Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher tries to push back on the push back to Gabriel Sherman’s FNC piece on Monday…
New York Magazine‘s Gabriel Sherman is under fire from the conservative media, and from Fox News’s Brit Hume, over his reporting on internal emails regarding Fox News’ weekend coverage of gun control in the wake of Friday’s horrific mass shooting. Much of that criticism is based on a story, from The Hollywood Reporter‘s Paul Bond, that purports to debunk Sherman’s reporting, but a review of what Sherman actually wrote, and how Fox News actually covered the issue of gun control this past weekend, reveals that THR didn’t check their facts, or didn’t care.
Christopher then goes on to argue that the type of discussion regarding “gun control” on FNC was weak…
The “both sides represented” by Fox News over the weekend, then, were:
Gun control is not the issue
Gun control is not the only issue
Let’s talk about something else
As supporting evidence, Christopher linked to a video, source unknown, of selectively edited clips from various FNC shows on Saturday and Sunday. Selectively edited clips are always a red flag for me. You can’t evaluate a segment or a series of segments fairly if you only have snippets of the segments to go on.
Notice the shift in narrative though? It’s no longer “FNC didn’t talk about Gun Control”. It’s now “FNC didn’t talk about Gun Control in a way I feel was meaningful.” It’s not a yes/no proposition anymore but a subjective in the eye of the beholder proposition. I consider that too slippery a slope to venture down. If you have to resort to subjectivism to frame your argument, you are going to be hard pressed to convince anyone whose ideological world view isn’t the same as yours.
On the other hand there is this…
Bond took what was spoon-fed to him by “Fox News insiders,” didn’t insist that they provide him with a full accounting of the emails that Sherman reported on, then closed the loop with an on-the-record source.
To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a network making a public relations effort to rebut negative press, and Fox News has no duty to tell Gabe Sherman’s side of the story, or provide evidence to contradict their own. That’s the reporter’s job, and THR‘s failed at it.
On this point, Christopher and I are in agreement. The Hollywood Reporter story had all the markings of a classic story plant.