You Decide!

Writer and MSNBC employee Jonathan Alter sent out a tweet at 9:57 pm, boasting that a New York Times article ‘uses story from my new book The Center Holds about Ailes cutting Geraldo’s mic’. And sure enough, it does:

As the three {Fox & Friends] hosts criticized the administration for failing to save the ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans who died in Benghazi, Mr. Rivera protested. He accused the co-host Eric Bolling of lying, calling him “a politician trying to make a political point.” “After the argument continued for several minutes, Ailes called the control room and told the producers to cut Rivera’s mic,” Mr. Alter writes.

Alter’s tweet was quickly retweeted (further circulated) by Times media writer Brian Stelter, author of the article in question, and Politico’s Dylan Byers, himself fresh off a grueling dress-down of Howard Kurtz over inaccuracies in reporting.

But there’s a catch. Did it really happen?

At 10:17 pm we asked a question of Messrs Alter, Stelter, and Byers:

At 11:46 pm Mr Alter replied that he saw it on video, but bizarrely added he did so ‘before it was taken down’. A bizarre claim given that the video has not been taken down but has been sitting there since November 2, 2012. Our response:

While we await clarification from Mr Alter, we ask you: did Roger Ailes ‘cut Geraldo’s mic’ as Alter contends? Judge for yourself. Watch the video (which Roger Ailes cleverly hid by posting it on the fox news website), see if you can spot the mic going dead, and give us your verdict in the comments. We report, you decide.

5/6/13: Mr Alter is hawking a tweet from Media Matters, alleging an ‘audible change in volume of Geraldo's microphone’ (i.e. moving the goalposts). What neither of them bothers to mention is that the ‘audible change’ came in the very last seconds of the segment, as they were going to commercial. Also the clip (Mediaite has a better one at their link given below) ends up proving that Geraldo’s mic was in fact not cut at all. Oops.

Update: Reactions from TV Newser, Inside Cable News, ICN. Mediaite: It didn’t happen. Geraldo: It didn’t happen. Mediaite: Lazy Times reporting enabled the smear.
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