Well, it’s that time of year. The time for end-of-year lists and collections of the best/worst whatever that we all endured for the past twelve months. The prospect of compiling such lists for 2017 seemed particularly daunting considering the wealth of material created by our sociopathic president, Donald Trump, and his PR division at Fox News. After all, no one was going to read through a 1,000 best/worst list for the year. And how could it be pared down to ten?
So News Corpse found a category that would not be too overwhelming. Fox News has told literally thousands of lies this year. But they have only acknowledged or corrected a handful. That’s because they don’t practice the sort of journalistic ethics that a legitimate news enterprise normally would. In fact, their mission is to disinform and deceive. Consequently, they have no use for retractions or apologies. But News Corpse did document the rare occasions when Fox News was forced to at least make a comment about some blatantly false story that they leaked into the mediasphere. What follows are some stories that even Fox couldn’t pretend were true (kind of).
May 24: There is a conservative mythology that Democratic operative Seth Rich was assassinated by some nefarious lefty cabal because he leaked stolen DNC documents to Wikileaks. However, there’s no evidence of any such activity, and the police have concluded that the crime was a botched robbery. Nevertheless, Fox News, and especially Sean Hannity, repeatedly advanced the ludicrous conspiracy theory.
July 11: Steve Doocy of Fox and Friends falsely reported that former FBI director James Comey made documents public that were classified as “Top Secret.” But Doocy had to retract that report the following day because it wasn’t true. Donald Trump retweeted the original false story, but never corrected the tweet.
July 24: Fox News contributor Gen. Tony Thomas accused the New York Times of allowing a terrorist leader to escape. Then Fox weekend host Pete Hegseth elaborated on the charge that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would’ve been captured if not for the Times. The Times responded with proof that Fox’s story was false, but Fox continued reporting the same lies, as did Trump.
September 9: Fox’s Greg Gutfeld rattled off some falsehoods that portrayed the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as charlatans and associates of violent nutjobs. He accused them of financial improprieties and failing to perform the legal they work that is their mission. The SPLC responded with a letter proving Gutfeld’s remarks to be false. But Fox ignored the letter and never corrected their libelous story.
December 5: Fox and Friends co-host Pete Hegseth erroneously reported that MSNBC failed to cover the not guilty verdict in the Kate Steinle murder trial. […] The false reporting by Hegseth was uncorrected for at least twelve hours despite the network being informed of the error.
December 10: A Fox News headline falsely asserted that “Roy Moore accuser admits she forged part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate.” There was just one little problem with that. The accuser, Beverly Young Nelson, never admitted any such thing.
It’s interesting to note that Fox News made a big deal about a few incorrect reports during the year by ABC News or CNN. These were portrayed as proof that the entirety of the media was fake. Many of Fox’s pundits went so far as to accuse the press of making these mistakes deliberately. And of course, that was Trump’s standard approach as he labeled everything “fake news.” However, Fox went to great lengths to avoid mentioning any of their own falsehoods when discussing this subject. They’re pure as the driven snow. It’s the same way they treat the subject of sexual abuse. Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken are always brought up as examples, but Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly are forgotten figures from some distant past.
To be sure, the list above doesn’t represent the full picture of Fox’s dishonesty. They continue to press flat out lies about the Uranium One deal, which their own “hard news” correspondent, Shepard Smith, utterly debunked. And Fox News is obsessed with tarnishing the reputation of the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller. If you watched nothing but Fox News you would come away believing that Mueller was an unscrupulous Democrat determined to crush Donald Trump with manufactured tales of collusion. Never mind that in reality he is a life-long Republican selected by a Republican Acting Attorney General, who was appointed by Trump.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
Next year is almost certainly going to be more of the same. Fox News will defend Trump from any and all criticism, while writing new talking points for him to tweet. Trump will adopt Fox’s rhetoric and disgorge it on Twitter and to friendly reporters. Then Fox will cover what Trump said bringing the circle to a close, ready to recycle in an endless loop of lying. And on that depressing note, News Corpse would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year.