Sunday, October 16, 2016

Who's gonna read the second paragraph?

Every now and then, the Fair 'n' Balanced Network just flat-out makes one up:

Top Hillary Clinton aides were upset a Muslim man was publicly named as the shooter in a 2015 massacre that left 14 people dead, and a longtime Clinton confidant even expressed regret that the terrorist wasn’t a white man, according to purported emails released by WikiLeaks on Sunday.

... The email chain began on Dec. 2, when digital operative Matt Ortega forwarded a tweet from MSNBC host Christopher Hayes that named one of the shooters in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack as Sayeed Farook. Consultant Karen Finney forwarded the email to Podesta, commenting, “Damn.”

It's a little bit of a stretch to assume "upset" from that sequence, but the pivot foot is still down.

Podesta responded: “Better if a guy named Sayeed Farouk [sic] was reporting that a guy named Christopher Hayes was the shooter.”

It's hard to [sic] a hypothetical, but that's not the point. All he mentions here is a name: not whether a white Christopher Hayes was preferable to a black Christopher Hayes, or former Harvard student Christopher Hayes, or crazed Vietnam veteran Christopher Hayes, or the lot of them. It isn't there. Fox is -- what's that L-word? Right. Lying. Not exaggerating, or ignoring the context, or inferring a worldwide conspiracy from a stray Arabic number in an elementary school classroom. Just lying.

Why lie? A couple of possible explanations. The emails have to be the lede, even if they aren't very interesting.* The story fits into the broad category of stories that ought to be true, even if they aren't. (Especially if most of the newsroom really does think white guys are an endangered species.) And -- OK, let's go to the newsreel on this one:

Hildy: Well, honey, I did that. Right there in the second paragraph.
Walter: Who's gonna read the second paragraph? 

On the off chance some loyal Fox reader gets all the way to the actual quote -- who's going to mind, anyway?

* As of this writing, the Iraqi offensive against Mosul is top of the page, and a different story is now the top pick for you emails fans:

Hillary Clinton’s aides and supporters expressed concern about public perception of the Clinton family’s charitable enterprise, with one left-leaning pundit writing that Clinton seemed unaware of the “danger” of her “money problem,” according to purported emails disclosed by Wikileaks on Sunday.

You can see why those things don't have much of a shelf life.

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