Saturday, September 05, 2020

The evolution of a Fox story


So, on the off chance you were wondering how the Atlantic's story about the president's attitudes toward the military looked in the Trump-worshiping press, here's a quick waltz through Friday's coverage at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network.

The lead story starting around noon (above), of course, was a knockdown: of course he didn't skip a ceremony honoring the war dead because he was afraid he'd get his hair wet. Even this version includes an unusual caution:

The sources only rejected the claim about Aisne-Marne, and not other accounts where Trump is alleged to have insulted soldiers. 

Because Fox is more or less fully into campaign mode (hey, it's September), the morning had been dominated by Biden stories: one that had been the previous evening's lead (at upper right, the No. 3 position in Fox's standard five-story layout) and a newly fabricated one in the No. 4 spot:

You'll note, of course, that there's nothing in the first text to support the "draws gasps" in the hed; unlike the "Fox sources" at top, we can't say it didn't happen, but you'd like to think Fox wouldn't miss a chance to quote a few gasps from Real People. "Riding the Dragon" is cribbed from another Murdoch outlet, which "exclusively previewed" a documentary posted to The Blaze and narrated by the fellow who brought you "Clinton Cash." (Fox has to be kicking itself for burning that one on a day on which it was destined to get lost.)

By midafternoon (around 3:30), "Never heard it" has fallen downpage and there's another new Biden story, also arising from his visit to Wisconsin. This one required the talents of three Fox reporters, though none of them seem to have been interested in anything else from the meeting in question:

Around 5 p.m., a Fox reporter tweeted that "two former sr Trump admin officials" had confirmed the Atlantic's report on several key points.  Fox updated its story to add the reporter to the byline (though not, ahem, to correct the spelling of "Bellau Wood") and to include a new second paragraph, among other details:

Still, the details from that trip and other events described in the explosive piece remain a subject of dispute.

Here's the top of the homepage from 6:22 p.m.; "Conflicting reports" is now the No. 2 story, with some random press-bashing in the lead position (the Fox "politics editor" mentioned in the inside deck hed has apparently never watched a Trump press conference, but no matter):

Cooler heads soon prevailed, and the headline was improved by about 7 p.m., as the story moved back to the lead position:

And by 9:40, the story had simply fallen off the map -- still findable, but nowhere among the top 5 stories or the parade of also-rans beneath. (Interestingly, the Fox sources supporting the Atlantic story return in the 12th story on that longer list, with the heretical reporter among four contributors, so apparently there hasn't yet been a wholesale purge.)

Hard to imagine how it must have sounded when this moment of professional integrity burst into an otherwise peaceful Friday at Fox, which seems increasingly desperate to regain the affections of a president who scorns its every effort. You might draw conclusions from the most recent Fox News Poll, which has yet to receive the prominence on the homepage that a much perkier finding by Rasmussen had around 9:40 p.m. Friday (with "PR wing for Biden" again the lead story):

Fox is consistently accurate, competent and un-flashy in reporting on its own polling, which may have been the problem:

Democrat Joe Biden is ahead in three key states that President Donald Trump won in 2016, according to new Fox News statewide surveys of Arizona, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. 

Can't wait to see what Fox comes up with tomorrow to please its masters!


Post a Comment

<< Home