Fox really wants the federal boycott of Arizona to be real

Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

The following timeline of 24 hours of Fox News "journalism" demonstrates the networks' willingness to disregard the facts when faced with an opportunity to advance a damaging narrative about the Obama administration.

Yesterday morning, FoxNews.com reported Gabrielle Giffords' (D-AZ) claim that the Department of Education and the U.S. Border Patrol "have joined the 'boycott Arizona' trend and nixed conferences there out of concern over the state's immigration law." The article stated that "FoxNews.com is awaiting response from both agencies," and said "the cancellations ... may have been more out of a desire to steer clear of controversy than outright protest of the law." Nevertheless, the headline on the front page of FoxNews.com asserted as fact that "two federal agencies join the 'boycott Arizona' campaign":

Feds on 'Boycott' Bandwagon?

Shortly thereafter, Fox News' America Live, one of Fox's purportedly "straight news" programs, did a segment about "reports now that two government agencies have recently cancelled events planned to happen in Arizona. These are the federal -- this is the federal government cancelling events now, raising questions about whether the feds are now engage in an effort to try to punish Arizona for its new immigration law," in the words of host Megyn Kelly.

During the segment, Fox News correspondent Rick Folbaum said Giffords is "fuming that two federal agencies, the Department of Education and the US Border Patrol have dropped out of conferences that were set to be held in her state out of concern for the new law." Folbaum added, We've reached out to both agencies for comment. We're still waiting for them to get back to us."

Later that day, Stuart Varney, co-hosting on Your World with Neil Cavuto, stated that "two federal agencies are joining the 'boycott Arizona' movement by canceling conventions over the state`s immigration law," even though he noted moments later that the Department of Education will be holding a meeting in Arizona next week. Varney also stated: "So, true to say, one meeting has been transferred because of the new law in Arizona. It`s going to Minnesota. The Border Patrol is also canceling meetings in Arizona."

Around that time, actual news outlets were reporting that both of the federal agencies had disputed the charge that they are boycotting Arizona to protest its immigration law. From an Associated Press report:

The Education Department says it moved a joint event held with Mexican and Canadian partners in a student exchange program because the Mexicans asked that it be moved. Each agency pays for its part of the joint North American Mobility Program.

The agency says it is holding other conferences in Arizona, including one next week.

And the Arizona Daily Star reported:

Border Patrol officials say they did not cancel any Arizona events, according to a statement issued by the agency's public affairs office in Washington, D.C.

"CBP has not canceled any conferences in Arizona. We conducted a thorough review across our organization to ensure this is, in fact, the case. The agency has reached out to Rep. Giffords' office to clear up any misunderstanding," the statement says.

Next, Bret Baier said during Special Report, another one of Fox's "straight news" programs: "Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford says the Education Department and the Border Patrol have canceled conferences in her state, apparently joining the boycott over the new immigration law. Giffords, who does not support the law, says the cancellations are very troubling." He said nothing more about the issue.

Surely by the next morning, Fox will have adjusted their coverage of this story and provided the statements from the agencies?

When I checked in the morning, the front page of FoxNews.com still asserted: "Two Federal Agencies Join Arizona Boycott":

Two Federal Agencies Join Arizona Boycott

And on America's Newsroom, yet another of Fox's "straight news" programs, co-host Martha MacCallum said: "Two federal agencies are joining the push to boycott Arizona. This is a very unusual development." She added:

MACCALLUM: [B]oth the Department of Education and the US Border Patrol were supposed to hold conventions at two resorts in Arizona. And now they are backpedaling on that. The news comes as several other cities and groups are encouraging boycotting the state of Arizona, but unusual that the federal government would aim an economic boycott against one of its own 50 states."

MacCallum did not mention either of the agencies' responses.

And if you visit Fox Nation right now, their top story is: "Obama Administration Launches Boycott vs. Arizona":

Obama Launches Boycott vs. Arizona

FoxNation links to the Foxnews.com article, which has been updated without giving readers any indication that it was changed from the original version posted yesterday morning. Still, however, the article does not provide the Border Patrol's statement that they did not cancel a conference in Arizona. Nor does it note that the Department of Education says they have an event scheduled in Arizona next week.

If there is anyone working in the news media today who believes that this is the behavior of a real news organization, then I give up.

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