Thursday, June 24, 2010

If The Truth Hurts, Fox News Is Pain Free.

Emily Henry is the Managing Editor of the South Los Angeles Report. Jose Lara is a teacher. Fox News is a fake news organization.

Those are the facts.

Here's Ms. Henry on

It began with an article posted on the Fox News website -- With Revolutionaries 'Looking On,' Teachers Take Kids on a Protest Trip to Arizona -- and soon spiraled into a slugging match between the far, far left and the far, far right. Anything involving the SB 1070 law has a tendency to do that, especially when it also happens to involve teachers, students and South Central.
The Fox story implied that Santee Education Complex teacher Jose Lara had led students on a "field trip" to Arizona to protest the SB 1070 law. The set up of the piece was obviously designed to raise questions about indoctrination: should teachers air opinions in front of students, potentially encouraging them to follow suit, or simply keep their mouths shut and teach?
But Lara wasn't shocked by the content of the story. He was disturbed by the journalistic process by which it had come about.
Lara, whose staunch social justice activism is captured through his FLIP camera and distributed via a handful of social networking accounts, was not directly quoted in the article, but both his Facebook and YouTube accounts were used as sources. Being that his first encounter with the story was after its publication, the situation raised questions for Lara about the validity of journalists sourcing social networking accounts rather than actual people.
If they had spoken to him directly, Lara says, they would have realized that they were publishing a factually incorrect account of events.
Lara has composed a response to the Fox news article and the questions it raised for him about "fair and balanced" journalism:

Fox News does it again
By Jose Lara

In a recent article, Fox took another swing at immigrant rights activists, teachers, and our public school system by misreporting and misleading the public.
According to Fox, three teachers took a Los Angeles School District sponsored field trip to Arizona to protest the new law, SB 1070. However, nothing can be further from the truth. Instead of fact checking and conducting authentic journalism, Fox decided to look to YouTube and Facebook for their "fair and balanced" news report, and without establishing actual contact with the subjects of the story, published it anyway.
Here is the truth: Firstly, teachers did not take any students on a field trip. The Los Angeles Unified School District would not have approved of such a trip. Secondly, the high school student quoted in the Fox article went on the Arizona protest trip with her mother, who is also a teacher. All of Fox's sources appear to come from Facebook, YouTube and online discussion groups.
I have a few questions for Fox:
Is a journalist who gets all their information from YouTube and Facebook without fact checking really a journalist at all?
Shouldn't Fox retract this story if they know it to be false?
Who benefits from stories like this?
Perhaps Fox News does not intend to produce authentic journalism, but yellow journalism instead. That is to say that Fox uses eye-catching headlines and over-sensationalized stories with little to no authentic research in order to gain ratings.
And, unfortunately, it is a successful method of attracting eyeballs. It also increases hate and division among people. The Fox News message board is filled with hateful rants - comments such as "Deport them all now", "Bring it on beano", and "America is being invaded!!!!" Fox fuels the fire by attempting to pass off opinion pieces as authentic journalism.

BeltwayBlips: vote it up!

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