It’s an ironic twist of fake news being perpetrated on notorious leak-promoting newspaper The New York Times, as it is now seeking an apology and retraction from “Fox & Friends” after they reported that the Times was to blame for the 2015 escape of an ISIS leader.
“I am writing on behalf of The New York Times to request an on-air apology and tweet from Fox & Friends in regards to a malicious and inaccurate segment, ‘NY Times leak allowed ISIS leader to slip away,’” wrote Danielle Rhoades Ha, vice president of communications for the Times. Fox subsequently updated the story on its website, adding the NYT letter.
The “Fox & Friends” report, which aired Saturday, elicited a response from President Donald Trump, who tweeted, “The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist, al-Baghdadi,” adding, “Their sick agenda over National Security.”
The Failing New York Times foiled U.S. attempt to kill the single most wanted terrorist,Al-Baghdadi.Their sick agenda over National Security
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
In the request, Rhoades Ha complained, “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.”
Fox & Friends attached The New York Times’ letter to its original story and issued this statement later on Sunday: “The FoxNews.com story was already updated online and Fox & Friends will also provide an updated story to viewers tomorrow morning based on the FoxNews.com report. For all of their concern about accuracy, The New York Times didn’t reach out to anyone at Fox News until Sunday afternoon for a story that ran Friday night.”
The story in question was about a U.S. raid in eastern Syria in May 2015, which provided actionable intelligence. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters the next day, “This is very useful, very important intelligence that we were able to collect.”
Rhoades Ha pointed out that Fox News reported on the raid on May 17, 2015, and more details were reported in a New York Times article in June 2015.
General Tony Thomas, who leads the U.S. Special Operations Command, told FOX last week that the published report caused a lead to the ISIS leader’s whereabouts to go dry. “That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” he said.
The Times claims the pertinent material was disclosed by Carter in his public statement and stated that the Pentagon did not object to its article.
An anonymous Fox News executive, who was apparently reticent to provide a name, was nevertheless eager to slam Rhoades Ha for waiting until Sunday afternoon to ask for the apology and for alerting reporters at the same time. “If we notified the press every time the NY Times had to update an online story or correct something, your inbox would crash,” the exec quipped.
Rhoades Ha said she initially emailed the “Fox & Friends” weekend executive producer at 12:53 on Sunday, asking for a response by 3 p.m. and “sent a separate request to Catherine Herridge and her co-author to update their story, which I would have done with or without the Fox & Friends segment. I did not ask Catherine for an apology. She responded and updated her story.”
Rhoades Ha is still waiting to receive a response from the “Fox & Friends” weekend executive producer.
“We asked them for an apology because the entire premise of their segment is false,” she said. “I find it curious they are focusing on the timing of my emails instead of whether or not their reporting is false.”
On Saturday, the Times went after the White House to clarify Trump’s tweet, stating, “If the President is referring to this 2015 story, the Pentagon raised no objections with the Times before publishing the story in 2015 and no senior American official ever complained publicly about it until now, as noted in Peter Baker’s story this morning.”
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