A Fox News promo indicates that tonight's edition of The O'Reilly Factor will answer the question of whether journalists are conspiring to “silence” the manufactured attack on Planned Parenthood that is being ginned up by anti-choice activist Lila Rose and her group Live Action:
VOICEOVER: Press protection of Planned Parenthood? Has the media intentionally silenced the story about the group's gender-specific abortion counseling?
If “the media” -- in Foxspeak, that means “every outlet other than Fox” -- chooses not to cover Rose's videos, perhaps it's because there is no story. Statistics show that sex-selective abortion simply does not happen with any regularity in the United States, as the vast majority of abortions are performed before gender is detectable, and the gender birth ratio in America is close to even. The videos Live Action has released thus far do not show a pattern of Planned Parenthood encouraging women to have sex-selective abortions.
What's really at work here is the Fox Cycle. As we've documented, this is a strategy Fox News uses to help right-wing activists and fringe figures catapult bogus stories into mainstream outlets.
Here's how it works:
1. Right-wing bloggers, talk radio hosts, and other conservative media outlets start promoting and distorting the story.
2. Fox News picks up the story and gives it heavy, one-sided coverage.
3. Fox News and conservative media attack the “liberal media” for ignoring the distorted story.
4. Mainstream media outlets eventually cover the story, echoing the right-wing distortions.
5. Fox News receives credit for promoting the story.
6. The story is later proven to be false or wildly misleading, long after damage is done.
We're at Step 3 of the cycle for Rose's latest round of hoax videos.
The right-wing Media Research Center began complaining this morning about broadcast networks' choice to not cover the phony outrage, and now Bill O'Reilly will amplify the complaint that “the media” aren't covering it.
Will other outlets allow O'Reilly and Fox News to make their editorial decisions for them?
Given Fox's recent display of its total disregard for journalistic standards, it seems like a bad idea.