Why Won't Fox News Tell Us More About Its Reporter "Assaulted" In Wisconsin?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Are you seeing the same pattern I am? It's the one where right-wing partisans, desperate to portray union supporters as thugs, loudly denounce acts of alleged violence. But then days later when it turns out the acts of violence weren't really so violent, the same partisans are suddenly completely uninterested in the stories they promoted.


Today I already documented the case of the Andrew Breitbart blogger who flagged a weekend "assault" in which a Tea Party activist claimed he was hit with a bullhorn and choked by a union thug. But oops, video of the incident shows that did not happen. Now, the story is no longer of interest inside Breitbart World. (Move along people.)

Simultaneously, we have the case of Fox News and Mike Tobin. In recent days, members of the the Fox News team were beside themselves as they detailed the physical abuse Tobin had to endure while reporting on the protests in Madison, Wisconsin. Megyn Kelly in particular seemed broken up about Tobin's plight, referring to the "assault" he had endured. (Tobin didn't agree with that characterization.) Kelly even wondered on-air why the Obama White House hadn't weighed in on the Tobin matter; why hadn't the president stood up for the press?

But alas, there may be less to the story than Fox News and its hysterical defenders first thought. Recently released video that captured the incident in which Tobin claimed he was "punched" by a Wisconsin activist shows the "punch" may have been of the invisible variety. And with that revelation yesterday, the right-wing blogosphere suddenly fell silent when it came to the topic of media martyr Mike Tobin. (Who's he?)

And Fox News? Here's what happened when Media Matters' Joe Strupp tried to get in touch with Tobin, whom he had previously interviewed about the alleged altercation [emphasis added]:

After the video emerged, Media Matters once again contacted Tobin for comment. This time, he didn't respond.

Instead, a Fox spokesperson called Media Matters and said that Tobin would have no further comment on the matter.

Just 48 hours ago Fox News was sure its reporter had been assaulted by thugs in Wisconsin and very much wanted to talk up the story. Today? Not so much. Just like Breitbart's team is now trying to to distance itself from the bogus claim of a union assault.

Here's a tip for both of them: When you stick to the truth, you don't have to backpedal.

Fox News Channel
Mike Tobin
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