Today, Media Matters reported that Fox News Anchor Brit Hume acknowledged an error in which he claimed that a Jerusalem Post article featured an interview with Obama’s brother, Malik Obama. As a previous post here on the NJDC blog by Reuben noted, this in itself is an error. The Jerusalem Post article in question was not a Post interview, but a paraphrase of an interview conducted by Israeli Army Radio. Additionally, Hume asserted this article had a quote from Malik Obama that his brother in fact had a Muslim background. This was shown to be an erroneous assertion, and Hume issued a formal apology for the error.
HUME: And finally, last week, we quoted The Jerusalem Post in the story about Barack Obama's half brother Malik Obama. The Post reported that in an interview with Israeli Army Radio, Malik Obama said his brother would be a good president despite his Muslim background. It now turns out that the Post did not quite understand what Malik Obama was saying in the interview and paraphrased him incorrectly. Malik Obama did not say that his older brother has a Muslim background. The Jerusalem Post has since removed the story from its website, and we regret the error.
We at the NJDC welcome the apology. It is to Hume and Fox News Network’s credit that they caught and corrected this error. The NJDC encourages responsible journalism in all cases, and would urge Hume and others at Fox News to do a far better job of catching these errors before they go on air, and before they can cause unmitigated damage based on a false assumption. It is too late to completely control the damage, but Fox News can go further. They should acknowledge the error in not using the original source (cting the Post when it in fact was originally from the Israeli Army Radio), as that is also a significant error that does unfair service to both outlets. We fully expect the media to report on facts, not conjectures, and hope that future journalistic endeavors shall strive to do so.