What, exactly, is the point of Fox News Watch, Fox News' purported media criticism show?
On the show's November 21 installment, host Jon Scott told viewers, "I had better be accurate on a media criticism show." He's not.
We've noted that Fox News Watch routinely gets facts wrong, while excusing or ignoring criticism of its own network. Recently, the show falsely claimed that President Obama watched an HBO documentary about himself instead of election returns - days after Fox News apologized for starting the incorrect story. (Fox News Watch has yet to correct the record on its program.)
There's a special irony in having Jon Scott host a media criticism show. Scott has been repeatedly caught cut and pasting GOP talking points and press releases as his own research. After one Jon Scott cut and paste incident, Washington Post and CNN media critic Howard Kurtz blasted Scott for failing to apologize "for using partisan propaganda from the GOP without telling your viewers where it came from."
On November 21, Fox News Watch took on Obama's bow and Scott painted it as upsetting "a lot of people":
SCOTT: There was the announcement that he made as he got ready to jump on the plane that he was going to hold a jobs summit. This, after it came out that unemployment is, what, 10.2 percent now.
ELLIS HENICAN (Fox News contributor): That's right. Uncomfortable news. And you do anything you can as a politician to bury it.
To me, what was a little disappointing about the coverage was it didn't have a lot of discussion how it is, when we see our banker, always an uncomfortable situation, and it was the kind of silly stuff. It was the bowing and the political hits back and forth and the buried fact. I wish we had a discussion about the other stuff.
SCOTT: Symbolism did matter. I mean, the bowing did offend a lot of people.
RICH LOWRY (Fox News contributor, National Review editor): Yes, I find it offensive. I believe it's an offense against smaller "R" Republican manners for any president of the United States to bow to a foreign potentate. Look, this is a classic narrative story where a Republican -- you know, Nixon can do it, and it's not a big deal. But Obama does it, because the idea's out there, justifiably in my mind, that he's a weakling abroad, that he has an overly submissive attitude towards foreign countries. And that's why it was exploded. And kudos to the blogosphere, which was onto this way before the mainstream media.
Scott claims that "the bowing did offend a lot of people." But Americans overwhelming say that Obama's bow didn't offend them - according to a Fox News poll. 67% of Americans view Obama's bow as appropriate, while 26% view it as never appropriate. Even a majority of Republicans (53-40) view Obama's gesture as appropriate. Shockingly, Scott never mentioned the poll.
Daily Kos' Jed Lewison wrote, "Perhaps Fox should change their slogan: we report and you decide, but only if it's something that we think will make you hate President Obama." Indeed, when given a chance to note Fox News' polling days after its release, and while discussing public perception of that very topic, Scott - Fox News' designed media critic - claimed the opposite of what his own poll found.
Then again, with Fox News' own history of deception and inaccuracy, maybe Jon Scott is a 'perfect' fit as Fox News' media critic.