This morning I had something to say about paying attention to details (post #29 under "Homophones"). After I wrote it I was reading the paper and slogging through the articles on yesterday's Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act.
There was a sidebar in the Washington Post
noting that both CNN and Fox got the fundamental fact wrong in their initial reports. Both said that the individual mandate--the cornerstone of the law--had been struck down by the court. This, of course, was utterly inaccurate, and both organizations corrected their reporting within minutes.
CNN later apologized for the gaffe; Fox did not. Michael Clemente, executive vice-president for news at Fox said, "Our job is to share news as we learn it. . .As we were hearing it, and as we were reading it, we let our viewers know about it." And here's the good part. Clemente went on, "You don't have to wait until the conclusion of the Yankees game to give the score."
Those are the words of a fool. You don't have to be a journalism graduate to know that the first job is to get it right and the second job is to get it first.
Fox didn't get it right. They misreported the lead for what is probably one of the most important stories of the year. Each person can form an opinion about how much of the error was sloppy reporting and how much was wishful thinking. But the real felony happens when the boss says he doesn't care.
Having read the opinion, I can actually understand how reporters might have been misled by the opening words. All the more reason to dig deeper, to not shoot from the hip, to do a little work and read a few pages. But no, it's far more important to go to air with breathless abandon, and screw it up completely.
No, you don't have to wait until the end of the game to give the score. But you do have to know the score when you give it.
A true black eye.