Fox News accused The New York Times on Monday of “hyperventilating to the media” after the paper asked the news network for an apology over what the paper deemed a “malicious and inaccurate segment.” A recent “Fox & Friends” report argued that an ISIS leader got away because the Times had leaked key information.
Gen. Tony Thomas has told reporters that a Times story in 2015 about using certain data to track ISIS fighters resulted in U.S. forces losing the trail to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Thomas mentioned the issue again at the Aspen Security Forum Friday and Fox News aired a story on it. Over the weekend, the New York Times emailed “Fox & Friends” to ask for an on-air apology and tweet regarding what a Times spokeswoman called a “malicious and inaccurate segment.”
After the Times asked for an apology, “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy revisited the report on Monday morning, saying the paper says it described a 2015 report to the Pentagon before publication and nobody complained publicly until it was reported on Fox News.
(UPDATED) U.S. General: Leak let ISIS leader slip away pic.twitter.com/wNJgQqOK1b
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) July 24, 2017
The Times fired back, telling TheWrap, “It wasn’t an apology, nor did it begin to address the larger issues with the ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ segment, one of which was sheer hypocrisy.”
A Times spokeswoman continued: “The host railed against The New York Times for covering a raid stating that the U.S. government ‘would have had al-Baghdadi based on the intelligence that we had except someone leaked’ to The New York Times — when Fox News had covered the same raid three weeks earlier in a segment in which their correspondent said, ‘The newly recovered intelligence may bring U.S. closer to Baghdadi’s kill or capture’… According to the curious logic of the ‘Fox & Friends’ host, Fox News itself was unpatriotic.'”
UPDATE: A Fox spokesperson sent the following statement to TheWrap on Monday afternoon: “Neither FOX News’ report nor the subsequent on-air coverage was inaccurate. We find it beyond disappointing that the New York Times, in an attempt to distract from their recent debacle, decided to blame FOX News for comments made publicly by General Thomas during a widely viewed panel at the Aspen Security Forum. It might behoove the Times to actually check in with their reporter Eric Schmitt to see whether Gen. Thomas’ comments have merit and whether Schmitt’s reporting in 2015 revealed intelligence that allowed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to slip away.”
According to the Times, a host on “Fox & Friends” wrongly states that, “al-Baghdadi was able to sneak away under the cover of darkness after a New York Times story” and that the U.S. government “would have had al-Baghdadi based on the intelligence that we had except someone leaked information to the failing New York Times.”
The New York Times story in question was published on June 8, more than three weeks after the raid, according to a Times spokesperson.
“Neither the staff at “Fox & Friends,” nor the writers of a related story on Foxnews.com, appeared to make any attempt to confirm relevant facts, nor did they reach out to The New York Times for comment,” the letter from the Times said.
However, Fox News doesn’t agree with the Times’ version of events and a spokesperson said the paper was “hyperventilating” to the media.
“The FoxNews.com story was already updated online yesterday and ‘Fox & Friends’ provided an updated story to viewers this morning based on the FoxNews.com report. For all of their hyperventilating to the media about a correction, the New York Times didn’t reach out to anyone at Fox News until Sunday afternoon for a story that ran Friday night,” Fox News said in a statement.
A Fox News insider told TheWrap that the Times would have contacted Fox News more quickly if they were truly concerned, saying, “Seems like an awfully long time to wait to correct something if they were so concerned about accuracy.”
The source added: “If we notified the press every time the NY Times had to update an online story or correct something, your inbox would crash.”