FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 4, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Media Matters issues second open letter in less than a month asking network to correct another glaring error
Washington, D.C. - Today, in response to Fox & Friends trumpeting the false claim that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis visited the White House "just days before those explosive undercover tapes about ACORN were released," Media Matters for America's Ari Rabin-Havt issued an open letter to Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente asking how this error would be handled in light of the network's "zero tolerance" policy. Less than a month ago, Rabin-Havt sent a letter about a similarly glaring error in a graphic shown during a Fox & Friends broadcast but has yet to receive a direct response from Clemente.
Today's letter reads:
January 4, 2010
Dear Mr. Clemente:
Less than a month ago, I wrote you in regards to a graphic shown during Fox & Friends that purported to show the results of a Rasmussen poll asking if scientists falsified research to support their own theories on global warming. As Media Matters noted at the time, this graphic contained a glaring error. Citing the memo Fox News sent to its newsroom announcing that there would be "zero tolerance for on-screen errors," I asked how this particular error would be handled.
While I received no direct response from the network, Fox & Friends executive producer Lauren Peterson did take the time to talk to Politico's Michael Calderone, saying that -- despite all evidence to the contrary -- there was no error in the graphic.
So, in the spirit of "zero tolerance," I am writing yet again in regard to an error on Fox & Friends. This morning, Gretchen Carlson claimed that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis "got an inside look at the White House just days before those explosive undercover tapes about ACORN were released." Carlson was presumably taking her cues from right-wing claims that recently released White House visitors logs included Lewis' name. However, Politico's Ben Smith reported in a blog post several days ago that the Bertha Lewis who visited the White House had the middle initial "E," while the ACORN CEO's middle initial is "M." Moreover, Smith noted that according to an "administration official," the Bertha Lewis that visited the White House was not the Bertha Lewis who is the CEO of ACORN.
Fox News' quality control memo came after a series of embarrassing incidents where Fox News aired incorrect video footage. The memo states that "mistakes 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.' "
I once again look forward to hearing how this new policy will be enforced in this case.
Vice President for Communications and Research
Media Matters for America