Let’s get this out of the way first: Fox News is not making an effort to improve its credibility, Fox News does not care about its credibility, Fox News makes money by pushing true news stories and fake ones interspersed in whatever proportions best keep its viewers addicted to their carefully nurtured anger, and anyone who falls for Fox corporate’s claims to the contrary is just being willfully gullible at this point.
Case in point, yet again: A new story on Military.com describes the lengths the U.S. Marine Corps had to go to get Fox News to pull down a July story falsely claiming that the Corps stiffed the family of Sgt. Nicole Gee, a Marine killed in Afghanistan, forcing her relatives to pay $60,000 to ship the remains of their loved one back home.
“Fox News eventually deleted the story with no correction, and it never reached out to the Gee family with an apology as the Marine Corps requested,” the site reports. It took multiple complaints from the Marine Corps before Fox pulled the story, and they didn’t do it without first getting some choice words sent their way about using “the grief of a family member of a fallen Marine to score cheap clickbait points.”
And this is the top spokesperson for a branch of the nation’s armed services fighting tooth and nail to get Fox to pull one of its half-researched, fake, “clickbait” stories. For anyone without access to either a warehouse full of lawyers or a few hundred attack helicopters at their disposal, getting Fox to pull false claims would appear to be nigh-on impossible.
As for how this happened, it followed the usual path for news stories that turn out to be false. Military.com reports Fox News reporters didn’t speak to Gee’s family before posting the piece, and didn’t wait for the Pentagon to return their inquiries. The sourcing for the story appears to rest entirely on a claim from Rep. Cory Mills of Florida, who appears to have contacted Fox with the story after meeting with the family and badly misunderstanding the actual circumstances. The story fit a narrative that conservatives working at Fox desperately wanted to be true, so it was hastily published before due diligence was done.
You might be tempted to call this an error on the part of a specific Fox News reporter, but let’s be real. When you’ve got primetime hosts like Sean Hannity pushing out fake stories with glib abandon, why should anyone else in the company waste time double-checking their facts?