Speaking to an audience at the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last night, Fox News boss Roger Ailes reportedly claimed that "[In] 15 years we have never taken a story down because it was wrong. You can't say that about CNN, CBS or the New York Times."
Like a lot of what Roger Ailes claims, this isn't true. Just a few examples:
In 2004, FoxNews.com posted a story with fabricated quotes from Sen. John Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee. Fox pulled the story from their website with an editor's note claiming, "We regret the error, which occurred because of fatigue and bad judgment, not malice."
Fox host Steve Doocy had to issue an on-air retraction in 2007 for repeating as fact an online news parody. At the time Fox News Vice President John Moody warned staff that "seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC."
Doocy, along with co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson on Fox & Friends also promoted the false report in 2007 that Barack Obama was educated in a madrassa. Doocy later aired the Obama campaign's denial of the story.
Twice in 2009 Fox reported a fake story that President Obama had watched an HBO documentary about himself instead of election returns. The second mention of the false story came afterreporter Major Garrett had issued an on-air retraction.
In August 2011 Fox Nation posted a YouTube video with the headline "Democratic Senator Lautenberg: We Got to Eliminate the Rich." It turned out that the graphics on the video had misquoted Lautenberg, and he had actually said, "We've got to eliminate the waste." Without noting their error, Fox Nation simply pulled the story.
Erik Wemple of the Washington Post noted the false report in the aftermath of last year's D.C. earthquake from Fox's Megyn Kelly that "The Washington Monument may be tilting. They are concerned that the Washington Monument may be tilting."
At the time the National Park Service told Wemple that Fox had never called them to verify the story. And it is still on a Fox News web site.
NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik pointed out two stories: Fox reported on a fake story that claimed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals "is trying to protect [deer] by adorning them with bright orange vests."
Fox also aired a story where correspondent Geraldo Rivera claimed he had prayed over "hallowed ground" in Afghanistan where servicemen had been killed in a friendly fire incident. It turned out that Rivera had never visited the site.
In 2009 an internal memo from Fox News management addressed the issue of "quality control," discussing "the latest in a series of mistakes on FNC in recent months."
Maybe it's time for another memo.