Last month Fox News was so disturbed by a string of journalistic mishaps that they had to issue a memo declaring a “zero tolerance” policy with regard to broadcast mistakes. Apparently the memo didn’t succeed in suppressing Fox’s proclivity for ignoring professional ethics.
On Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson conducted an interview with Yankee Derek Jeter that was more adulation than inquiry. This is her introduction:
“Derek, thank you so much for doing this interview. It’s always so great to sit down and talk with you. Especially today, because you’re the hottest athlete right now in the world. I’m looking at this list of awards you’ve had this year. You’ve broke Lou Gehrig’s all-time hit record for a Yankee. You won yet another Golden Glove award. The Hank Aaron award. The Silver Slugger. You’re captain of the team that won the World series. And now you’re the “Sportsman of the Year,” by Sports Illustrated.”
Jeter responded with the understatement that “It’s been a good year.” What was left unsaid was that Carlson’s husband is Jeter’s agent, Casey Close. This interview was such a transparent puff piece lauding Jeter’s current professional status that he should have paid a fee for it to be broadcast. But in the world of Fox News, conflict of interest is business as usual. A reputable news organization would not permit such a transgression, and would punish any employee who engaged in it. But Fox is already knee deep in ethical conflicts via their association with the Republican Party. Remember, they are the network that broadcast GOP talking points straight from the party’s own memo – typos and all.
It may be necessary for Fox to come up with a new tolerance policy that is even more stringent than zero. Especially for Gretchen for whom screwing up is one of the things she likes best about working at Fox:
“When we make a mistake reading the news headlines, whereas at a [broadcast] network you’d probably get fired, instead, we’re like, ‘Eh, we screwed up.’“
That just about sums up the Fox News commitment to journalistic accuracy.