One day after the Associated Press posted an online article claiming Howard Kurtz -- host of the Sunday MediaBuzz program on the Fox News Channel -- panicked when the wrong graphic came up on the screen, the news service issued a correction acknowledging the mistake.
The Monday morning post came after Kurtz slammed the AP report on Facebook and demanded an immediate correction to the item, which had the headline: “Fox News Inadvertently Posted a Graphic Showing It Lagged Other Cable News Networks in Trustworthiness.”
Under the heading “A Journalistic Distortion,” the Fox News host stated:
The Associated Press should be embarrassed by a story that utterly distorts what happened yesterday on my program Media Buzz.
And its dishonest piece was made worse by the fact that the wire service didn’t bother to contact me or Fox News for comment.
He continued: “I designed a segment in part around a Monmouth University poll that asked people about so-called ‘fake news’ as well as who they trusted more, President Trump or each of the three major cable news networks.”
“I found the latter comparison so striking that I told my staff to make that poll question into a graphic to be shown on the air,” Kurtz added.
The MediaBuzz host then noted: “During the segment, the control room mistakenly posted the graphic early, while I was dealing with the fake news questions.”
“So I calmly asked that it be taken down. About a minute later, I asked for the graphic to be put back on the screen and discussed the finding with my guest, pollster Frank Luntz.”
“The AP reported my request to take down the graphic and ended the story there, creating a false impression by not mentioning that I called for the very same graphic shortly afterward,” he noted.
“This echoed partisan chatter online that I had somehow panicked or didn’t want to show the poll graphic, which is flatly contradicted by reality.”
According to an article written by Aiden McLaughlin of the Mediaite website, the AP story was apparently based on “a misleading post” from the liberal Raw Story blog, which went viral on Sunday and claimed that Kurtz “frantically implored his producer to take down a graphic that showed Fox is the least trusted of the big three cable networks.”
In that blog entry, Tom Boggioni asserted that “things took a hilarious turn” when Kurtz said: “’That is not the graphic we are looking for. Hold off,’ before pleading: ‘Take that down, please.’”
“Kurtz later came back to the graphic, to put it in context,” Boggioni continued, “but the numbers showed Fox News still came up short in credibility behind CNN and MSNBC.”
“For the record,” Kurtz also posted, “the Monmouth poll found that 30 percent of those surveyed said they trusted Fox more and 20 percent said they trusted Trump more. Another 37 percent said they trusted both equally.”
He continued: “The poll found that respondents trusted CNN more than Trump by 48 to 35 percent, but only 13 percent trusted both equally. The survey said those questioned trusted MSNBC more than Trump by a 45-32 margin, but only 16 percent trust both equally.”
“I felt viewers deserved all the facts,” the host stated. “That’s more than I can say for the AP, which owes me a correction.”
The people at the Associated Press obviously agreed, and -- as also reported on Monday by McLaughlin -- changed the headline to “Fox News Host: Graphic Posted at Wrong Point of Show” and added the following note at the bottom of the article:
This story has been corrected to show that the graphic was taken down because it was used during the wrong segment, and was used again on the show.
Later on Monday, Kurtz posted: “The AP has now run a correction, which I appreciate. Though it's odd that the correction indicated I SAID the poll graphic ran moments later, as if it's a claim. It's a verifiable fact. There's video!”
On April 2, NewsBusters also discussed the Monmouth University poll, which found that 77 percent of those surveyed believe “traditional” media (TV, newspapers) report “Fake News.”
In addition, “31 percent said it happens regularly, and 46 percent said it happens occasionally. (That was up from 63 percent who said ‘Yes’ a year ago.) Only 21 percent said they did not offer fake news, down from 32 percent a year ago.”
But the big question remains: Why did the AP run with information only available from a liberal blog, and why did they do so without getting a comment from Kurtz or Fox News? Is that news service even trying to be “fair and balanced?”