Fox News corrected a demonstrably false report the network aired on Sunday about MSNBC’s coverage of the Kate Steinle verdict after social media users pointed out the error to Fox News and nearly 12 hours after CNN first alerted the network’s PR department.
During a “Fox & Friends Weekend” segment, host Pete Hegseth told viewers that MSNBC had “completely ignored” news that a jury on Thursday acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, who was in the U.S. illegally, of murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Steinle. Zarate was convicted of being a felon in the possession of a firearm, which could bring a three-year sentence.
“MSNBC did not cover the verdict once on Friday or on Saturday,” Hegseth claimed.
But that’s not true, and on Monday at 5:20 p.m., nearly a full business day after this reporter sent the first of multiple alerts to Fox News about the error, a correction was posted on the network’s “Fox & Friends” Twitter account.
“On Sunday we said MSNBC did not cover the Steinle verdict on Friday or Saturday at all,” the tweet said. “We were wrong. In that 48 hour span, they covered it a total of 2 minutes and 15 seconds.”
Fox News’ delay in correcting a false story is a curious one. Not only did the story relay incorrect information to its large audience, but the network has harped on its competitors for mistakes by giving such errors a significant amount of attention on-air and online.
Fox News also issued a correction in the online version of Hegseth’s story and deleted the tweets that promoted the article on Twitter. One tweet posted early Monday morning on the Fox News Twitter account was retweeted more than 7,500 times before the network deleted it in the evening. It’s not clear whether there will be a correction made on-air. A Fox spokesperson did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Hegseth’s false claim about MSNBC was reported by Fox News online under the headline “‘0 Minutes’: MSNBC Ignores Kate Steinle Trial Verdict.”
“While most networks offered mixed coverage to the trial of an illegal immigrant accused of killing Kate Steinle, one network ignored the case’s verdict altogether, Pete Hegseth reported,” an original writeup of the Hegseth segment on Fox News Insider read. “Hegseth said MSNBC did not cover the verdict of Jose Ines Garcia Zarate at all.”
MSNBC covered the Steinle verdict on Friday, as well as on Thursday’s episode of “Hardball” soon after the news first broke.
During a Friday morning segment on “First Look,” MSNBC reported on the verdict and President Trump’s reaction to it. Additionally, the network aired video from the San Francisco Chronicle showing reaction from Steinle’s parents.
Host Stephanie Ruhle teased another segment on the verdict during the 9 a.m. hour, but breaking news about Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI seemingly preempted it.
A spokesperson for MSNBC declined to comment.
CNNMoney (New York) First published December 4, 2017: 8:54 PM ET