Who's Lying, and Why?


NARAL's ad is controversial in its own right. But now someone is spreading misrepresentations about Fox News. Cui bono? Updated! Mystery solved.

It started when Matt Drudge posted an item about a NARAL ad opposing Judge Roberts:
CNN has reviewed and agreed to run a controversial ad produced by a pro-abortion group that falsely accuses Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of filing legal papers supporting a convicted clinic bomber! The news network has agreed to a $125,000 ad buy from NARAL, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, for a commercial which depicts a bombed out 1998 Birmingham, AL abortion clinic. The Birmingham clinic was bombed seven years after Roberts signed the legal briefing. The linking of Roberts to "violent fringe groups" is the sharpest attack against the nominee thus far. However, the non-partisan University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Factcheck.org reviewed the NARAL ad and found it to be “false.”

Drudge's article appears to be fully factual, and factcheck.org's analysis of the ad (worth reading in its entirety) is devastating:
The ad is false. And the ad misleads when it says Roberts supported a clinic bomber.... The images used in the ad are especially misleading. The pictures are of a clinic bombing that happened nearly seven years after Roberts signed the legal brief in question.

(Ironically, factcheck.org is run by Brooks Jackson, who for years was CNN's guy in charge of analyzing political ads and exposing errors. distortions, and lies.)

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano was just as direct in discussing the ad with Gloria Feldt on The O'Reilly Factor:

NAPOLITANO: If they're suggesting that this case--and it's the only one we know of in which he signed a brief involving abortion protesters--involved bombing or protesters, they are being blatantly dishonest. There was no bombing and there was no violence in this case.

The Judge elaborated further on Fox & Friends this morning:

NAPOLITANO: I read the transcript of the oral argument; I read the documents submitted. It was a peaceful demonstration outside of an abortion clinic in Virginia, and he simply argued that there was no federal law involved, and that the demonstrators--because they blocked entrance to the abortion clinic--should be prosecuted in state court, which is where they were prosecuted. And the Supreme Court agreed with him: 6-3.

So it seemed rather surprising when reports surfaced that Fox News was itself planning to air the ad. That's when the echo chamber started to reverberate with the notion that Mr Drudge was being disingenuous:
Drudge's article also only mentions CNN, claiming that they "reviewed and agreed" to run the ad, but he does not mention that Fox has done the same thing.

And from What's Happening at CNN:
Matt Drudge is having another one of his CNN hates "us" moments.... I wonder if we'll see Drudge report that FNC will be running the ad too? That's what RedState.org is reporting.

The only problem with these reports is that Fox News is not running the ad. Redstate.org posted a correction hours ago, though WHaC has not changed their article ("too good to correct"?). But how did this rank misinformation get started?

It's tempting to blame the blogosphere, but it seems more likely that a gullible Mainstream Media is at fault. The Washington Post's Dan Balz stated:
The NARAL ad, set to begin airing tomorrow on local channels in Maine and Rhode Island and nationally on the CNN and Fox News cable networks, features Emily Lyons...

The Associated Press was no better-informed than the Post:
The ad will run only on Fox and CNN--networks favored by opinion leaders and newsmakers in Washington, D.C.--and on broadcast television networks...

Where did the AP and the Post get the idea that Fox News would be running this ad? According to an insider at FNC, not only is Fox News not running this ad, they were never approached by NARAL to buy any time. Clearly Fox was not the source for this fiction.

So who else could have spun this yarn to a couple of MSM outfits that didn't bother to check their facts before they published? Who would benefit from making the ad buy sound grander and bigger than it really is, involving the #1 cable news network instead of just an also-ran competitor?

Could it be that NARAL lied not only in their ad, but also to the AP and the Post?

Update: After this article was published, the Washington Post issued a correction to its story:
Because of incorrect information from NARAL Pro-Choice America, an Aug. 9 article incorrectly said that a new television ad attacking Judge John G. Roberts Jr. would air on the Fox News Channel.

posted: Wed - August 10, 2005 at 02:40 PM       j$p  send 

Casper
poor fox...always asking why everyone is against us...please tell me where to send the box of kleenex.
August 10, 2005, 11:48:56 PM EDT – Like – Reply


kimsch
NARAL did lie to the the AP and the Post. Dan Balz has said that NARAL told him that CNN and FNC were going to show the ad. A correction was posted at the link above.
 
Correction to This Article
Because of incorrect information from NARAL Pro-Choice America, an Aug. 9 article incorrectly said that a new television ad attacking Judge John G. Roberts Jr. would air on the Fox News Channel.
August 11, 2005, 8:33:12 AM EDT – Like – Reply


OverHere
And it IS kind of interesting that NARAL chose only to incorrectly name FOX News Channel and not MSNBC or any of the broadcast networks or any other channel.
August 11, 2005, 9:15:50 AM EDT – Like – Reply


johnny dollar
Thanks for the tip, kimsch. I was able to update the article, solving the "mystery" (but NARAL being the "bad guy" was the least surprising surprise ending any mystery has ever had!).
August 11, 2005, 10:29:20 AM EDT – Like – Reply


kimsch
johnny you are correct about that! and you are welcome.
August 11, 2005, 2:08:00 PM EDT – Like – Reply


OverHere
Brian Wilson just reported that David Selden, the Director of Communications for NARAL, resigned today after this ad was pulled. Wonder if the poodles will report on that story?
August 12, 2005, 6:54:01 PM EDT – Like – Reply