For conspiracy theorists…

Since it’s that time of year. has a screen shot of Fox News labelling Mark Foley a Democrat. Hmmm….yeah…and that X over Dick Cheney’s face was an accident, I hear.

  • Not for nothing, Bob, but this is not the only time Fox has done this. The AP has also made this mistake, and it’s an absolutely preposterous one for a news organization to make.

  • D’oh! The comment box doesn’t allow links???

  • Bob Collins

    Not that preposterous. I referred to Mark Kennedy as Sen. Kennedy not long ago.

    I grew up in Massachusetts, remember.

    BTW, they just rolled out a new version of Moveable Type here, the links and certain other html are now supposed to be available in comments. I’ll check it out.

  • Bill Prendergast


    I don’t think you should hold up your own performance on this blog as a standard for what is and is not “preposterous” in journalism today.

    As you have reminded us recently, you disclaim the notion that you are a journalist.

    The people who work for the Associated Press and Fox News do claim to be journalists. Their misidentification of Foley as a Democrat was indeed “preposterous.”

  • Bob Collins

    It was in a headline I wrote for a story someone else wrote.

    But the boys at KvM had fun with it, until I changed the picture that went with the story and changed the one of the filename they were pulling onto their page to an advertisemernt for Campaign 2006.

    I briefly considered making it a “Vote for Dayton” just for laughs but that would violate basic principles of decency even for people who work in the news business.

  • AAA

    If it was hotlinking, it wasn’t me on KvM. FWIW

    As to the rest. Give me a break. I’ll say Fox News made a big stupid mistake. But in no way is this some groundbreaking reasons to burn down their studios because they are unjournalistic. If we could use a stupid mistake as a reason to discredit TV news networks, there would not be a single one on the air.

    Oh and the AP is about as hostile to the GOP as they come, so I doubt they intentionally did it.

    I would strongly urge everyone take a deep breath, count to 10, and let the REAL facts of this one get discovered. Let’s deal with the people who were really involved in all this should get what they deserve.

    We don’t really know what happened as far as who all knew. So far it is he said she said.

  • The point is that how do mistakes like this get broadcast or printed? Aren’t there editors who are supposed to be factchecking these things? Bob, as a journalist, how do you make sense of factual mistakes in reporting?

    This is kind of like the ESPN broadcast team calling the Minnesota shortstop Josh Bartlet no less than 6 times during yesterday’s broadcast, and nobody whispering his real name into the announcer’s ear.

    From what I’ve heard, Fox News put up their Democrat ID repeatedly during the couple hour long show, and then the AP repeated the mistake.

    It’s not a conspiracy, but it is bad journalism. People turn more than ever to the reporters to factcheck political blather, and when they can’t, there’s a sign of a much larger problem with American media…

  • Bob Collins

    It’s not really a mistake in reporting. TV is a different beast. It’s controlled chaos and while you only see one or two bubbleheads, there’s a whole crew of support and that includes the graphics folks who may well have been some guy on a breaking news story who never heard of Mark Foley and they might’ve told him who it wsa and he typed it in wrong or heard or wrong or…just plain screwed up. That’s the problem with humans. Same thing witht he “X” on Cheney. Nobody in their right mind is going to do that at a TV station because, for one thing, you’re going to get caught.

    It’s like saying Bert Blyleven really did mean to drop the “F” bomb. He screwed up.

    It’s a mistake. It happens.

    No reporter was involved. For one thing the union wouldn’t let a reporter near the equipment. And there’s no editor for graphics.

    Keep in mind that the other reason why you don’t intentionally make a mistake like this in this day and age? You get caught.

    Stinkin’ human beings, man. They’re just always making mistakes.

  • Bill Prendergast

    Bob wrote:

    “It’s not really a mistake in reporting.”

    I must disagree with you there, Bob. It really is a mistake in reporting for the AP and Fox News to identify Foley as a Democrat.

    That is not evidence of a “conspiracy”, but it is indeed “a mistake in reporting,” Bob. A preposterous mistake, given the fact that professionals at both organizations are following this story from minute to minute. MN Campaign is right, in this instance.

    Given Foley’s level of popularity right now, it is a mistake akin to running a slide of Charles Manson that identifies him a “spokesman for family values.” That degree of sloppiness calls means that the organizations involved need to do a firing or two, to make the remaining staff give their jobs their full attention.

  • Bob Collins

    Of course it’s a mistake, but not a mistke in reporting…as in by a “reporter.” Reporters have nothing to do with graphics.

    If there was, indeed, a conspiracy to paint the offender as a Democrat, presumably to get Democrats who are watching so disgusted, they’d vote Republican (#1, do Democrats even WATCH Fox news and #2, whaaaat?), why bother changing it back to “R” later on? Did someone decide the conspiracy would be “dsicovered?” You mean they didn’t think anyone would notice the first time?

    I would encourage folks to try to get a tour of a TV news operation sometime to see how it all works because without that observation, it’ll be very hard to make a knowledgeable conclusion about whether it was “intentional” or not.

    And, sure, it’s easy to demand perfection of people; and a lofty goal, but when a person screws up in typing something in in a graphic machine during a breaking story, it’s there for everyone to see. Last week I identified Nancy Pelosi as a Republican. “R”, “D”… iceberg, Goldberg.

    Same thing.

    Nobody, despite assertion to the contrary, knows who’s “right,” one can only make an educated guess. To claim confirmation where none exists is to make a , well, mistake.

    Not unlike Bradblog saying the screenshot was taken on June 10th instead of October 3rd.

    Or Torii Hunter, a gold glover, making a stupid decision.

  • Bill Prendergast

    Bob Collins wrote:

    “reporters have nothing to do with graphics?”

    But–the AP and Fox news have something to do with news graphics–right? If they report the news, and they run a ridiculously misleading graphic or make an outrageous misidentification–that’s a mistake in their “reporting.” Now do you understand why what you said: “”It’s not really a mistake in reporting.”–is wrong? It’ s a mistake in news *reporting* by Fox News and the AP.

    If you’re not immediately deleting my posts anymore, you can go over these posts again and again until you understand that Fox News and the AP made a *reporting* mistake when they incorrectly identified Foley as a Democrat.

    And I don’t know why you keep talking about conspiracy allegations, Bob. I wasn’t making any conspiracy allegations–who are you talking to about the conspiracy allegations?

    Is anyone in this thread alleging a conspiracy to misidentify Foley as a Democrat? Bob is all worked up about it; who is alleging conspiracy in this thread?