On at least three separate occasions, Fox Business ran a quote purportedly made by an Occupy Toronto protester who wondered why anyone would want to work long hours. In reality, the quote is fake, as it came from a “satire” piece published by The Globe and Mail.
Humor columnist Mark Schatzker published an October 21 piece in the Canadian newspaper -- headlined, “Occupy Toronto: The one-week anniversary party” -- which contained the following quote from “Jeremy, 38”:
“It's weird protesting on Bay Street. You get there at 9 a.m. and the rich bankers who you want to hurl insults at and change their worldview have been at work for two hours already. And then when it's time to go, they're still there. I guess that's why they call them the one per cent. I mean, who wants to work those kinds of hours? That's the power of greed.” - Jeremy, 38
The column itself is tagged as “satire” on the Globe and Mail's site. Still, as Mediaite's Nando Di Fino and TPM's Jillian Rayfield noted, conservatives bloggers passed the quote off as real. The Power Line's John Hinderaker ran the quote and later posted an update claiming, “Upon further review, prompted by my wife, I think the quotes attributed to occupiers at the linked site are jokes. Pretty funny ones, too. The point, I think, remains valid.”
The fake quote didn't just fool conservative bloggers, as Fox Business repeatedly quoted “Jeremy” on-air. During the October 26 broadcast of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman read the quote -- which was attributed to an Jeremy, an “Occupy Wall Street Protester” -- to criticize the protests.
On the October 28 broadcast of FBN's Varney & Co., host Stuart Varney ran the quote twice. During the 9am hour, Varney read the quote and asked, “Can you believe that?” Fox Business contributor Charles Payne replied, “That says it all.”
Varney again presented the fake quote as real during a 10am segment with radio host Michael Graham.
Mr. Schatzker says he first discovered that bloggers critical of the Occupy movement were taking his characters' words at face value about a week ago. But with Mr. [Rick] Perry joining them, his spoof piece has taken a life of its own.
“It's just hilarious. It's thrilling in a way, just because it's just so incredibly out of context that a guy from Texas running for the president of the United States is quoting a satirical piece that appeared in a city section of a Canadian paper,” he says.
Mr. Schatzker adds that even if his article hadn't been marked as satire, the absurdity of his characters' quotes should have tipped people off. A simple Google search would also have allowed them to easily fact-check, he says.
“I suppose people wanted it to be true so much that they didn't bother.”