Fox News’ abuse of reporters is legendary. But their treatment of Matthew Flamm, a media reporter for Crain’s New York, should be flagged for eternity for its absurdity. As first reported by NPR’s David Folkenflik (and noted in The Washington Post), the channel’s PR team planted a fake tip, using a fake email address—but using a real Fox News producer’s name—about Bill O’Reilly anchoring election coverage of the 2008 primaries, for the sole purpose of humiliating Flamm.

Flamm explains:

Within minutes of the item’s posting, Ms. Briganti emerged from her silence with comments to TVNewser about how ridiculous it was to even consider that Mr. O’Reilly would anchor a newscast. She then added that nothing I had written could ever be trusted. (My previous story on Fox, in 2006, had been about a ratings decline.)

I sent an email to the “producer” but it bounced back; her Hotmail account was dead. Yes, I finally picked up the phone and called her. Only to learn that she knew nothing about the emails “she” had been sending.

You could call Flamm naive for being so generous. (He didn’t call the producer before publishing the item because he feared for her job.) Or you could call Fox News insane! We’re going to the latter conclusion.

[Image credit: Fox News]