FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 19, 2010
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Media Matters sends ANOTHER letter to Fox News asking how glaring error will be handled under network's "zero tolerance" policy
Washington, D.C. - Today, in response to Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy following right-wing blogs in falsely suggesting that President Obama was incorrect in stating that Hawaii suffered a major earthquake in recent years, 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. Rabin-Havt has previously sent two letters regarding similarly glaring errors.
The letter reads:
Dear Mr. Clemente:
Yet again, I am writing to you concerning a glaring error on your network.
Yesterday morning, Fox & Friends aired a portion of President Obama's interview with Bret Baier in which Obama stated that a health care reform provision that benefits Louisiana "also helps Hawaii, which went through an earthquake." To which co-host Steve Doocy responded:
"Hold it. What Hawaiian earthquake? There was an earthquake in 1868 that killed 77. There was an earthquake in 1975 that killed two. ABC is reporting that apparently on page 432 of the Reid bill, there's a section describing exactly how a state would qualify. It would have to be within the last seven fiscal years. Essentially it boils down to just one state, and that is Louisiana."
Except, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake did hit Hawaii -- one that President George W. Bush declared a "major disaster." In fact, Fox & Friends and The Big Story reported on it at the time.
As I've written before, the quality control memo your network issued in November 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.' " This memo was sent after a series of embarrassing incidents where Fox News aired incorrect video footage. I can't comprehend how any of the errors I've written to you about wouldn't warrant such action.
Once again, I look forward to hearing whether your "zero tolerance" policy will be enforced in this case.
Vice President for Communications and Research
Media Matters for America