Fox News' "mistakes" memo: where does the buck stop?

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

As my colleague Eric Hananoki noted below, FishbowlDC posted a Fox News memo today acknowledging "a series of mistakes on FNC in recent months" and stating that in the future, "there is zero tolerance for on-screen errors" and "[m]istakes by any member of the show team that end up on air may result in immediate disciplinary action against those who played significant roles in the 'mistake chain,' and those who supervise them... up to and including termination."

I wonder how far up the "mistake chain" this "zero tolerance" policy will apply? Does it extend to the on-air "talent," or is Fox News planning to blame all the mistakes on their assistant producers? If the "talent" misleads the audience, will some kid just out of college pay for it, or is the network actually planning to disciple its hosts, anchors, correspondents, and contributors for their errors?

My guess is that the buck isn't going to stop with the moneymakers on camera. But let's imagine if it did...

After Bill Hemmer falsely claims that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings knew about a "statutory rape" case and "never reported it," he's fired.

Every time Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity smear Obama administration officials with falsehoods, they get warning letters in their personnel files.

Chris Wallace gets suspended after channeling a stream of falsehoods about the Veterans Administration's purported "death book."

That would be accountability... but I really can't see it happening. If anyone pays at Fox News, it's going to be the little fish. Joe Lieberman's party affiliation may be labeled correctly in the future, but the "mistakes" in Fox News' reporting and commentary will be permitted to live on.

In any case, if Fox News' disciplinarians are interested in finding out when their personnel are making mistakes, they should watch this space. Media Matters will continue to comprehensively document Fox News falsehoods - and we hold all levels accountable.

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