CNN, Fox ignored DOJ report's vindication of CREW in controversy over Foley emails


In a January 22 report on the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General's (OIG) review of the handling of the Mark Foley case, CNN correspondent Carol Costello made no mention of a finding by the OIG that the Justice Department and the FBI "inaccurately suggested" that actions by the nonprofit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) "were the cause of the FBI's decision not to investigate the emails." Costello omitted this finding, despite a prior CNN report, as Media Matters for America noted, that the FBI blamed CREW for its inaction on the Foley case. In addition, an earlier report by Costello on the 4 p.m. ET edition of The Situation Room failed to tell viewers that the report found the FBI had misled the media on its reasons for not acting on the emails sent by Foley, who resigned from Congress after the sexually explicit messages he sent to underage former pages were made public.

Similarly, during the January 22 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume also left out OIG's vindication of CREW despite a Special Report story that aired in October 2006 reporting that the FBI blamed CREW for its inaction on the Foley emails, as Media Matters also noted.

By contrast, in its January 23 article on the OIG's report, The Washington Post noted that CREW had been vindicated:

The FBI should have acted last summer to protect underage congressional pages after it was given "troubling" electronic messages sent by then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), according to a report released yesterday.

The review by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also found that FBI and Justice officials misled the news media last fall when they asserted that an activist group that first provided the FBI with Foley's messages had not been cooperative and had withheld vital information from investigators.

In fact, Fine's report found that the group -- Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, or CREW -- had notified the FBI within days of obtaining the electronic communications in July. But the FBI never asked for additional information from the group and never sought to interview the former page in Louisiana who received the messages from Foley, the report said.

From the 5 p.m. ET segment of the January 22 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

COSTELLO: The Justice Department is criticizing the FBI for its handling of the Mark Foley case. An internal report says the bureau should have moved to protect White House pages when it first learned of the former congressman's explicit Internet messages last July. The report doesn't find any misconduct by the FBI, but it does fault the bureau for making inaccurate statements about why it didn't launch an investigation. There is no comment from the FBI, at least not yet.

From the 4 p.m. ET segment of the January 22 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

COSTELLO: Their job is to uphold the law, but the FBI says it could have done that better in the case of the former Republican congressman who sent explicit Internet messages to young congressional workers. That's the conclusion of a Justice Department report. It says the FBI should have acted instead of declining when it learned Mark Foley sent the messages to a former House page. The report did not find any misconduct by FBI officials.

From the January 22 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: The Justice Department's own inspector general today criticized the FBI for the way it handled controversial emails from former Florida Congressman Mark Foley to a congressional page. The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, provided copies of the messages to the FBI last July. The inspector general says Foley's language was troubling enough that bureau authorities should have followed up by notifying supervisors of the page's program. Foley resigned in August-late September -- office in late September when the emails became public.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Fox News Channel, CNN
Brit Hume, Carol Costello
Special Report with Brit Hume, The Situation Room
Mark Foley Scandal
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