During the December 5 edition of Fox News Watch -- Fox News' media criticism show -- contributor James Pinkerton defended Fox News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's role in granting a commutation for Maurice Clemmons, who has been accused of killing four police officers in Lakewood, Washington; Fox News did not disclose that Pinkerton served as a senior adviser to Huckabee's presidential campaign. The lack of disclosure comes after Fox News reportedly admitted a mistake in allowing host Gretchen Carlson to interview athlete Derek Jeter without disclosing that her husband is Jeter's agent.
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FNC contributor Pinkerton defends Huckabee from criticism
Pinkerton defends Huckabee from criticism. After Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers criticized Huckabee's decision, Pinkerton defended Huckabee by claiming that Clemmons "was 17 years old and convicted of nonviolent -- not -- without a gun, burglary, and sentenced to 108 years. I think most people would see that as excessive. The real scandal is that he had at least three brushes with the law since the year 2000 and nobody, then, ever chose to revoke his clemency. That wasn't Mike Huckabee's fault. That was other people." In 1989 and 1990, Clemmons was sentenced for multiple crimes:
The Arkansas Times reported: "On May 3, 2000, Gov. Mike Huckabee commuted Clemmons' sentence to 47 years, 5 months and 19 days, which made him eligible for parole that day. The Parole Board granted his parole July 13, 2000. He was released Aug. 1, 2000. Clemmons then returned to prison for a July 13, 2001 conviction for robbery in Ouachita County, for which he received a 10-year sentence. He was paroled March 18, 2004."
Fox News fails to disclose that Pinkerton was a senior adviser to Huckabee campaign
Pinkerton joined Huckabee campaign as senior adviser. A January 11, 2008, Politico article reported that "Pinkerton resigned as a Fox News contributor and gave up the column he has written for Newsday" to join Huckabee as a senior adviser:
Pinkerton resigned as a Fox News contributor and gave up the column he has written for Newsday and other newspapers since 1993.
"I went from one thing I loved doing to something else that I felt called to do," Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton started Thursday, with the title of senior adviser. The campaign official said he will work at the intersection of policy and strategic messaging. In other words, he will help beef up Huckabee's policy proposals, which until now have been less detailed than those of some of his rivals.
Pinkerton was lured to the Huckabee team by Ed Rollins, the campaign's national chairman. Both men are Massachusetts natives. In 1982 and 1983, Pinkerton worked for Rollins when he was President Ronald Reagan's director of political affairs.
Rollins sold the job to him as a chance to help "restore the Reagan coalition," Pinkerton recalled.
"I thought, 'I'm not going to turn THAT down,'" he said.
Pinkerton's blog states that he is a Fox News contributor and "a former senior adviser to the Mike Huckabee for President campaign." FoxNews.com identifies Pinkerton as a Fox News "political analyst" and "a regular on 'FOX News Watch.'"
No disclosure. Fox News Watch did not disclose that Pinkerton is a former senior staffer to Huckabee. During the beginning of the show, host Jon Scott simply identified Pinkerton as a fellow for the New America Foundation.
Disclosure problem: Fox News reportedly admits mistake in failing to disclose host Carlson's ties
"Fox News acknowledged Friday in an official comment that a disclosure should have been made" with Carlson. The New York Times reported on December 4 that after Fox & Friends host Gretchen Carlson interviewed baseball player Derek Jeter without disclosing that her husband is Jeter's agent, "Fox News acknowledged Friday in an official comment that a disclosure should have been made." From the Times:
But Ms. Carlson did not disclose the fact that her husband, Casey Close, is Mr. Jeter's agent.
Fox News acknowledged Friday in an official comment that a disclosure should have been made. A Fox News staff member who was aware of the action taken said the management of the news channel was "stunned at the way this was handled by 'Fox and Friends' and that the disclosure was not made."
The staff member, who asked not to identified because the channel's treatment of the people involved was meant to be private, said both Ms. Carlson and Lauren Petterson, the program's executive producer had been "spoken to about the matter."
Fox News Watch's history of falsehoods, lack of disclosure
Fox News doesn't disclose Pinkerton's role in hyping tea parties. On April 18, while Fox News Watch discussed the media's coverage of the April 15 tea parties, Fox News and Pinkerton did not disclose that he had urged people to get involved in "protesting against the evils of over-taxation and its wicked handmaidens, over-spending and over-regulation. ... [T]he 'Tea Party 2' movement needs YOU."
Fox News Watch repeats fake story about HBO documentary that Fox apologized for starting. On November 8, Scott repeated the fake story that President Obama watched an HBO documentary about himself on November 3 instead of election returns. However, Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett said on November 4 that the story -- which Fox News started -- was incorrect and apologized for what he said was his "mistake."
Scott claimed "[w]e don't have any idea" what Biden said to AFL-CIO, but transcript is available. On March 9, Scott claimed that Vice President Joe Biden's appearance at the AFL-CIO executive council meeting was "closed to the press," adding, "We don't have any idea what he said there." In fact, the White House released a transcript of Biden's AFL-CIO speech, and "a pool of print reporters" reportedly covered the speech at the request of the White House. Scott later apologized for the remarks.