Starting the new year off right (extremely far-right), the folks at the Fox Nation are featuring as one of their top stories a report that is completely false. In other words, they appear to be entering 2010 doing exactly what they have done since their inception a few months ago. On this occasion, however, the truth is so readily available that you have to conclude that they have just given up entirely on even pretending to associate themselves with the news business. This is their web page topping scoop:
Accompanying a headline that declares: ACORN CEO Visited White House Week Before Scandal Broke, the Fox Nationalists posted a picture of Bertha Lewis and linked to a story about her sojourn to the President’s abode. The only problem with the story is that none of it is true. Other than that, it’s a world-class expose.
The source for this fake news is Andrew Breitbart’s notoriously untrustworthy BigGovernment site. Their columnist, identified only as Publius, writes that the name Bertha E. Lewis appears on a White House visitor’s log. So far so good. And there is a Bertha Lewis who is the CEO of ACORN. Hmm, maybe they’re on to something. Maybe not. As it turns out, the visitor to the White House is not the same person as the ACORN chief. This fact was readily apparent to anyone who bothered to call and ask either the White House or ACORN, which neither BigGovernment nor Fox bothered to do. Even without calling it would have been obvious that these were different people because ACORN’s Lewis had a middle initial of “M” (for Mae), not “E.” But checking facts has never been a strong suit for Fox and its affiliates.
What makes this negligence even more extraordinary is the fact that this is not the first time that Fox has fumbled with easily verified facts concerning White House guests. A couple of months ago Fox reported that Jeremiah Wright, Michael Moore, and William Ayers had all visited the White House. Of course those were all people who merely had the same names as the more famous persons who Fox implied were actually White House visitors. Yet even after making that embarrassing mistake, Fox now repeats the error with Bertha Lewis.
But it gets even worse. The article on BigGovernment snidely acknowledged that this might be a case of mistaken identity saying…
“Of course, it is possible that this isn’t ACORN’s Bertha Lewis. […] Sure, possible, but we’d love to see a bookie’s odds on that.”
That is at best a marginal disclaimer that ends up contradicting itself. But at least they slipped in a mention of the possibility that this was a different Lewis before opining (without checking) that it was not. However, Fox’s headline story not only made a declarative statement that it was ACORN’s Lewis, they also cut out BigGovernment’s half-hearted disclaimer from their otherwise verbatim version of the story. That’s right. The Fox Nationalists reprinted the bulk of the article but deliberately left out the bit that acknowledged that it may not be true. And then they let stand their false, stated-as-fact headline even though they knew that it was, at the very least, unverified.
Another year, another pile of lies from Fox and Rupert Murdoch’s devotedly dishonest anti-news enterprise.
Update (1/4/10): Days after this story was debunked, Gretchen Carlson ran with it on Fox & Friends. The truth really doesn’t matter to these sleazeballs. They’ve got lies to disseminate.