Since Monday's release of 149 jailhouse calls generated buzz that Fox News' Sean Hannity might have offered to pay for George Zimmerman's legal fees, network PR heads are scrambling to kill any connection between the two. In fact, the network is so worked up over this, that they have contacted Gather News to try to get the original story edited to include their statement of denial.
First of all, the original story about the possible Hannity/Zimmerman connection never said that Sean Hannity did offer Zimmerman money. The story simply repeated the possibility of it, reiterating that at this moment in time, it was not proven to be a fact.
The Global Grind originally broke the story yesterday, and their team read through the transcripts of all 149 phone calls. This is what led to the original speculation of a connection between the two men.
Carly Shanahan sent Gather News an email herself in an attempt to get their statement added to the original story. What is Shanahan, the Senior Media Relations Manager, doing contacting Reno Berkeley, a writer virtually unknown outside of Gather?
After the original story was written, Fox released a statement on Media Bistro stating the allegations were patently false. A few hours later the email from Shanahan arrived asking that the disclaimer be added to Berkeley's article.
Most networks would just let the story die after putting out a press release. After an initial flurry of stories about the denial, it would be forgotten in the ether. But the fact that a senior Fox official contacted an unknown writer brings up even more questions about why they're bothering.
Is Fox News really afraid that this story will take wings and fly out of control? Do their executives know that this kind of story, the kind that is little more than speculation and conspiracy theory, could actually be believable? Are they concerned that the same tactics they have used could be used against their own TV personalities? After all, their anchors like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, et al. have made a living doing the exact same thing, and worse.
Some examples of Fox misrepresentations:
- Bill O'Reilly railed against murdered abortion provider George Tiller back in 2009, even after his death. O'Reilly made it his mission to verbally attack the doctor on multiple episodes, condemning his actions and implying that he must be stopped. When Tiller was murdered, O'Reilly never apologized. Instead, he acted like the victim in the whole thing because of the calls for accountability.
- In April 2012, Sean Hannity dug up the lie that President Obama met with the leaders of the New Black Panther party back in 2007, an event that has been proven to have never occurred.
- Around the same time, George Zimmerman's former attorneys quit, referencing a conversation Zimmerman had with Hannity as just one reason. It kind of makes one wonder why Zimmerman's attorneys would quit after the accused spoke with Hannity. What were the contents of the conversation? Well, no one will ever know unless Zimmerman, Hannity, or his former lawyers spill the beans.
It is ironic that a media corporation (News Corp.) - which is guilty via it's now-defunct UK tabloid News of the World of phone hacking in order to create news, and which is in the habit of completely fabricating lies to achieve its right wing agenda - is suddenly concerned with "accuracy" and speculative reporting.
Below is a screen capped copy of the initial communication between the writer and Shanahan for your enjoyment.
Â©2012 Reno Berkeley for Gather News.