Is This What Passes For Accountability At Fox News?

Blog ››› ››› BEN DIMIERO

Once you're part of the Fox News team, it's notoriously difficult to actually get in trouble with the network. In fact, an almost complete lack of public accountability is apparently one of the biggest perks of working there.

When Fox host and senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano appeared on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' radio show last year and announced that 9-11 "couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us," the network turned a blind eye to his comments, despite the fact that Fox hosts and personalities had spent years harshly criticized anyone dabbling in 9-11 conspiracy theories.

Though Fox News prides itself on the (imaginary) wall separating its news and opinion divisions, the network has never publicly indicated that it has in any way punished Bill Sammon, its Washington managing editor, for his heavy-handed slanting of Fox's news coverage.

Which brings us to rising Fox star Eric Bolling. Last night, Bolling issued an insincere apology for the story he ran on his Fox Business program last week saying President Obama was hosting "hoodlum[s]" in "the hizzouse."

Bolling spent a grand total of 14 seconds addressing the widely-condemned segment. Notably, he neglected to explain exactly what had raised the ire of his critics, instead choosing to vaguely reference how "we got a little fast and loose with the language" which some had "interpreted as being disrespectful."

Only on Fox could this be considered an adequate apology for Friday's show.

Though Fox mostly adheres to the "we don't care" policy of addressing various controversies and inaccuracies, there are occasional exceptions. In fact, Fox's treatment of Bolling's inflammatory behavior is far more lenient than how the network recently responded to a comparatively benign mistake by a producer.

On the June 5 edition of America's News Headquarters, anchor Shannon Bream reported a story about fellow Fox News employee Sarah Palin weighing a potential presidential run. During the segment, an image of Tina Fey appeared in the graphic next to Bream. After the story got some traction, weekend programming executive producer David Clark responded to the apparent goof-up by telling TVNewser that the network "regrets the error" and announcing that "the producer has since been disciplined." (Bream also later apologized on-air for the error.)

On the other hand, a Fox Business spokeswoman merely told Yahoo's Dylan Stableford that Bolling would address the issue last night. In contrast to the comments given about the Palin/Fey graphic, Fox brass did not express any "regret" for Bolling's offensive behavior, nor did they indicate that anyone had been disciplined in any way for the segment.

The Palin/Fey incident was apparently just a passing error, but that wasn't the case with Bolling. On Friday's Follow the Money, Bolling repeatedly teased the segment using a variety of references to "hood[s]" and "hoodlum[s]" in the "hizzouse" and the "big crib." The "Hoods In The House" language was also scripted into onscreen text.

Clearly, Bolling and Follow The Money's trafficking in racial stereotypes was a deliberate choice involving multiple Fox News employees.

So, just to recap: Fox News officially "regrets the error," apologizes, and "disciplines" the person responsible for this:

But apparently can't be bothered to discipline the people responsible for this:

Network/Outlet
Fox Business
Person
Andrew Napolitano, Eric Bolling
Show/Publication
Follow the Money with Eric Bolling
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