "joke" wasn't even amusingly written -- and I can find Republican satires of Democrats very amusing -- as well as being homophobic, points up how lame and backward Fox is.

My question is, why do so many people watch it?
posted by digaman at 8:10 AM on October 2, 2004


Sorry, delete "most" in that first sentence.
posted by digaman at 8:13 AM on October 2, 2004


As a media person myself, I'll say it: Fox "News" is the most cultural institution that poses the greatest danger to American democracy that I have seen in my lifetime

I'd get much more worked up about Fox if the rest of the television media weren't so awful. At least Fox wears its heart on its sleeve. In a sense, that's more honest than CNN still pretending it's a serious news organization rather than an advertising delivery system. For all its failings, NPR is just about the only non-print media that even tries to deliver breadth, depth and a range of voices. News isn't one of the free market's triumphs.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:21 AM on October 2, 2004


At least Fox wears its heart on its sleeve.

Under the "fair and balanced" sticker, or the "we report, you decide" epaulets?

To me, this sounds like Bush claiming to be steadfast and sincere, which is nonsense. He's all opportunism, contrivance, and disinformation -- as Fox is. Fox isn't about heart. It's about an agenda -- as you say about CNN, it's an advertising delivery system, and a very successful one. But it's also a belief delivery system, and it's even better at doing that, both overtly and subliminally, by how it frames the national discourse.
posted by digaman at 8:33 AM on October 2, 2004


I guess Fox are quickly finding out that bloggers paying attention is a phenomenon that cuts both ways.

If you can't tell the difference between CBS getting fooled by the promise of a big story and Fox News making up shit like this out of thin air, you're probably voting Republican.
posted by clevershark at 8:44 AM on October 2, 2004


Metafilter : terrier of truth on the pantleg of Soviet-style American media propaganda.
posted by troutfishing at 9:23 AM on October 2, 2004


If you can't tell the difference between CBS getting fooled by the promise of a big story and Fox News making up shit like this out of thin air, you're probably voting Republican.

If you can't tell the difference in significance between the heavily-advertised prime-time lead story on the flagship news magazine program of a major TV network and an article on a website, you're probably as hopelessly partisan as the people you despise.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 9:59 AM on October 2, 2004


It's not just an article on a website--it was planted and perpetuated throughout Fox's coverage all day: As he often does, co-host Steve Doocy tried to ridicule Kerry as a sissy in an attempt to offset Kerry's appearance as a capable commander-in-chief. He mentioned that Kerry got a manicure before the debate and that he had a "man tan."
--from here (and apparently Rush and Newt Gingrich are spreading it too)
posted by amberglow at 10:10 AM on October 2, 2004


At least Fox wears its heart on its sleeve.

What digaman said. Most Fox News viewers actually believe it's presenting an evenhanded perspective. Just because, to us, something is biased to the point of parody doesn't mean it's that clear to everyone. I would wager that a measurable percentage of people who read that article didn't doubt it for a second.
posted by jpoulos at 10:12 AM on October 2, 2004


What digaman said. Most Fox News viewers actually believe it's presenting an evenhanded perspective.

What do you base this claim on? My guess is that most Fox viewers think that (1) much of the media has a left-of-center POV (2) the majority of the country has a right-of-center POV (3) Fox has a right-of-center POV.

On other words, I don't think they believe that it's objective, rather they believe that it more accurately reflects the view of the country at large. It's not the same thing.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:18 AM on October 2, 2004


XQUZYPHYR: Today would be a great week to be a chiropractor. I don't even want to guess the number of right-wing blogs that are going to start bending over backwards to spin this one.

Yeah, those right-wing blogs and their absurd spin. Remember that time they said some memos were fake? Ho-ho, that made them look completely ridiculous, didn't it? Luckily we had level-headed people like you around to tell us they were genuine.
posted by reklaw at 10:39 AM on October 2, 2004


I don't think they believe that it's objective, rather they believe that it more accurately reflects the view of the country at large.

That's the really scary part of it all. Do you really think FOX is dictating opinion, or rather is it catering to it?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:05 AM on October 2, 2004


Do you really think FOX is dictating opinion, or rather is it catering to it?

Do you think that Bill (SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP) O'Reilly would get such high ratings if he wasn't catering?
posted by eyeballkid at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2004


Yeah, those right-wing blogs and their absurd spin. Remember that time they said some memos were fake? Ho-ho, that made them look completely ridiculous, didn't it?

Yes. It did. For the reasons I just said. What's your point?

Luckily we had level-headed people like you around to tell us they were genuine.

I believed they were genuine at first; it's been proven that CBS had a source lacking the credibility to merit airing this story. I don't recall the part where anyone proved the documents as forgeries, especially not hyper-partisan webloggers.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:20 PM on October 2, 2004


I don't recall the part where anyone proved the documents as forgeries, especially not hyper-partisan webloggers.

You mean the part where it was utterly obvious to anyone who's ever used a copy of Word, yet you continued to deny it?

I don't mean to harp on this, really, but it's ridiculous for you to ever accuse anyone of spin ever again. So just stop it.
posted by reklaw at 12:48 PM on October 2, 2004


Digiman, I believe most who watch FOX News know full well that it skews almost entirely to the right - and, in fact, that's exactly why they watch it. They want their news with a conservative slant; they say they're tired of news with a liberal slant.

The problem is that a lot of people then begin to believe the hype. One of the reasons, I believe, that conservatives have by and large been so quiet about the debate is that they are stunned that Bush got his ass kicked; fed a steady diet of Bush's "resolve" and Kerry's "flip-flopping," well, Thursday night simply wasn't supposed to happen; in the fairy tale, that's now how it goes.

I'll guarantee you Cameron dislikes Kerry, probably intensely - and not in your normal news reporter, "this politician is really a pinhead" manner. More in an ideological manner. I think what happened was a mistake, but make no mistake, it shows Cameron's true colors, and FOX's as well.
posted by kgasmart at 1:01 PM on October 2, 2004


The lies start with Santa Claus and they never stop.

truer words have rarely been uttered.
posted by quonsar at 4:17 PM on October 2, 2004


*A "telebubby" (you heard it here first. I just coined the word)

*repeatedly slaps troutfishing silly for the second time today*
posted by quonsar at 4:24 PM on October 2, 2004


>and hit "send" with the gag article instead of the real article

Right passed the editors, the webmaster, etc. An email was magically posted to the front page. Yeah, davidmsc, I suggest you learn how publishing/media works before you spout your half-assed conspiracy theories.

Not to mention I and others have posted in this thread that Fox has a history of doing shit like this. Give up already, you're watching Pravda. Admit it.

And that was the "real" article. Fox just removed the 'manicure' quotes and left the article as is. Did you even bother reading talkingpointsmemo, comrade?
posted by skallas at 4:27 PM on October 2, 2004


>Remember that time they said some memos were fake?

And when every non-winger blogger tore Powell's speech apart? Or half the things Bush says? Or how Fox news is a fucking GOP party organ?

Oh right, the conservative double standard strikes againg. Not to mention document experts were contacting the mainstream media and that same media had pieces ready well before the 101st fighting keyboarders were done with their Ann Coulter photos in mom's basement, that is after they stopped praying to Jesus to avoid a draft because fightin' isn't for the wealthy white suburban uber-net-enabled class.
posted by skallas at 4:33 PM on October 2, 2004


And that was the "real" article. Fox just removed the 'manicure' quotes and left the article as is. Did you even bother reading talkingpointsmemo, comrade?

Yeah, I wondered about that too. I mean, if it was obviously a skeleton article you could imagine that it was meant to be filled in with the real text later, and he was just dicking around in the meantime. But what's the logic of this? He wrote and polished the entire article *with* the fake quotes, and then meant to remove them just before filing the story?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:46 PM on October 2, 2004


And Cameron's still covering Kerry's campaign. I read somewhere today that maybe we should all think of him as the Don Knotts of Fox.
posted by amberglow at 4:54 PM on October 2, 2004


You mean the part where it was utterly obvious to anyone who's ever used a copy of Word, yet you continued to deny it?

In other words, no. You admit they weren't proven to be fake.

I don't mean to harp on this, really, but it's ridiculous for you to ever accuse anyone of spin ever again. So just stop it.

Awww. Please explain how I'm "spinning" the fact the documents weren't proven to be false. While you're at it, please explain how I'm "spinning" the lack of right-wing bloggers calling for the resignation of a Fox News anchor deliberately pushing information that was not just qustionable in truth, but knowingly false... considering he fabricated it himself.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:55 PM on October 2, 2004


By the way, for those of you keeping count, Fox News has now pushed a story devoid of any factual basis or credibility twice in the last 48 hours.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:57 PM on October 2, 2004


... comrade ...

Well, as the Russkies used to say: "There's no news in The Truth [Pravda], and no truth in The News [Izvestiya]."

[Net izvestiya v Pravde, i net pravdy v Izvestiya. Could some pouty-voiced woman please call me up on the phone and say that to me with the proper accent and pronunciation?]
posted by lodurr at 5:46 PM on October 2, 2004


I believed they were genuine at first; it's been proven that CBS had a source lacking the credibility to merit airing this story. I don't recall the part where anyone proved the documents as forgeries, especially not hyper-partisan webloggers.



THE MEMOS ARE GENUINE! THE BLOGGERS ARE COMMITTING SUICIDE AT THE GATES OF CBS HEADQUARTERS! THE TOYS HAVE NO CONNECTION TO 9/11.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:41 PM on October 2, 2004


Hee hee! That's cute, I think I used that one on ParasParamus the other day.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:53 PM on October 2, 2004


Whoops! Look like they made an update:
And then there were the pranksters in the audience . . . the Communists for Kerry (who, in fact, are rooting for Bush) and the Billionaires for Bush (who, of course, are Kerry supporters).

"We're trying to get Comrade Kerry elected and get that capitalist enabler George Bush out of office," said 17-year-old Komoselutes Rob of Communists for Kerry.

"Even though he, too, is a capitalist, he supports my socialist values more than President Bush," said Rob.

Asked several times if his group was a parody, Rob insisted with a straight face that the Communists for Kerry were not, in fact, supporting Bush.
If they went to the group's website, they would have seen it was a parody with one click. Uh-oh! Not checking their source before going with a story? Golly, I guess Fox News "no longer has the confidence that would allow them to continue vouching for them journalistically."

You'll be telling me how pathetic Fox News is for spinning like Baghdad Bob now, right, Krrrlson?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:41 AM on October 3, 2004


don't mean to harp on this, really, but it's ridiculous for you to ever accuse anyone of spin ever again. So just stop it.


You wish!

Use your head for a second and you'll realize that a single forged memo from an unknown source != four years bald-faced lies from the fucking WHITE HOUSE.
posted by jpoulos at 9:24 AM on October 3, 2004


jpoulos...[shaking head mournfully] you just don't get it.

We aren't subject to the same rules that they are. It's really that simple. We're wrong, see; so anything we say in our defense is, by definition, a lie. (Or, at best, self-delusion.)

When they get something right, it's vindication; when we get something right, it's obfuscation. Those are the rules. Learn to love them like you love Big Brother.
posted by lodurr at 12:40 PM on October 3, 2004


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