Another Lie Enters the Mythology

And we have Keith Olbermann to thank for it.

Tracking the lies told about the Fox News Channel is roughly equivalent to monitoring individual raindrops in a hurricane. Toss in the Fox haters' echo chamber on the internet, and you have an instant mythology, ready to be accepted by the credulous as substantiation for their execration. So we get whoppers like the "Carl Cameron's wife" smear: based on nothing at all but tricky editing and an anonymous, unsupported allegation.

We now have another classic of chicanery to deal with, and it all began with Keith Olbermann. Mr Olbermann has never been one to be overly scrupulous about accuracy when it involves anyone on his enemies list. For example, when Matt Drudge published a leaked email from an ABC producer, Mr Olbermann did not merely ask, or suggest--he flat-out reported that Drudge got the leak from the White House, based on zero facts or evidence:
There was an e-mail that a producer at ABC News had written in the fall of 2004, during the presidential campaign, that was leaked to the infamous, deplorable Matt Drudge.... I’m not even going to put the if-that-came-from-the-White House-somehow thing in there, because the timing’s too good. When you consider that the president won that election, and the e-mail was not even about Iraq, does this not smack of desperation on the part of the White House, to let something like that leak out right now?

Within hours The Washington Post said that the leak came not from the White House, but from a disgrunted ABC ex-employee. But to Mr Olbermann, the made-up report was not just too good to check, it was too good to correct. His eagerness to engage in baseless smears (and reluctance to admit when he is wrong) is even more reckless when the subject is Fox News.

Mr Olbermann is an admitted Fox hater, and we have documented multiple false charges, most never retracted or corrected. Now he's been trapped in another, and again the silence is defeaning. It all stems from Mr Olbermann's giddy glee that he caught Bill O'Reilly in a mistake. It wasn't enough to skewer his nemesis on air (despite O'Reilly's admission of error). Olbermann just had to take it to the next level:
Why has Fox altered the transcripts?... An embarrassed Fox News yet again tries to rewrite its own history....FOX washed its transcript of O‘Reilly‘s remarks Tuesday.  Its Web site claims O‘Reilly said in Normandy, when, as you heard, in fact, he said in Malmedy. The rewriting of past reporting worthy of George Orwell has now carried over into such online transcription services as Burell‘s and Factiva.

Just hours after Mr Olbermann spoke, we pointed out the fallacies in his hyterical rant. The most salient of these is that the transcript in question was not produced by Fox News at all. An outside service, that performs the same function for MSNBC and other channels, prepares the transcripts and is solely responsible for their accuracy. But that didn't stop Mr Olbermann; rather than tempering his words, he repeated the incendiary charge:
FOX News had scrubbed clean O‘Reilly‘s remarkable misstatement, his second on this subject in just under eight moths [sic]....after we called out O‘Reilly on FOX on both his slander of dead American soldiers and their attempt to hide it, on his newscast last Thursday they changed it back last Friday.

All of this was like throwing red meat before a pack of starving, Fox hating rotweilers. Not everyone bought into Olbermann's mud-slinging wholesale, but the cyberspace noise machine roared into operation, and now Google turns up nearly 10,000 references to Mr Olbermann's concocted tale:
  • Fox Edits Transcript To Cover O'Reilly's Factual Errors
  • The FOX website changes the transcript to read Normandy instead of Malmedy.
  • Olbermann reported that Fox News later doctored the May 30 transcript
  • Fox has expurgated the transcript of O'Reilly's egregious errors
  • I think the real story here is Fox News falsifies their transcripts
  • Fox changed the transcript to Normandy
  • FOX News then tried to cover-up the mistake by changing the transcript to say "Normandy"
  • Fox is scrubbing their transcripts
  • Fox doctored the transcript sent to Lexus Nexus
  • Fox has now scrubbed the transcripts
  • the transcript had been edited to substitute Normandy for Malmedy
  • The Fox transcript was altered
  • O’Reilly had the transcript doctored from what he said during the show
  • We know that Fox changed the transcripts
  • Fox News modified O'Reilly's Transcript to cover up the error

All the usual suspects, like AlerNet, Daily Kos, Crooks & Liars, et al, enthusiastically played their part in disseminating Mr Olbermann's slander. And just to make it an official part of the mythology, it had to turn up in that fountainhead of FNC misinformation, Wikipedia:
  • A Fox News transcript of the episode was altered...

Why are we bringing all of this up now? We said at the time that Fox had nothing to do with the transcript. The didn't "change it back"; they didn't doctor it; they didn't write it; they didn't produce it; they don't even hold the copyright on it. And now there can be no doubt that Mr Olbermann was wrong again.

Roger Aranoff has done Keith Olbermann's work for him. He actually went to the source and got the facts. His little-noticed report puts the lie to Mr Olbermann's manic allegations:
But it turns out that Fox had nothing to do with the transcript, other than posting it on its site after it was sent over by the transcription company, Morningside Partners, a Maryland-based company that provides the same service for Olbermann's Countdown show. Morningside told us that one of its transcribers had just heard Clark refer to Normandy, and that when O'Reilly said Malmédy, the transcriber either misheard or mistakenly wrote down Normandy. When informed of the error, it was immediately corrected.... Once again, Olbermann had put the darkest interpretation of events on what Fox had done. But his claim made no sense. Why would using "Normandy" instead of "Malmédy" have made O'Reilly look any better? Clearly, it was an innocent mistake that Fox News and O'Reilly had no control over. 

Mr Aranoff goes on to note Olbermann's "desperation" to attack Fox, and his "glib", "wise guy manner". (In fair and balanced fashion, Aranoff has his criticisms of Mr O'Reilly as well.) How many sites that dutifully parrotted Mr Olbermann's incendiary claims have corrected the record? Will writers who purport to cover the news about tv news, and who promoted Olbermann's contentions, remain silent when another of his conspiracy theories is proven to be an empty defamation?

As for Mr Olbermann, journalistic ethics dictate that he retract his erroneous account. But ethics are not exactly his strong suit. Just ask Matt Drudge.

posted: Sun - July 2, 2006 at 01:15 PM       j$p  send 

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Title: Olbermann's Caught In Another Lie (Documentations Supplied)
Excerpt: Thanks to an article at Johnny Dollar's Place, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is shown to be more of a pathological liar than I had originally suspected. How a once-respectable journalist like Olbermann has deteriorated to such an extent as to completely ...
Blog name: The World According To Carl
July 3, 2006, 3:48:41 PM EDT – Like

Olbermann is an idiot. Always has been and always will be. It's a shame that lefties are so blind.
July 18, 2006, 10:00:29 AM EDT – Like – Reply

Matt Chester
O'Reilly is a liar and a bully. Hooray for Olbermann for standing up to this dope.
November 1, 2007, 10:27:48 AM EDT – Like – Reply