Fox News Reports Parody as News

I always considered the “reporting” (and I use that term loosely) at Fox News to be a bit jaded, slanted, and heavily spun.  However, I never really considered that they would actually report a joke as actual, newsworthy truth.

And yet, here we are.

Before we get into things, here’s a quick backstory:  Last week in Lewiston, Maine,  a groupd of Muslim middle school students were the butt of a cruel joke.  A group of their fellow students placed a ham steak next to the Muslim students in order to “personally offend” them.  The school’s officials filed a report, saying the Muslim students viewed the act as at hate crime.

This true story was then parodied by a site akin to The Onion named Associated Content.  The people at A/C, much like Onion writers, fleshed out details, added fake quotes made by imaginary people.  Often times, just like on the Onion, these details and quotes are so outrageous that it’s painfully obvious to even the most uninformed reader that what is being presented is pure entertainment.  However, there are exceptions to that rule:

This past Tuesday, Fox & Friends  reported this story…the made up story from Associated Content… as actual news.  They even went so far as to give direct quotes given by those A/C-created people.  The hosts of the show go on to make fun of the situation, asking “Was it a hate crime or lunch?”  Firstly, it’s already bad enough that Fox News has apparently resorted to reporting false facts as actual news, but now they openly poke fun at a religious tenant held dear by many (if not me, but it still deserves respect).  Secondly, you would figure that a “reputable” (I use this term sparingly, also) news service would have the foresight to verify such an outrageous story before airing it on national television.  Then again, Fox has a history with reporting incomplete or untruths as facts.

A year ago, an “investigative reporter” for Fox News was doing a story on Americans supporting terrorists interests both here in American and overseas.  Well, this particular reporter (who no longer works for Fox) supposedly came across “irrefutable evidence” that this particular “terrorist” was living in Los Angeles and financially supporting other Middle East terrorists.  So, what does Fox News do?  They air the story, complete with Name (first and last), and address (house number, street, city,  and county included).  Forget about checking up on your facts, how about preserving the privacy of someone you’ve never met?  Well, as I’m sure you either already know or suspect, the “terrorist” turned out to be just your average American couple living peaceful lives in LA.  The damage, however, was already done.  Their house was spray-painted (with the word “terrists” no less), and the family became prisoners in their own home.

I guess it goes to show that if you’re going to report the news, at least verify your facts before you go and make an idiot of yourself.  After these two episodes, I can’t believe anyone watches Fox for any sort of newsworthy content.  You’d be better off reading the Sunday comics.

a:\>ice9.exe

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~ by Deuce on April 28, 2007.

3 Responses to “Fox News Reports Parody as News”

  1. Ok, I’ll give it to you that the A/C does write and post viable news related articles, but I still can’t understand why a NATIONAL NEWS SERVICES chose to rely on one and only one source. First year journalism students learn about this rule: “Always verify your facts”.

    Yes, I do believe the A/C should’ve taken some actions against the author, especially if what he submitted, and how he submitted it did not comply with their standards. However, that nagging first rule of journalism still applies:”Always verify your facts”. The people at Fox News should’ve KNOWN that a story like this would’ve hit the press almost immediately. In fact, they go so far as to say that they’ve checked this story with local newspapers, which I highly doubt.

    Anyway you slice it, Fox News failed horribly in its journalistic duties; but like I stated, they apparently have a track record for that sort of thing…

  2. The statement “This true story was then parodied by a site akin to The Onion named Associated Content,” is not accurate. AC is not a news parody site. AC contributors write the full spectrum of useful and sometimes satirical articles. It was solely the author of the piece who chose to ignore the rules and submit his satire via the news feed that caused this ridiculous uproar. If he had followed AC’s TOS and submitted the article correctly, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

    He actions were purely a stunt for notoriety. The only sad part is that AC took no punitive action with the author.

  3. No retractions as of yet that I can see from the hard right blogs that ran with this story either although I’m sure the bloggers in question realize by now that they’ve been had.

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