A media reporter for National Public Radio claims Fox News planted a false story in order to discredit him, when he tried to write a critical report on the news network in 2008.
Reporter David Folkenflik says in his new book, “Murdoch’s World,” that he contacted Fox News in February 2008 while he was writing a story on CNN, which beat Fox News in prime time ratings in the 25 to 54 age group.
Folkenflik said the other major cable news networks cooperated, but he “hit a brick wall at Fox News.”
Later, he claims, he got an email from a private Hotmail account from someone who claimed to be a producer at Fox News.
“I work at Fox but I heard from a friend at CNN that you were doing a story on them beating us in February ratings,” the email said. “Thought I’d pass along a tip for you. Fox execs had a meeting yesterday and decided that Bill O’Reilly will anchor our texas and ohio [sic] primary coverage on Tuesday night. They want to copy the success that MSNBC has had with Olbermann and Matthews anchoring their coverage.”
Having a pundit like O’Reilly cover the primary goes against Fox’s claim of being “fair and balanced.” If the tip was true, Folkenflik had a major story.
The tipster told him that he could quote a source as a female Fox News producer.
When he published the report, Fox blasted the story for being “absurd and wildly inaccurate.”
“If Flamm is so off base with this ‘fact,’ you’d have to question of all his other ‘reporting’ when it comes to Fox News,” Fox News said in a statement.
He called the female producer he corresponded with and she said she had no idea who he was or what he was talking about. When he emailed the Hotmail account again, it bounced back. The account was now closed.
Folkenflik admits he shouldn’t have taken the email as a tip, but his book also alleges that a Fox News staffer admitted the story was set up by the network.
“There are ways in which I very much admire Rupert Murdoch,” Folkenflik said in an NPR interview this week.
“At the same time, there's a cruelty to his journalism. There's a desire to be punitive at times to people who are critics or people who are political opponents,” he added.