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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 02:47 PM ET, 08/24/2011

Fox sidesteps blame in monumental tilt

Megyn Kelly of Fox News just addressed the question of her network’s faulty report on the tilting of the Washington Monument. Actually, rephrase that: Megyn Kelly of Fox News just said some stuff about the tilting of the Washington Monument and took no blame whatsoever for the erroneous reporting.

Here’s what she said (sorry, no linkable vid just yet):

We are told that engineers are today surveying the landmark trying to figure out how to make it safe again for tourists to enter. They spotted cracked stones near the top immediately after the quake. No word yet on how badly it is damaged but the Park Service is now saying that the statements from Washington, D.C., police yesterday that the monument may be leaning turned out not to be the case when they got close enough to inspect. (Emphasis added to facilitate much-needed debunking.)

Debunking:

1) “Park Service is now saying”:This is classic accountability-sidestepping behavior. By seeding this statement with the adverb “now,” Fox suggests to its viewers that this is a recent development. It is not: The Park Service very quickly shot down this reporting.

2)“statements from Washington, D.C., police”: A veritable lie right here. The term “statements” implies that the city’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) issued press releases stating that the Washington Monument was tilting. What actually happened was that some Fox News producer apparently had a chat with a random D.C. cop who flew off at the mouth about the Washington Monument. So there were no statements whatsoever. Fox was the one who issued statements.

3) “when they got close enough to inspect.” Breathtaking. To hear Kelly tell it, the Park Service rejected the “statements” after conducting a review of the structure. In an interview earlier today, Park Service spokesperson Bill Line said that no review was necessary to reach such a determination. “We knew that it was not true,” he said.

By  |  02:47 PM ET, 08/24/2011

 
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