Thursday, August 25, 2005

Fox News: Because One Foot in Your Mouth Isn't Good Enough

You know, I really despise Fox News. Now, I have an even better reason to maintain that sentiment.

Couple mistaken for radical faces backlash

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LA HABRA, Calif. -- A couple whose home was wrongly identified on national television as belonging to an Islamic radical has faced harassment, and police are providing special protection.

After the report ran on Fox News on Aug. 7, people have shouted profanities at Randy and Ronnell Vorick and spray-painted "terrorist" (spelling it "terrist") on their property.

"I'm scared to go to work and leave my kids home. I call them every 30 minutes to make sure they're OK," Randy Vorick said.

John Loftus, a former federal prosecutor who appears on the Fox News segment "Inside Scoop with John Loftus," gave out the house address during the broadcast.

He said the home belonged to Iyad Hilal, whose group, Loftus said, has ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London. But Hilal moved out of the house about three years ago.

Police have patrolled their house since the day after the broadcast and now have a squad car across the street. Police Capt. John Rees said the department was "giving special attention to the family to make sure they're safe."

The couple sought a public apology and correction.

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

Loftus also apologized and told the Los Angeles Times last week that "mistakes happen. ... That was the best information we had at the time."

The FBI has launched an inquiry into the activities of Hilal, a grocery store owner who is allegedly the U.S. leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, which has been banned in parts of Europe and the Middle East.

Hilal, 56, is apparently not suspected of any terrorist acts, but FBI terrorism investigators want to know more about his and the group's activities.

Who the hell thinks it's right to publicize the address of an individual anyway, unless that person has been convicted of a crime? Fox is always bitching about how that cursed liberal media denegrates journalistic integrity...so, this would be a revival of good old news morals? Has anyone ever heard of checking their damned facts?? I'm sorry, but even as a freelance writer for a local paper, I wasn't allowed to print ANYTHING unless I could provide a legitimate source - and they would have fired my ass if I had written something erroneous about potato chips, let alone something that endangered a family. Why isn't Fox News terminating their relationship with this guy??

My guess is that they secretly believe he did the right thing, and that his only mistake was naming the wrong house. Outing a suspect, however, is completely kosher. Give me a break. How many groveling pleas did Newsweek have to make after their Koran desecration story was questioned? If this family is hurt or killed by a thug who can't spell, will Fox finally admit that going off "the best information...at the time" is a terrible excuse for dangerously sloppy reporting? Someone needs to start a campaign to tell Fox it should drop Loftus - we don't need irresponsible people like this in journalism, no matter who they are.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

I don't know - if you can invade a sovereign nation based on sketchy, provisional information, why can't you attempt a modern day lynching based on the same criteria? And besides, there is ample precedent (e.g., Rwanda) for using government propaganda outlets to promote vigilante justice against undesirables. What's the big deal? (cough, cough)