Wash. Post's Wemple Calls Out Fox's Kelly For "Sidestep[ping] Blame" In Washington Monument Reporting


In a blog post today, The Washington Post's Erik Wemple criticized the reporting of Fox "straight news" anchor Megyn Kelly following the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that shook the east coast yesterday afternoon -- namely, that Kelly reported that the Washington Monument was tilting without first investigating the claim. From Wemple's post:

Give Megyn Kelly credit for communicating gravitas in the aftermath of the earthquake. Yesterday afternoon on Fox News, she reported:

"They are concerned that the Washington Monument may be tilting."

Then she slowed down a bit and said:

"They are concerned that the Washington Monument may be tilting."

Blockbuster, huh?

So who is "they"? Engineers with the National Park Service? White House officials who've been briefed on the teetering national symbol?

Nope -- for this most momentous of scoops on D.C.'s federal core, Fox News was relying on the words of some "D.C. police officer."


Bill Line, a spokesman with the National Park Service, says he knows of no outlet other than Fox that pushed the tilt. And he says Fox never contacted the Park Service before putting out its rumor. "We never received a phone call from Fox asking us about that," he says. "I learned about it on their Web site." Asks Line: "Wouldn't it be incumbent on a news organization to check out the facts?" People called into the Park Service worried about the possibly unstable Washington Monument, says Line. "We said the information is wrong .... We told them the Washington Monument is closed, but that's not the same thing as it's tilting."

In a follow-up post titled "Fox sidesteps blame in monumental tilt," Wemple wrote that Kelly today "addressed the question of her network's faulty report" on the monument but "took no blame whatsoever for the erroneous reporting."

Wemple wrote:

Megyn Kelly of Fox News just addressed the question of her network's faulty report on the tilting of the Washington Monument. Actually, rephrase that: Megyn Kelly of Fox News just said some stuff about the tilting of the Washington Monument and took no blame whatsoever for the erroneous reporting.

Here's what she said (sorry, no linkable vid just yet):

We are told that engineers are today surveying the landmark trying to figure out how to make it safe again for tourists to enter. They spotted cracked stones near the top immediately after the quake. No word yet on how badly it is damaged but the Park Service is now saying that the statements from Washington, D.C., police yesterday that the monument may be leaning turned out not to be the case when they got close enough to inspect. (Emphasis added to facilitate much-needed debunking.)


Did Shep Smith Rebuke Megyn Kelly's Sensationalist Earthquake Reporting?

Fox News Channel, The Washington Post
Megyn Kelly, Erik Wemple
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