Friday, August 26, 2005

Outrage: FOX is Making a BIG Omelette

Following up on the brilliant comments by John "Five in the noggin" Gibson, FOX News just drew targets on the backs of an innocent California family. Hey, ya gotta break a few eggs to fight the War on Terror and maintain a level of hyper-paranoia...

For some reason, John Loftus, a former DOJ prosecutor and FOX contributor, thought it would be a good idea to announce the name and address of somebody he thought was a terrorist. FOX thought it would be a good idea to supply viewers with directions and satellite photos! That's bad enough. But here's the worst part—the guy FOX identified, moved three years ago!!
When Blame Knocks on the Wrong Door
Since Fox News wrongly identified a La Habra home as that of a terrorist, its five- member family has faced an angry backlash.

Randy and Ronnell Vorick thought La Habra was about as far away as one could get from terrorism. They were wrong.

For the last 2 1/2 weeks, the lives of the couple and their three children have been plunged into an unsettling routine of drivers shouting profanities, stopping to photograph their house and — most recently — spray-painting a slogan on their property.

Their house, a suburban fixer-upper the Voricks bought three years ago, was wrongly identified in a cable news broadcast as the home of a terrorist.

"I'm scared to go to work and leave my kids home. I call them every 30 minutes to make sure they're OK," Randy Vorick said.

"I keep telling myself this can't be happening to me. This can't be happening to my family. But it is. I want our lives to be normal again," he said.

In what Fox News officials concede was a mistake, John Loftus, a former U.S. prosecutor, gave out the address Aug. 7, saying it was the home of a Middle Eastern man, Iyad K. Hilal, who was the leader of a terrorist group with ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London.

Hilal, whom Loftus identified by name during the broadcast, moved out of the house about three years ago. But the consequences were immediate for the Voricks.

FOX acted unconscionably by revealing that info even if it were accurate. As a former DOJ official who once held a variety of high-level security clearances, Loftus should have realized that revealing that info could have jeopardized an ongoing investigation. And both he and FOX certainly should have realized at the very least they were jeopardizing the safety of that individual. The fact they were flat-out fucking WRONG and have endangered this family is fucking outrageous.
The Voricks said they had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact Fox News and Loftus by telephone and e-mail. They want a public apology and correction.

Both have issued apologies — Fox in a one-line statement to the Los Angeles Times and Loftus in an e-mail to the family — after being contacted by the newspaper. The Voricks say they have yet to see or hear a correction.

"John Loftus has been reprimanded for his careless error, and we sincerely apologize to the family," said Fox spokeswoman Irena Brigante.

Loftus also apologized and told The Times last week that "mistakes happen."

"I'm terribly sorry about that. I had no idea. That was the best information we had at the time," he said.

Loftus said he gave out the address to help local police, and insisted that Hilal, a Garden Grove grocery store owner, was a terrorist.

"I thought it might help police in that area now that we have positively identified a terrorist living in [Orange County]," he said.

Cathy Viray, an FBI spokeswoman in Los Angeles, said agents were looking into Loftus' terrorist allegations but stopped short of calling it an investigation.

Jesus. Hey douchebag, when you have a hot tip to help the police, pick up the fucking phone! This is worse than yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater, this is reckless endangerment. A one-line retraction in the paper? Not even close to good enough. FOX sould run a correction and retraction on the screen crawl, and post it prominantly on their website. This isn't a run of the mill news typo. They deliberately released this info for no other reason than to "create" news and to stir up trouble for this Hilal guy. They were intentionally stoking their ignorant, hothead, paranoid, racist, jingo-addled audience. Well, they fucked up, and now they have a responsibility to help this family out. They should be providing private security for the family, that would be a start, and would actually "help the police" as well.

I hope they were wrong about Hilal too, so he can sue the shit out of FOX along with the Voricks.

Oh, and what did one of the braindead fucktard FOX viewers spray paint on the house? "TERRIST." You couldn't make that shit up...

[via John Cole]

UPDATE: The Rude Pundit has more:
And Loftus, so plump with speaking fees, said that he gave out the information based on "the best information we had at the time." Is that the unimpeachable excuse for every massive fuck-up now? You know, "the best information we had at the time" said that blacks were mentally inferior to whites who could be best served by being slaves. "The best information we had at the time" said that Native Americans were subhuman savages who needed to be slaughtered. "The best information we had at the time" told Colin Powell that Iraq had WMDs. [...] In other words, "the best information we had at the time" is the catch-all bullshit for every time you operate out of willful ignorance, outright lies, and stupidity. It's a cop-out. It's a way of saying that you're wrong now, but, shit, you weren't wrong then, when, really, and, c'mon, if you're wrong, you're fuckin' wrong, no matter when.


Dude Quixote said...

I can't believe you didn't post something about the loving chirstian bortherhood expressed by Pat Robertson toward Hugo Chavez this week! I thought maybe I'd get you to spout off about ugly, violent, classist, racist, fascists hiding behind the label of christian faith.....

Mr Furious said...

Ah, it's been a crazy week. i feel like I have three jobs...

How about this (read online in reference to Robertson's comments)...

"Some Christians deserve to be eaten by lions."

Simba, meet Reverend Robertson.