It has been well documented that Fox News is a partisan agent of the Republican Party. They brazenly promote the interests of the GOP and employ “analysts” who split their time between appearances on Fox and guiding multimillion dollar campaigns against President Obama and other Democrats (i.e. Karl Rove). But now Fox News has demonstrated perfectly why they are not in any reasonable sense a news enterprise.
In a segment of Fox’s signature “news” program, Special Report with Bret Baier, chief Washington correspondent James Rosen gave an account of a memo circulated by Mitt Romney’s campaign that alleged that the Obama campaign had contracted with companies to employ foreign-based call centers. Rosen regurgitated the information provided by Romney’s camp as if it were irrefutably true. The impression left by the report was that Obama is a hypocrite for criticizing Romney’s business record of outsourcing American jobs to other countries, while he was allegedly doing the same thing with his campaign.
There’s only one problem with this irrefutably true allegation – it has been refuted by a real news organization. ABC reporter Devin Dwyer did what reporters do. He investigated the claims made in Romney’s memo and discovered that they originated from a four month old right-wing blog, the Washington Free Beacon, whose web site describes it as being “Dedicated to uncovering the stories that the professional left hopes will never see the light of day.”
The Beacon reported that Obama’s campaign paid several thousand dollars to two foreign firms for telemarketing services. One of the firms was Pacific East, whose headquarters is in British Columbia, Canada. However, as ABC’s Dwyer learned after inquiring, the company also has offices in Oregon. The other firm is Donor Services Group, and it is based in Los Angeles, California, with no current ties to foreign operations. The Beacon apparently found data from 2009 that referenced services provided to a specific client from a facility in the Philippines. But there was no indication that there was any ongoing business there. And in neither case was there any evidence that the work performed by either of these companies for the Obama campaign was done by anyone outside of the United States.
Fox News has once again embarrassed itself as a haven for shoddy journalism. Their chief Washington correspondent took an unsubstantiated blog posting and broadcast it, without any fact-checking, to a Fox audience already dreadfully misinformed and pitifully ignorant. And Baier, the anchor of the program, never bothered to exercise any of the due diligence that a credible journalist would do. The story went straight from an avowedly conservative blog to Romney headquarters to Fox News, without any effort to certify the allegations.
It took a reporter from ABC to make a couple of calls, get the real story, and reveal that Romney, the Beacon, and Fox News were all accomplices in disseminating a lie. This is what happens when you have pseudo-news organizations that don’t actually do any news gathering. The broadcast news networks and CNN have bureaus staffed with reporters all over the world. But Fox News only has presenters who read copy off of TelePrompters and don’t do any original reporting. You can’t expect them to actually verify things they read on blogs, can you? Especially when it’s so much easier to just go with the talking points you get from the Republican National Committee. That’s the difference between Fox News and actual news.