The story has taken the United States by storm this week of the Philadelphia Eagles being disinvited from the White House. The team had previously been set to, thanks to their status as Super Bowl champions, pay the White House a visit on Tuesday for a ceremony. As the latest installment of President Trump’s anger with players who have chosen to kneel during pre-game performances of the national anthem, though, that event morphed into a nationalistic celebration without any Eagles players present.
As the debacle unfolded early this week, Fox News ran a story that featured photos of Eagles players kneeling, and an easily drawn implication from that feature of their reporting is that Eagles players had been among those to have taken a knee during the anthem. The problem, though, is that no Eagles players actually did so during the 2017 season. The pictured players were praying, not kneeling during the anthem.
Eagles player Zach Ertz was among those to point out the error.
Now, in the face of backlash, Fox News has issued an apology for their false reporting. They have also deleted the tweet featuring a video of the segment that incorporated the photos, which can be seen in the above screenshotted comment from Zach Ertz.
Executive producer of Fox News @ Night Christopher Wallace said:
‘During our report about President Trump cancelling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer. To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.’
The fact that the error reinforces the president’s contention that there is a widespread supposed disrespect of the anthem in the NFL furthers the idea that Fox often ends up as little more than a de facto propaganda arm of the Trump administration.
At this point, there is a long history of the current president taking to defending the anthem like some sort of quixotic fool against the non-existent threats posed by players choosing to peacefully protest during its playing. He even incorporated comments to that effect into his State of the Union address offered earlier this year.
The point of the protests is to bring attention to the plight of African Americans, not to offend wannabe anthem defenders like Donald Trump. Even still, he found it nothing to easily call protesting players “sons of bitches” who should be fired last year and has continued on with similar rhetoric ever since.
Also in the time since, Fox itself has certainly carried on with its own campaign of giving a platform for the president’s views whenever possible. It’s hardly a secret that he’s a big fan of Fox & Friends, the network’s morning talk show; he recently appeared on the program for a bizarre, lengthy interview that mostly consisted of him ranting and raving — and yelling — with little challenge.
Fox faced broad backlash for their deceptive incorporation of photos of Eagles players into their reporting — even from some prominent conservatives — but that’s hardly likely to change the overall direction of the network.
Featured Image via Win McNamee/Getty Images