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Posted by on Nov 11, 2009 in Media | 45 comments

Fox News: Fluffer for Michele Bachmann

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart confessed to being embarrassed some time ago when two young amateur journalists scooped them on the activities of ACORN in several cities. He’s made up for it a good bit this week when he caught Fox News Channel spicing up their coverage of Michele Bachmann’s health care rally / tea party protest in Washington, D.C. this week. Without any mention of doing it, their editors spliced in obvious footage of a much larger rally from a couple of weeks ago to make it look as if attendance was much larger than it actually was. Check it out, not only for the humor but the red handed catch of the Fair and Balanced Network in action:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Sean Hannity Uses Glenn Beck’s Protest Footage
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The really strange part about this is why Fox would bother with this type of deception. The event was quite well attended, with even the Washington Post saying there were at least ten thousand people there. Why use old footage to fluff up the numbers by another order of magnitude?

Some of my conservative contacts like to refer to Fox as a “much needed counterbalance” to the more liberal media outlets. But there is a difference between putting a spin or slant on a story and simply hacking in fraudulent footage without notifying the viewer. Obviously, when covering a story like this you don’t use all of the footage you shoot, and mistakes can happen when you chop it up for broadcast, but totally separate footage from previous shows doesn’t simply drop unbidden into your editor and splice itself into the final package. This was on a totally different level than simple, partisan spin.

All the defenders of the “needed counterbalance” should be feeling a bit silly today, but I’m not holding my breath to see if they will take Fox to task for it.

UPDATE: As usual, my predictive powers are kaput and Ed at Hot Air gave full coverage to this story with no apologies offered for Fox’s performance on this one.