THE BLOG
10/20/2014 04:20 pm ET Updated Dec 20, 2014

Fox News: Where Facts Get in the Way

Peter Doocy, a reporter for Fox News, televised a segment that weapons of mass destruction, the weapons that President Bush used to justify a war, were recently discovered. Real live WMD!!! All kinds, all shapes, all lethal! Bush was right, liberals were wrong. Hooray!

Except it wasn't true. The weapons were decayed, useless, deployed during wars in effect years before W was elected. Do you remember Peter Doocy going on the air to say he got it wrong? Me either.

Then the Ebola crisis. Fox News pushed the panic button hard on this one. They focused most of their attention on the Center for Disease Control, because this made it easier to blame President Obama for Ebola, and to condemn his appointment of a new CDC director. Did Fox News let you know that sneezing doesn't spread Ebola, that it can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids? No, no they didn't.

Every broadcast news organization gets it wrong occasionally. Unlike Fox, they usually report the mistake and acknowledge their error. When Fox gets it wrong, they move on to a new accusation, leaving a trail of goof-ups behind them.

Since Fox News president Roger Ailes has publicly stated that FNC is in the ratings business, that most of their on-air ads boast about their viewer numbers and not their journalistic successes (of course not, remembering that Bill O' Reilly couldn't even recall what award [Polk] he won, and it wasn't at Fox, and it was awarded after he left "Inside Edition.")

It's not that Fox News is conservative that is so shameful. It's that they fulfill the characterization that Aaron Sorkin ascribed to the right: find something to scare you, and find someone to blame it on. Eventually, the yelling won't work because their viewership is so old they can't hear the cries of "wolf." Pointing a finger, fudging the facts, and moving on to more finger pointing isn't news gathering, it's gossip. As long as the viewers applaud the rumors, ratings will be sustained, but the truth is a casualty.