October 4, 2013

“The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart last night ripped several aspects of Fox News’s coverage of the government shutdown — Sean Hannity’s quip about the “liberal shutdown,” for instance, and Monica Crowley’s ranting about how the Democrats are seeking to inflict “maximum pain on the American people.” Then he moved to Fox News’s handling of the Tuesday episode in which World War II veterans arrived at the war’s memorial in Washington and “surged past barricades and signs that declared the memorial closed because of the government shutdown.” Stewart ran a clip of “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy remarking, “As it turns out, it looks as if more personnel were sent in to the World War II memorial to keep people out than the State Department sent to Benghazi.”

Much of the media debate regarding the federal shutdown pertains to the question of “false equivalence” — the tendency of “objective” journalists to attribute blame equally to both parties involved in this screw-up. Doocy introduces a new wrinkle to the debate, that of Benghazi-WWII Memorial clash equivalence. Credit the good people at Fox News, because that one requires a lot of imagination and a commitment to insinuate the events of Sept. 11, 2012, into news coverage no matter the circumstances. In bashing the parallel, Stewart said it provides evidence that Fox News doesn’t care about Benghazi, just “Ben-got-ya.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.