Fox News' Cameron Creates New Fiction Serving as Fact Checker
Many observers suggested that Carl Cameron, Fox News' chief political correspondent, should have been suspended after he wrote a fake and derisive news story about John Kerry for Fox News' web site.
Officially, Cameron was reprimanded. In truth, it's business as usual for Fox. No suspension. No removal from covering the campaign. A slap on the wrist and carry on, my conservative son.
Not only was Cameron a key part of last night's debate coverage for Fox -- he served the role of fact checker! What's worse, he misrepresented the facts -- surprise, surprise -- with regard to the very same John Kerry.
The topic was the back-and-forth during the debate about how many pieces of legislation John Kerry had written and had passed by Congress.
Bush said: "He introduced some 300 bills, and he's passed five."
Kerry said: I've actually passed 56 individual bills that I've personal written. And in addition to that, they're not always under my name, there is amendments on certain bills."
So there's the debate: Did Kerry pass five bills, or 56? Seems like something that would be easy to fact-check, right?
The Washington Post, in July, 2003, citing an Associated Press examination, said Kerry was the lead sponsor on eight bills that became law. But "Kerry sponsored 56 bills and resolutions that passed the Senate, but did not necessarily become law."
In other words, Kerry was right. Bush was wrong.
But how did fiction writer Cameron see things?
From the Fox News transcript:
CAMERON: And the Kerry camp does not dispute that, five that made it to a president's desk and were signed; whereas Senator Kerry argues that that 56 was legislation that he wrote or cosponsored or was involved in over the course of his career --
HUME: Well, he said "personally wrote."
CAMERON: -- but did not --
HUME: He said "personally wrote."
CAMERON: Well, that -- he co-sponsored. He did indeed. That's not entirely accurate. Some of them were bills that he cosponsored or worked with, and by putting his name on it -- in legislative parlance, being a cosponsor does not necessarily mean that one is a principal in the writing of the legislation, but one who has joined on it.
So Cameron creates more fiction. By substituting "wrote" for "wrote or co-sponsored or was involved in," Cameron turns Bush into a truth-teller, and Kerry into a shady, do-nothing Senator.
So again, ask yourselves, what is Carl Cameron doing covering the presidential campaign for Fox News? Shouldn't it be clear that either his bias toward the President has clouded his objectivity, or that he's an incompetent reporter?
Frankly, anyone this incompetent -- conservative or liberal, correspondent or anchor -- deserves to be suspended, demoted or perhaps dumped. My boss wouldn't tolerate such reckless behavior from me -- because to do so would be to allow our newsletters' credibility to be questioned.
Why should the American people tolerate anything less?