RED-HANDED: Behind-The-Scenes Discussion Shows Fox News' Lack Of Journalistic Integrity Firsthand
Blog ››› ››› MELODY JOHNSON
Fox News Watch has some explaining to do.
In its leading segment on Saturday's show, host Jon Scott criticized NBC News for waiting a week to report on the fact that General Electric paid $0 in taxes for their 2010 fiscal year. However, that's not the original point Scott was planning to make. As the Huffington Post discovered, Fox originally intended to hit NBC for not reporting on the story at all and began filming the segment by falsely claiming that they had ignored the GE tax story. However, as guest Jim Pinkerton immediately noted, NBC News did report on this, at length, on their March 31 broadcast of NBC Nightly News.
As Scott introduced the segment, on-screen text read "GE's Big Tax Story Not News for NBC News?" When asked to comment about NBC's supposed lack of reporting on GE's tax dodge, Pinkerton interjected, stating, "They covered it last night." What followed was a moderately-paced train wreck that led one of the show's producers, off-screen, to yell cut. But here's the best part: They didn't cut the take because Scott had gotten a key fact of his story wrong. They cut the take because, says the producer: "I didn't like the way you looked." Seriously.
While they thought they were not being filmed, the host and panelists then discussed what would be said in the second take of the segment. The conversation included Pinkerton--a conservative columnist--expressing his gratitude for the take being reshot because he didn't want the host to "wind up looking bad" for being corrected "in the first seconds" of the show. He then took the time to discuss with the host how the story should be framed. That dialogue, as follows:
PRODUCER (Off-Screen): Cut! Cut!
PINKERTON: I was going to say--
PRODUCER (Off-Screen): Cut!
PINKERTON: --I'm glad we're not doing this. Yeah, cut.
PRODUCER (Off-Screen): Sorry.
SCOTT: What happened?
PINKERTON: You can't. It was on last night, on NBC News, this story. They said - you know, and that was kind of the point.
CAL THOMAS: Did you see it?
PINKERTON: I did.
THOMAS: Oh, OK.
COLMES: Why are we cut?
PRODUCER (Off-Screen): I didn't like the way you looked.
SCOTT: Right. But the point is - and you need to remember Thursday night.
JUDY MILLER: So -
PINKERTON: Right, and I was wrong about that, but I thought we were just going to stop it because to me -I don't want-- you wind up looking bad if I correct you -
SCOTT: Right. But the point -
PINKERTON: --In the first seconds.
SCOTT: The point, the point is that it took them a week, basically.
MILLER: Yes, and, alright--
PINKERTON: Okay, it took them a week. That's true. ABC did it Wednesday night, and NBC did it Thursday night, so you can say ABC kind of shamed NBC.
SCOTT: But the Times did it Friday, and -
PINKERTON: I understand.
SCOTT: --and having worked there -
PINKERTON: I'm all set to pound away on this subject.
MILLER: And I am, too, with another issue.
Incredibly, all of this was captured on film and posted on Fox News Watch's own website, proving that the show's sloppiness extends all the way to its online content.
Miller, however, is absolutely correct. Not only would it have been better "to get it right" by doing a second take, it would have been better to have researched the story in the first place and made sure you had it "right" before you went to air. After all, this is supposed to be a media criticism show on a so-called credible news network. One would think that part of their job would be to make sure their criticism was actually based in fact. Right?
The train wreck, for your viewing pleasure:
[h/t Huffington Post]
And, just in case you weren't absolutely convinced of the fact that NBC did cover this story, here it is in its entirety:
Of course, after all the criticism by Fox News of NBC regarding what they choose to cover and when they choose to cover it, Fox News Watch failed to mention a story that Media Matters first reported last week regarding Fox executive Bill Sammon boasting that during the 2008 Presidential campaign he lied repeatedly on-air about President Obama and his supposed ties to Socialism. Presumably, that story would have as much significance to Fox as a story about GE would have to NBC. And, as Scott discovered, NBC did actually report on an embarrassing story regarding their former owners. Fox News, however, doesn't have the same sort of journalistic integrity.
Fox News, your credibility flew out the window long ago, but I think I just saw it hail a cab and get clear out of town.