In Which Fox Edits Lies into the News

Here's how an accurate-but-slanted story becomes an outright lie: the conservative (and rapidly collapsing) Moonie-owned Washington Times notes that Republicans didn't show up to Obama's dinner. Then, Fox takes over.

The subtext of the Times story is that Obama is classless, and that he snubbed the GOP in his first state dinner. Even though he did actually invite Minority Leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, both of whom snubbed Obama by declining to attend. (He also invited Republican governor Bobby Jindal, who did attend. And Dick Lugar was there, for some reason. And Eric Cantor, who wasn't invited to the dinner, was invited to the pre-dinner reception.)

So it doesn't look like much of a snub to us, at all. But whatever—it is fair game for a basically openly conservative paper to publish a news story with a partisan premise, so long as it's factually accurate, which this one is.

Then, of course, Fox picks up on this breaking news. Suddenly, the headline switches from "Top Republican lawmakers not attending State Dinner" to "Top Republican Lawmakers Not Invited to Obama's First State Dinner."

"Top Republican lawmakers," taken literally, means Boehner and McConnell, who were invited, and chose not to attend.

But Fox doesn't even acknowledge that.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner won't be there; he's on Thanksgiving break and home in Ohio. His deputy, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, also didn't get an invitation to the dinner.

Cantor also didn't get an invitation? That's a weird word choice, considering that the guy named in the previous sentence did get an invite. But that fact is, weirdly, edited out.

This is why Fox is way more successful than the Moonie Times: a grown-up could read that Times story and, based on the facts presented in that story, end up disagreeing with its premise. In order to preclude that possibility, Fox just makes up the facts to suit the premise.

(Thanks to readers Ronald and James Allen for alerting us to this very instructional case-study in modern journalism.)