Among the many impressive facets of Tom Goldstein’s reconstruction of the Supreme Court miscues by CNN and Fox News is this passage, which outlines how each outlet grew more confident in its mistaken conclusion:
CNN and Fox are both confident in their reporting. Television executives in CNN control rooms glance up at monitors carrying their competitors to see Fox’s banner, which confirms that the mandate has been struck down. The same thing happens in reverse at Fox News in Washington. In the critical early moments, the two networks’ errors reinforce each other.
Breathtaking detail, written in omniscient narrative style on SCOTUSblog, where Goldstein is publisher. He writes that he corralled three sources each at CNN, Fox News and the White House in the reporting of his piece.
Quite an accomplishment, considering that those entities don’t award plaques to employees who most efficiently part with information on internal operations. His status as a lawyer, Goldstein suggested in an e-mail interview, may have helped him gain assistance from cable-news sources: “I’m not a journalist, and I think all three organizations just trusted me to be fair. My guess (and it is just a guess) is that the networks in particular thought that it was important that I wasn’t a competitor, and that I wouldn’t have an agenda.”
OK, but did the PR departments of CNN and Fox, like, help out? Goldstein:
For Fox and CNN, one network had a communications person who basically shut me down; the other set up a very significant interview. Both became involved at the very end, I assume when word got around what I was up to.
Which was which: Did CNN or Fox do the shutting-down? Goldstein won’t budge on that question, saying that he doesn’t want to be “critical” of anyone involved in his reporting process.
Perhaps the networks will help. Hey, CNN and Fox, which of you guys ”basically” shut down the venerable and fair-minded Tom Goldstein?
CNN gives this response: “Yes, we spoke with Mr. Goldstein and provided him info as we did for other reporters.” Fox hasn’t replied to an inquiry.