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MediaBuzz

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  • Fox News spent four times as much time on breaking news about Harvey Weinstein than Bill O'Reilly

    In the forty-eight hours following this weekend's bombshell NY Times report about its former host, Fox gave only minutes to the breaking story

    Blog ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    In the first two days after each story broke, Fox devoted four times as much on-air coverage to the New York Times' initial article about film producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment settlements as the network dedicated to a recent New York Times report on a sexual harassment settlement between then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and the channel’s former legal analyst Lis Wiehl.

    In an October 21 report, The New York Times detailed that 21st Century Fox, Fox News’ parent company, “began contract negotiations” with O’Reilly even though the company knew that O’Reilly had reached a settlement with Wiehl after she sent him “a draft of a lawsuit she was threatening to file outlining her allegations of sexual harassment.” According to the Times, Wiehl said that O’Reilly had engaged in “repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material to her.” This report comes after O’Reilly was fired from Fox in April amid an advertiser boycott following another Times story reporting that $13 million had been paid to five women who had come forward with allegations of harassment against O’Reilly.

    In the two days after the story surfaced, Fox spent merely 5 minutes and 23 seconds on the newest report of its former employee’s despicable behavior, all of them during a single segment on the October 22 edition of MediaBuzz.


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    In contrast, after the Times began reporting on October 5 about settlements related to the dozens of women who said that Weinstein had sexually harassed them, Fox spent 22 minutes and 28 seconds discussing the story across nine separate segments over the next two days.

    For years, Fox News has enabled the culture of sexual harassment behind the scenes. It is not surprising then that the network has been reluctant to cover women who have come forward to report harassment at the hands of their superiors, and that even after firing O’Reilly in April, Fox continues to provide him with a platform and welcome him at the network.

    Methodology

    Media Matters searched SnapStream for mentions of “O’Reilly” between 12 p.m. on October 21 -- the day The New York Times report on O’Reilly was released -- and 12 p.m. on October 23 for significant discussions of the report. Media Matters also searched SnapStream for mentions of “Weinstein” between 12 p.m. on October 5 -- the day The New York Times report on Weinstein was released -- and 12 p.m. on October 7. Repeated segments were not counted. Teasers for upcoming segments were also not counted.

    We defined a “significant discussion” as one of the following:

    • a segment where the report on O’Reilly or the report on Weinstein was the stated topic of discussion;
    • a segment in which two or more speakers discussed one of the reports; or
    • a host monologue during which one of the reports was the stated topic of discussion.

    Chart by Sarah Wasko.

  • Fox's Ed Henry falsely claims Comey lied under oath about leak of Trump memos

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News correspondent Ed Henry misleadingly recounted May 3 testimony provided by then-FBI Director James Comey during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to falsely suggest that Comey had lied under oath. Henry’s flawed version of Comey’s responses to a Republican senator’s line of questioning mirrors a May 12 Breitbart.com article, which made the same misinformed suggestion.

    On the June 11 edition of Fox News’ MediaBuzz, Henry quickly rattled off a series of questions posed to then-FBI Director James Comey by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) during a May 3 hearing. After quoting Grassley’s questions from a transcript, Henry then paraphrased Grassley, claiming the senator asked Comey “whether he had allowed others to leak anything,” to which Comey responded, according to Henry’s erroneous account of the May 3 hearing, “no, no, no.” Henry suggested that this supposedly misleading testimony from Comey stood as evidence that the ousted FBI director was no “white knight” before claiming that Comey seemed “like someone who had been leaking a lot before”:

    ED HENRY: This idea that he's a white knight, this idea that oh he's shocked, shocked by leaks. I went back and looked at the record, and I think a lot of people have missed this. May 3, he was under oath, Senate Judiciary Committee before he was fired, and James Comey was asked by Chuck Grassley, "have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters related to the Trump investigation or Clinton investigations?" "Never." Followed up, "have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to leak information in either of those?" He says, "No." And then finally he said, "are you aware of any classified information related to the president or his associates leaking out?" "Not to my knowledge." This was before he got fired. "Not to my knowledge” is kind of an odd answer, number one. But number two, the idea that Grassley asked him whether he had allowed others to leak anything, and he said, under oath, "no, no, no."

    Hang on a second. Now, the playbook according to James Comey in this latest hearing is, "I can use somebody over at Columbia." You didn’t really believe that was the first time James Comey did that? It sounded like someone who had been leaking a lot before.

    In fact, according to a transcript from the May 3 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Comey, under oath, did not answer misleadingly to a broad question that Henry claims was posed to him by Grassley about “whether he allowed others to leak anything.” Comey only specifically denied that he: 1) was “an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation;” 2) that he “ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation;” and 3) that “any classified information relating to President Trump or his ... associates [had] been declassified and shared with the media”:

    SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY: Director Comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?

    JAMES COMEY: Never.

    GRASSLEY: Question two, relatively related, have you ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation?

    COMEY: No.

    GRASSLEY: Has any classified information relating to President Trump or his association — associates been declassified and shared with the media?

    COMEY: Not to my knowledge.

    On June 8, Comey testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he used “a good friend … who’s a professor at Columbia Law School” to provide information to The New York Times. Comey was not the anonymous source, nor was “someone else at the FBI,” and Comey established in his June 8 testimony, during a back and forth with Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), that the information eventually provided to the Times by an intermediary was not classified material. And of course, this New York Times report was published on May 11, a week after Comey’s Senate Judiciary Committee testimony, and two days after Trump fired him as FBI director.

    Suggesting that Comey lied under oath in response to Grassley’s line of questioning is false, and Henry’s misconstrued paraphrasing of Grassley’s question matched earlier attempts to defame Comey from Breitbart.com and other fake news purveyors.