Last week, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade made the outlandishly offensive -- and false -- claim that “all terrorists are Muslim.” Kilmeade didn't simply misspeak -- he made the claim at least twice: once on Fox & Friends, and another on his Fox News Radio program, where he called it a “fact.”
Kilmeade addressed his on-air smear early this morning and dishonestly claimed that he “misspoke. I don't believe all terrorists are Muslims. I'm sorry about that, if I offended or -- offended or hurt anybody's feelings. But that's it.”
Kilmeade's remarks -- combined with his history of offensive and inflammatory comments about Muslims -- might have gotten him fired or at least suspended if they were made on a real news network. But Kilmeade, of course, works for Fox News, where he is “not going to get reprimanded.” Don't take my word for it -- just ask Brian Kilmeade:
The loose atmosphere is the signature characteristic of “Fox & Friends,” the freewheeling program on Fox News that dominates the morning competition on cable. The hosts' political observations and pungent personal comments have stirred controversy, drawing detractors even as they have raised the show's profile.
“Here you have an ability to do stuff, and then they can always rein you in,” Kilmeade said after the program. “But I know I'm not going to get reprimanded.”
Co-host Gretchen Carlson, who co-anchored the Saturday edition of “The Early Show” before joining Fox News, said that producers there would cut her off when she tried to improvise.
Now, “when we make a mistake reading the news headlines, whereas at a [broadcast] network you'd probably get fired, instead, we're like, 'Eh, we screwed up,' ” she said. “And I think that's disarming.” [Los Angeles Times, 10/21/2008]
Kilmeade has every reason to feel that he won't get punished. Fox & Friends regularly runs ridiculous errors, smears (Obama was educated in a “madrassa”), and blatantly unethical behavior, yet the hosts are still standing.
In the summer of 2008, John Moody, Fox News' then-VP of news editorial, was asked about an instance in which Fox & Friends unflatteringly altered photos of two New York Times reporters. Moody's response? TV Newser wrote: "[Moody] 'wished' Fox & Friends 'hadn't done it. They didn't ask me first.' But he said the incident will not result in any official standards adjustments. Moody told the assembled press that the morning program is 'an entertainment show that does some news.'"