“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” — this appears to be the motto not just of Fox News, but of one of Fox’s most obsequious local outlets, the Raleigh-based John Locke Foundation.
Check out, for instance, this post from yesterday afternoon on “The Locker Room” blog. The story is about some township officials in a Philadelphia suburb who want a local woman to get a permit ( a permit that costs a lot of money) before she hands out food to hungry kids from her home. Sounds like a classic case of officious government bureaucrats messing with private charity, right?
Well, it may well be (though one has to wonder if the Fox/Locke people would be yelling if the poor kids were lining up next door to Art Pope’s house and trampling his roses rather than doing so in a lower income, minority neighborhood), but here’s the interesting part: The Locke post inaccurately gives the impression that the food is from private donors.
Here’s the Locke post:
“The food comes from the Archdiocese.”
Wow, that really makes it sound extra bad, dosn’t it? Those no-good bureaucrats won’t even let churches distribute food to hungry kids.
According to this story from an actual news site, however:
“The program is funded by the state’s department of education and backed by the archdiocese of Philadelphia. On an average day, they feed 60 children.”
No wonder the Locke people didn’t report the whole story; it kinda’ changes the narrative — especially for a group that champions budget cuts and rails about publicly-funded assistance programs like school lunches.
Here’s the bottom line: This little blog post is, by itself, no big deal. But the subtle fact omission it includes is indicative of the way Fox Newses and Locke Foundations of the world have been manipulating the truth for decades in the service of a far-right agenda. It’s the constant flow of such half and three quarter-truths that is at the heart of so much of the misinformation that dominates the conservative political scene in America. It’s the accumulation of such stuff that helps explain the paranoid delusions of the “birther” crowd and Rush Limbaugh listeners.
The bottom line: We have our work cut out for us in cutting through this drumbeat of deception, but it can be done. Let’s redouble our efforts.