Wednesday, April 30, 2008

From the Fox News History Channel

If only it were true.

Fox News, threatening to bid for something approaching journalistic gravitas after Chris Wallace's Sunday interview with Barack Obama, returned to its singular form Tuesday with a news graphic that was breathtaking for its sadly dumb (if tantalizing) misreading of American history.

The background: Hillary Clinton, Obama's challenger for the Democratic nomination, recently called for a North Carolina debate between herself and Obama, one without moderators, in what she thought was the style of the seven celebrated 1858 debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Arnold Douglas, a fiery, diminutive, resourceful Democratic state politician who defeated Lincoln that year for a Senate seat.

Fox News, running hard with the ball the wrong way down the field, came up with a graphic to illustrate a brief "Fox and Friends" on-air discussion about the Clinton debate-format idea. But in the two-portrait image, Lincoln wasn't paired with Stephen A. Douglas. It was ... well, see for yourself:

Historians, American history buffs, and black Americans everywhere were no doubt pleasantly surprised to learn on Tuesday that, according to Fox News, the black abolitionist leader, publisher and author Frederick Douglass rose to a prominence in American life beyond his more celebrated achievements — a groundbreaking role in Illinois politics overlooked for 150 years. As we said before, if only it were true.

Question: Does Fox News have some 'splainin' to do?

Answer: No more than usual.


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