Last week, the journalistic stalwarts at Fox News printed a striking piece claiming California's 2012 budget deficit would hit $28 billion and cause an exodus of high wage earners from the state. Unfortunately for the news site's nonexistent integrity, that was a flat-out falsehood. Other journalists headed to Twitter to mock the shoddy and easily refuted reporting, but California Governor Jerry Brown's press secretary, Gil Duran, decided to mount his own PR campaign against the "completely false" statements.
Duran explains the situation to media watchdog Jim Romenesko (emphasis, ours):
I wrote a request for a correction. Ignored. So it appears I’m going to have to campaign for a correction. Most news outlets are more than happy to correct an egregious error. Not Fox News, apparently. I’m not surprised by most of what they do. But — come on — you can’t just write fiction. I’m used to their relentless attacks and we generally ignore them falsehoods are another matter!
As part of his campaign for truth over truthiness, Duran also published his correspondence to the unresponsive FoxNews.com. First in an email sent last Saturday, when the article was published:
From: Gil Duran Sent: Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:14 PM To: [email protected] Subject: Correction
Your story on California has some major and obvious errors.
First, the story states that California has a $28 billion deficit. This is completely false and is already being mocked by California reporters on Twitter. Please correct the record immediately.
The story also makes misleading claims about Proposition 30. Specifically, the story says that “families making over $250,000″ will have their income taxes increased. But for families that file jointly, there would be no tax increase unless they made $500,000.
In general, the article simply rehashes arguments from obscure columnists whose opinions are contradicted by all available data. But these two major errors merit immediate correction.
Please correct the record.
And finally, a follow-up this morning:
From: Gil Duran Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2012 10:50 AM To: ‘[email protected]’ Subject: FW: Correction
Dear Fox News,
I am following up on the message I sent earlier this week. This story contains an absolute falsehood. It contains a claim that is refuted by all existing evidence. In fact, this error was brought to my attention by a journalist who read the story and was shocked by the inaccuracy. I have made a good faith attempt to have the record corrected via the means provided on your website. However, this seems insufficient.
For more than five days now, this completely inaccurate piece has been on your website. It was featured on the Drudge Report and was the top trending story on your site. And it contains a major error. It is unethical to refuse to make a necessary correction. Please correct the record.
In Fox News' defense (which: ugh, sorry) that [email protected] inbox is probably overflowing with with emails from conspiracy theorists and people asking for autographed copies of Killing Kennedy. Maybe the network just couldn't be bothered to clean out the junk mail while they were defending Christmas from the infidels.
Update: In a footnote, FoxNews.com has corrected the error, stating: "Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misstated California's latest deficit projections. The article has also been updated to clarify who is affected by the new tax increase." The article now states Gov. Brown's budget deficit will only hit $1.9 billion instead of $28 billion. While we appreciate the correction, a more transparent news outlet might admit the error with some actual conviction.