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Saturday, September 17, 2005
Letting Fox Off Easy
Topic: Accuracy in Media
In the middle of attacking Bill O'Reilly for, among other things, refusing to promote Ed Klein's dubious anti-Hillary book, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid used a Sept. 16 column to tweak Fox News for airing erroneous comments. But the incident is a lot worse than Kincaid described.

Kincaid wrote:

In another embarrassment, the Fox News Channel has apologized for airing an interview with John Loftus, a commentator for Fox News, who described a grocery store owner in California named Iyad K. Hilal as a terrorist and gave his home address on the air. The Los Angeles Times reported that his family, including a wife and three children, were "plunged into an unsettling routine of drivers shouting profanities, stopping to photograph their house and—most recently—spray-painting a slogan on their property."

A Fox spokesman said, "John Loftus has been reprimanded for his careless error, and we sincerely apologize to the family."

Loftus said, "I'm terribly sorry about that. I had no idea. That was the best information we had at the time."

Kincaid gets his facts wrong here. Hilal's family is not the one being harrassed; rather, the address Loftus gave out on Fox News as Hilal's address is the home of a different family, and they are the ones who are being harrassed. That's in addition to the fact that, as the Los Angeles Times notes, there is no "law enforcement agency or official that has identified Hilal as a terrorist."

Kincaid seems to think a mere apology and an unspecified "reprimand" is sufficient in this case. But Kincaid was a lot harsher on CBS for doing something similar.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 AM EDT

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