01/23/2007 02:07 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Fox & Friends "Apologizes" For Madrassah Slur

Fox & Friends "Apologizes" For Madrassah Slur

As News Hounds reports, the hosts at Fox & Friends issued a non-apology, apology for repeating the false claim that Barack Obama attended a madrassah or Muslim religious school as a child. As I pointed out in "The Swiftboating Begins - The Right Smears Obama", Fox relied on an article in INSIGHT magazine citing unnamed sources that Obama went to a madrassah:

But Monday morning, "Fox and Friends" distanced themselves from the story. Co-host Brian Kilmeade noted that the Obama campaign "wanted to correct the record" and insisted that Obama had never attended a radical Islam school. Kilmeade added that the Clinton campaign also called and insisted they had no one researching Obama's background.

"There was a firestorm created over that so we just want to say that's the story. The Obama camp was upset so we hope they're not now," he said.

Then co-host Gretchen Carlson pleaded with Obama to come on the show because Fox News will be the "home" for all the information on candidates in the 2008 election. "So come back, Senator Obama," she said.

Then co-host Steve Doocy added that, "We're just being fair. His camp said the 'Insight Magazine' article [was] wrong. We're just putting that out there."

I use the term "apologizes" loosely because it isn't clear Fox actually apologized for the error or for trying to blame Hillary Clinton's campaign for the smear.

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz discusses the "first media controversy of the 2008 campaign":

Thus, in the first media controversy of the 2008 campaign, two of the leading candidates find themselves forced to respond to allegations lacking a single named source.
"The allegations are completely false," says Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. "To publish this sort of trash without any documentation is surprising, but for Fox to repeat something so false, not once, but many times is appallingly irresponsible. This is exactly the type of slash-and-burn politics the American people are sick and tired of." Obama, aides note, is a Christian and belongs to a Chicago church.
Clinton campaign officials were relieved that what they regard as an absurd allegation was not picked up more widely. "It's an obvious right-wing hit job by a Moonie publication that was designed to attack Senator Clinton and Senator Obama at the same time," says Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson. Insight, like the Washington Times, is owned by a company controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. No one answered the phone at Insight's office yesterday and its editor did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

I wonder if Fox's John Gibson and others will also "apologize" for spreading misinformation about Obama and Clinton.