How to Lie About Fox News, in One Easy Lesson
If you saw our #ThrowbackThursday post yesterday, you know The Cable Game has a tradition of calling out websites like NewsHounds. They’re old hands at waging war on Fox News, and still at it. When The Cable Gamer last looked at NewsHounds this was the top post:
Fox Pretends Trump’s Muslim Plan Is Unquestionably Constitutional
It’s a pretty representative example of how easy it is for Ellen Brodsky, author of the piece and lead Hound, to lie about Fox News using one of the oldest tricks in the propaganda book:
[Byron] York is the chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner and has no apparent legal training…. It’s worth pointing out that MacCallum has no legal background either. But real legal experts think there’s an important difference between barring immigrants on the basis of nationality and barring them on the basis of religion and that it’s quite possible that Trump’s plan is unconstitutional as a result.
Ms. Brodsky says this is “blatant Fox News propaganda” to declare Trump’s proposal “unquestionably constitutional.” But is there something Ellen Brodsky is not telling us? Of course there is. Some call this cherry-picking, but it’s really just a form of lying: the lie of omission.
In order to come up with a segment favoring Trump’s ban, with a guest who’s not a lawyer and thought it could be constitutional, the NewsHounds had to skip over all the other segments Fox News aired. With real attorneys. How about some of the attorneys who are designated legal analysts for Fox News? Here’s what Lis Wiehl said:
It would be unconstitutional because of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion and the Fifth Amendment right to due process. You can make the argument that the Constitution does not apply to people who want to come here, but there are many treaties that say you can not discriminate based on religion.
NewsHounds didn’t tell you about that. Lie of omission. The same is true of another attorney, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who agreed with Wiehl:
We are signatories to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are international laws and treaties that we are bound by. You can not ban people based on their religious beliefs!
If there’s anyone who represents the Fox News “position” on such legal matters it would be their Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano:
I think it’s profoundly unconstitutional because one of the areas the government cannot make decisions on is religion…. The President cannot use religion as a basis, nor could Congress use religion as a basis, to admit or to refuse.
How easy it is to lie about Fox News. Ellen Brodsky cites one person’s opinion as the position of “Fox News”…after skipping over all the people who said the opposite. Then she complains that the opinion guy “has no apparent legal training”…after carefully skipping over all the people who do have legal training. Ms. Brodsky waited as Lis Wiehl, Kim Guilfoyle, Judge Napolitano and others criticized Trump’s Muslim plan, and only when Byron York defended it did she rush to post her proof that this was Fox News “propaganda.”
You call it cherry-picking. The Cable Gamer calls it by its proper term: a lie of omission. P.S.: There’s this too:
In fact, MacCallum thought it quite possible that the argument she and York had just put forth would help Trump become even more popular.
Ellen Brodsky attacks Martha MacCallum for being correct. Every day is Opposite Day at NewsHounds.
Our next post in this series will look at lying, name-calling and personal smears on the NewsHounds website and twitter.
TCG has touched upon what is perhaps the most (or one of the most) common violations of good journalism existing today — especially by commentators and host on all three cable news outlets.
Namely, the logical flaw of generalizing based on isolated examples.
• As TCG pointed out, attributing the comments of Byron York to all of Fox News.
• The entire Tea Party was tarred with same broad brush as being racist because of the actions of a few.
• The entire Black Lives Matter movement was criticized for supporting (or agreeing with) marchers in St. Paul, MN chanting “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.”
• Even politicians (Donald Trump) get into the act by tarring an entire news outlet (e.g., NY Times, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal) because a few people from these news organizations said something he didn’t like.
From what little I remember from my college logic class decades ago this is sometimes called “Generalization from the particular.”
Oh well. At least we have websites like TCG to call them on it.
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An obscure pro-Fox blog attacks an obscure anti-Fox blog. Fascinating stuff.
We do it just for you, notfoxy. Calling out Salon’s dishonesty didn’t interest you, but you’re quick to engage when it’s a liar you deem to be “obscure.” So cheer up. There are more opportunities for you to condescend coming soon.
I find your fascination with Newshounds and “Fox haters” bizarre and amusing. Knock yourself out.