I don’t know why TV stations (and networks) allow mistakes to remain without corrections but it’s certainly a disservice to viewers and readers. One could also say Fake News and fraud.
Perhaps the Federal Communications Commission needs to get involved to keep them in line. Local stations use the public airwaves, are licensed to serve the public interest and certainly make money whether they serve the public interest or not.
But this time, the local stations’ mistake has been corrected ― not that a lot of work went into it. (And not that it has to.)
Tuesday, after ABC canceled Roseanne, I questioned why at least three local Fox TV stations (KTTV-Los Angeles, WTVT-Tampa and WTXF-Philadelphia) used the phrase “Dungey told Fox News” at the end of their third paragraphs.
I realized they all got it from the third paragraph of this FoxNews.com article, which they linked to at the bottom.
So I tweeted and emailed author Sasha Savitsky, since it seemed the whole world used that quote from ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, and I couldn’t imagine her speaking exclusively to Fox News or any Fox entity, rather than ABC.
I spent the past 40 hours making sure to look for any tweet or email from Savitsky, but there were none. I’m sure folks at Fox saw the tweet but apparently did nothing about it.
Since my tweet, email and blog post, I believe her original story was updated in at least these ways:
Added: “Tuesday’s scheduled ‘Roseanne’ rerun was replaced with a rerun of ‘The Middle.'”
Added: “In an MSNBC town-hall clip tweeted out by ’11th Hour with Brian Williams,’ Jarrett responded to the backlash noting Roseanne’s support of Donald Trump might be to blame for her inflammatory comments” along with this tweet:
(Click here for FTVLive’s Scott Jones on Joy Reid being included in the discussion.)
Then, at the bottom, I noticed a line that may have been there before:
The name Shira Bush came up several times on FoxNews.com’s search engine, but I couldn’t find her actual name in an article. That’s when I turned to Google.
Bush was among many who’d tweeted out Dungey’s original statement and since she is a senior producer (not that the title means much at Fox, from my experience), I figured I’d try to get answers from her.
The good news is all those local stations that used most of the original FoxNews.com story and teased more by going to the network’s story at the end started from scratch. They did so by copying and pasting an Associated Press article (and credited the A.P.) which certainly did not include the line, “Dungey told Fox News.”
But I really can’t say the stations did anything. As I’ve noted, one local Fox-owned station usually writes (or copies) an article and shares it with the others, who do nothing more than click a box to publish it on their own site. Like I explained below. I’m not so sure they even read it.
In the Roseanne case, I couldn’t tell which station did the work. Now, I’m going to guess it was WFLD in Chicago since they’re on channel 32 and that’s the source of the video. (Maybe because Roseanne was set in fictional Lanford, Illinois?)
Now, notice the similarities in those web addresses and these time stamps, keeping in mind Chicago is in the Central Time Zone.
So the article issue among possibly more than a dozen local Fox TV stations appears to be fixed, either through this blog’s publicity or simply updating the story with the A.P.’s version on the part of one station, probably Chicago, while nobody else lifted a finger since the change for them would’ve happened automatically.
Of course, there’s still no reason why the only two embedded tweets ― from ABC Entertainment and actress Sara Gilbert ― are at the bottom. Probably just bad writing. The ABC tweet could’ve gone almost anywhere, especially after the description of what the real Roseanne wrote, and Gilbert was actually mentioned at the end of a paragraph! But we can’t have it all, can we?
And I’ll let you know if I ever hear from Sasha Savitsky and now Shira Bush, since the FoxNews.com network article still contains that exact original phrase. Let’s hope Shira responds better than Sasha!
So what about WTXF-Fox 29’s station history? Still untouched!
What about KY3 (in Missouri, not Philadelphia) using a bio from a previous station for MMJ Jasmine Dell? Still untouched!
… but nothing has changed!
I don’t know about you but I’m afraid for the future if these are the people in charge, making important decisions. Has me questioning stations’ and networks’ hiring practices, which are leading to misinformation campaigns.
Please, if you like what you read here, subscribe to CohenConnect.com with either your email address or WordPress account, and get a notice whenever I publish. I’m also available for writing/web contract work.