Fox Makes Up Facts to Support Political Position

by Matthew L. Schafer

Update (7/20/10; 9:48 EST):  Fox News posts an article that includes all of the facts and skips the innuendo.  Still has not responded, nor has it posted corrections to the original article that innacuratly represented the situation.

Yesterday, Fox News ran a story without a byline about the disappearance of over 70,000 blogs from the host site Bloggetery.  The story has been “liked” on Facebook 235 times.  In the story, the anonymous reporter writes:

Others wondered whether this was a step by the government to assert control over the Web. Just weeks ago, a plan giving the President emergency power to turn off the Internet was approved by the Senate.

It is unclear who exactly the “others” Fox News references are, and it appears that the writer used this reference in order to insert false suggestions that the government is making a power grab at controlling the Internet.

For evidence in support of the government takeover of the Internet argument, Fox News references a plan that allegedly gives the President the power to shut down the Internet.  Fox News is referring to a bill introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman [I-CT] last month called the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010.”

Last month, this site concluded after an analysis of the bill’s text that “while Lieberman’s bill has shined the light on the issue if the government should have the ability to control the infrastructure [in the event of a cyberattack], it is not a government conspiracy to take control of the Internet that some appear to think it is.”

Setting whether or not the Lieberman bill gives the President the power “to kill” the Internet aside, Fox News bolsters its claim of the government takeover of the Internet by saying that the bill has been approved by the Senate.  The bill, however, has not been approved by the Senate, and is currently in committee.

Fox News also omitted vital pieces of information relating to the story.  One vital piece of information missing is the fact that certain information related to “hit lists” and instructions to build a bomb was requested by the FBI, but the disclosure of the information was entirely voluntary under 18 USC 2702.  The FBI request did not cite the bill under consideration in the Senate.

Fox also failed to quote CTO Joe Marr of the website in question, who told CNET that the sites in question obviously violated the terms of use of the site by posting hit lists and bomb building instruction.

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About Matthew L. Schafer

Matthew L. Schafer graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Media Studies. He later attended Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication where he earned a Masters of Mass Communication and Georgetown University Law Center where he earned his J.D.
This entry was posted in Political Communication. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Fox Makes Up Facts to Support Political Position

  1. steve says:

    OK I am getting suspicious of the Fox News comment boards….I post as a liberal regularly and often I cannot either login from current IP or my comments don’t appear or the page appears to not be updated. When I login from a different IP across the country (as an IT pro I have access to multiple computers with different addresses nationwide) I can post comments until that IP appears to be flagged…..someone needs to do an expose on how Fox censors comments from liberals on a IP/computer basis….anyone out there know what I mean?

    • Michael says:

      Know what you mean? I have no idea why these guys were not exposed long ago on this. My comments do not align with the conservative Right. However, I am objective and polite. However, I will post the same comment once every 15 minutes for hours…and never see it. I am positive, that they have an army of people reading each one. Furthermore, do you ever see what happens when one makes it through? Watch, in many cases it will “magically disappear a few minutes later.” Someone should pull down Fox’s pants. Good times.

    • Ray says:

      Yeah, I agree. I just started posting there about 4-5 days ago, and my first post or two usually goes alright (my posts tend to be big and shy away from namecalling and one-word refutals), but it just gets progressively harder and harder to post. I either:
      1) get a message saying “Who are you?” asking me to log in when I’m already logged in, and when I try, the password is denied
      2) get a window that says “message awaiting moderation,” and despite the fact that it has no profanity and nothing inflammatory towards other people, it never gets posted
      3) seem to have successfully posted, but after I went back to check on it, the post mysteriously disappeared

      I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I don’t want to take the egotistical approach and assume that whatever I write is eloquent and clever enough to warrant personal attention to get blocked/deleted (and I doubt, what with the flood of comments on their site, they have the time to read all the comments.)

      But it’s awful strange that once I start getting into a good discussion, I’m suddenly blacklisted from that thread…

  2. Pingback: Ethics Hero: Sheppard Smith « Ethics Alarms

  3. Don Ror says:

    I am a Goldwater/Reagan conservative and Fox News censors my comments. Most of the time Fox just deletes my comments in their entirety or just refuses to allow me to print anything.
    Beginning to believe Fox News has a “control freak” at the controls!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Roy Pannell says:

    They have stopped the comment section on all article accessed on this computer because I’ve caught them up in there game.. they work both sides and the middle with there reporting and fantasy is just as good as facts…..they talk of others misreporting the news… Hell its all about sensationalism nothing else…I refuse to use them for any kind of news “real news” is my choice..

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