Sloppy & Wrong: 11 Fox & Friends Corrections, Clarifications, And Apologies

Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy once bragged that “here at Fox we still do journalism.” They just don't do it well on the show he hosts.

Following substantial mockery from other media outlets, Fox & Friends will reportedly issue a correction for the dishonest graphic they aired today that completely distorted President Obama's record on unemployment. That is unusual for the program; as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple explained, using an honest graphic to discuss the issue “is asking way too much of these people.”

Despite failing to produce accurate journalism, Fox & Friends attracts an average of 1 million viewers each morning -- far ahead of their cable news competitors.

Regardless of its ratings, the program's relationship with the facts has reportedly made it a laughingstock even among other Fox employees, with The New York Times reporting of the networks reporters, producers, and executives, “Ask them what they think privately” about Fox & Friends “and they will often roll their eyes and mention some embarrassing mishap.”

It's no wonder Fox employees are embarrassed to be associated with the program. Here are 11 on-air corrections, retractions, clarifications, and apologies Fox & Friends has had to issue for their sloppy journalism and offensive comments (often without admitting or explaining the original offense):

  1. The Obama Madrassa Smear. Fox & Friends had to “clarify” their false report claiming that then-Senator Barack Obama had attended a radical Islamic madrassa when he was a child in Indonesia. In response to this incident, Fox vice-president John Moody issued a memo to the network's staff explaining that “seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right.”
  2. Kilmeade: “All Terrorists Are Muslims.” Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that he “misspoke” when he claimed that “all terrorists are Muslims.” He had made the assertion on two separate occasions on the same day.
  3. School Prank Parody Reported As Real News Story. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy issued an on-air retraction and apology after he and Kilmeade reported on a fabricated news report about a school prank from an online parody website as fact. A judge later described their reporting in a lawsuit related to the incident as “grist for journalism classes teaching research and professionalism standards in the Internet age.”
  4. False Report That Obama Supported Release Of Lockerbie Bomber. Dana Perino apologized on Fox & Friends for falsely claiming on the previous day's program that President Obama had supported the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi.
  5. False Report On School Curriculum Changes In Texas. After the Texas Education Agency criticized Fox & Friends for a “highly inaccurate” report about planned curriculum changes for Texas schools, the show ran a “clarification” on the issue.
  6. Doocy Misquoted Obama, Claimed It Was Attack On Romney. Doocy admitted he “did some paraphrasing that seemed to misquote the president” when he falsely quoted Obama saying "'Unlike some people, I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth" in a supposed attack on Mitt Romney. In fact, Obama never said the “unlike some people” portion of the quote and had been using the phrase since March 2009.
  7. Kilmeade Praised Swedes For “Pure Genes.” Kilmeade apologized for his statement on Fox & Friends that Americans don't have “pure genes” like Swedes because “we keep marrying other species and other ethnics.”
  8. Falsely Claimed TSA Was Going To Screen Passenger DNA. Fox & Friends apologized for a false report that claimed that the Transportation Security Administration planned to screen passengers' DNA.
  9. False Report That Obama Planned To Apologize For The Atomic Bomb. Fox & Friends apologized for their false story claiming President Obama had considered apologizing to Japan for the U.S. dropping the atomic bomb.
  10. Inverted Poll To Claim 61 Percent Opposed Collective Bargaining. Fox & Friends issued a correction after claiming that 61percent of respondents to a poll favored taking collective bargaining rights away from public employees. In fact, 61 percent opposed the measure in the Gallup poll they cited.
  11. Giuliani: Obama Didn't Say “War” During State Of The Union. Doocy issued a correction on-air after former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani falsely stated on Fox & Friends that President Obama didn't say “war” during his 2010 State of the Union speech.

These examples represent only a small fraction of the program's misdeeds; more often than not, Fox & Friends ignores criticism of their false stories and refuses to issue corrections or retractions for their sloppy journalism. Indeed, their reputation for getting stories wrong while promoting the conservative movement and attacking progressives was parodied on an episode of Saturday Night Live.