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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 05:18 PM ET, 07/01/2011

Who wrote Foxnews.com story on Media Matters?

It’s 3:28 p.m. on Foxnews.com. There are four stories on the site’s so-called “top table.”

No. 1 is titled “Qaddfi Warns of Carrying Out Attacks in Europe.” Byline: Associated Press

No. 2 is titled “Cindy Anthony’s Former Employer Casts Doubt on Her Claims About ‘Chloroform’ Searches” (Casey Anthony trial) Tagline: The Associated Press contributed to this report

No. 3 is titled “Halt to Deportation of Citizen’s Same-Sex Partner Draws FireByline: Joshua Rhett Miller

No. 4 is titled “Amid Media Matters Backlash, IRS Has Precedent for Stripping Tax-Exempt StatusByline: None. Tagline: None.

Of all the stories on that list, the last one, under long-accepted journalistic conventions, thirsts most for a byline. That’s because it clearly drives a point of view. Though ostensibly an analysis of the state of the law regarding the revocation of nonprofit tax status, it cheerleads for such a course of action vis-a-vis Media Matters for America. There is no quote from Media Matters or evidence in the story that the organization was contacted for comment. Media Matters spokesperson Jess Levin says, “We’re actually not commenting on any aspect of that story right now.”

True that not every single story on the site has a byline or tag­line. For example, a piece with the headline “Teeny-Tiny Three-Seater is ‘World’s Most Efficient Electric Car’”bears the same riddled provenance as the Media Matters story.

Yet the standard on Foxnews.com appears to favor bylines. Otherwise, how do you explain the name sitting on top of the story “Sexiest 40-Year-Old Model” (Meg Baker) or the crafter of the piece “13 Reasons to Clean Your Closet Today” (Linda Merrill). does as well.

As a reader of Foxnews.com, I want to know who wrote my news-cum-editorial story. Was it a veteran reporter?

It was James Rosen, actually — a Washington reporter for Foxnews.com. In the video story on the matter, he claims to have asked the group for comment but did not get one.

By  |  05:18 PM ET, 07/01/2011

 
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