Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fox compounds coalmining tragedy with distortions of truth

Aside form the obvious sorrow felt by the nation over this tragic story of the 12 dead coalminers in West Virginia, there is another crime being committed - the TRUTH as told by Fox News Channel.

I feel asleep last night earlier than usual (us retired journalists DO that ... more often than before), so I missed the initial excitement that was spread all over cable TV news (including Fox) about an apparent discovery of trapped miners being alive. For three hours, that was the report that stuck with everyone.

It just so happened that the "break" took place at deadline for newspapers in the Eastern and Central time zones. They went with what we being reported worldwide (including on FNC). It is the nature of the business and little can be done to prevent it (although how a newspaper is actually produced is a process of little knowledge among the general public).

Many, MANY papers, including my hometown Dallas Morning News, went with what was "known" at deadline time. As it turned out sadly, it was just the opposite. Many papers probably stopped their presses and rebuilt the affected pages to reflect how the story changed.

But this morning, as I watched and surfed through cable news, there was FNC slamming its two favorite whipping posts - the New York Times and USA Today - over their "erroneous" reporting and openly asking the question of whether the editors of those papers should have waited to print such headlines prior to confirmation. And when some bubble-headed bleached blonde is saying it, it just adds more salt to the wound.

However, want to bet on which cable network tried to be FIRST with the original story and shouted it to the mountain tops? Did you say "What is Fox News Channel?" Correct Jeopardy answer.

Nothing could more clearly demonstrate the hypocrisy, audacity and attitude of FNC than that. To anyone confronted by FNC viewers who actually believe the "fair and balanced" baloney, just cite this purified example of bullshit.

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