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Did Fox News Lie About the Wisconsin Protests Being Violent? Did Fox News Lie About the Wisconsin Protests Being Violent?

Did Fox News Lie About the Wisconsin Protests Being Violent?

by Andrew Price
March 3, 2011


Fox News has been trying to paint the workers' rights demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin, as tainted by violent, "far left" elements. And to make that point, the infotainment outlet recently used footage from Sacramento in a report on the Madison protests. Have a look.

The clip in question is the one of the altercation at 1:40, which, in the context of this segment, is being used as evidence of the violent nature of the protests. But because it was used in a report about Wisconsin protesters, and wasn't identified as coming from Sacramento, there have been accusations that it constitutes a "lie" on Fox's part. The video has blown up on BuzzFeed under the title "Fox News Lying About 'Violent Wisconsin Protests'" and TPM picked up the story, implying deception.

Over at Mediate, Jon Bershad defends Fox News, arguing that the YouTube clip cuts off the beginning of the show, which used the same Sacramento footage and made it clear it wasn't from Wisconsin. Bershad goes on to note that "filtering a news story through an opinion during a show that is readily identified as an 'opinion show' isn’t unethical. You can disagree with the Factor’s slant and how they presented it but, no, the show did not lie."

Bershad may be right, but the issue of whether Fox lied, strictly speaking, is beside the point. The choice to play up these violent clips when the protests have actually been very peaceful is misleading if not mendacious, and it's just as bad as a factual error.

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