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Rep. Conyers Miffed at Fox News Mix-up

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) is not a happy camper with Fox News Channel for mistaking him for indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who is about a head taller than Conyers, about 20 years younger and otherwise bears little resemblance to the Judiciary Committee chairman.

"Fox News has a history of inappropriate on-air mistakes that are neither fair, nor balanced. This type of disrespect for people of color should no longer be tolerated," Conyers said in a statement issued today. "I am personally offended by the network's complete disregard for accuracy in reporting and lackluster on-air apology."

On Monday, after a grand jury indicted Jefferson on 16 counts of public corruption charges, Fox news mistakenly showed a video clip of Conyers while talking about Jefferson's indictment.

Following the mistake, according to sources, a Fox News Washington bureau official sent an email to Conyers aides "profusely apologizing." The Fox journalist said the network was "deeply sorry" and "mortified" by the mistake and that Fox would be issuing an on-air apology on Tuesday.

The apology was issued, and it fell short of what Conyers felt was warranted. (Click here to see footage of the apology, as shown on Talking Points Memo.)

While Conyers was clearly ticked off at the racially sensitive case of mistaken identity, we're not sure what Jefferson thought. He's still back in his district in New Orleans post-indictment and it's unclear when he'll return to Washington.

A spokeswoman for Jefferson, however, seemed perplexed by the mixup. The aide, Remi Braden-Cooper, told the Sleuth, "I had a career in television, I was a producer. It's pretty amazing to me that the wrong video could have been pulled -- by a beginner apparently -- and make it all the way to the air."

(Just to note: Ironically, Conyers' House Judiciary Committee spokeswoman, Melanie Roussell, used to be the press secretary to Congressman Jefferson.)

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 5, 2007; 4:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

big deal.

Posted by: gary | June 5, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised they didn't show video from "The Jeffersons"

Posted by: Larry | June 5, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Notice how these errors on Faux News always work to the benefit of the Reps
Last one I recall was Foley being depicted as a democrat after the House page incident

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

fox news could care less.they are in the business of selling news.they are the largest entertainment news source out there.I just hope that they truly are god fearing.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

To Fox "news," all Democrats look alike.

Posted by: mikeasr | June 5, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

If you have the apology pre-written to send as soon as the video goes up on the screen its not an apology its a cop out and its bull$#**

Posted by: will c | June 5, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, you didn't link to a clip of the on-air apology, but rather to the original clip of Conyers.

As Josh Marshall observed of the apology:

"The Fox anchor didn't note that they'd shown video of one African-American congressman (Conyers) in place of another (Jefferson). They just said they'd "mistakenly run the wrong video" with no explanation of what the mistake was. I'm not sure what an 'apology' means one way or another. But it seems like a clarification was in order that the guy they showed, Conyers, actually didn't get indicted for anything."

Here's a link to the apology on YouTube:

http://tinyurl.com/334fz7

Posted by: Swift Loris | June 5, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

'"The Fox anchor didn't note that they'd shown video of one African-American congressman (Conyers) in place of another (Jefferson). They just said they'd "mistakenly run the wrong video" with no explanation of what the mistake was.'

Amazing. I have seen so many errors on news programs showing wrong videos it is astounding. Very funny sometimes.

Lets see, if they were both white I guess Fox should have said they mistakenly run the video of one white congressman instead of another. Ooops. What if one was white and the other black?

Come on people, get a lfe.

Posted by: Robert Tulloch | June 5, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Racial issues aside it seems clear that Fox News did not do enough to clear the good name and image of congressman Conyers which it mistakenly (or not) maligned.

Posted by: grayghost | June 5, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Now that Fox won it's case allowing on-air obscenities, the least the could do is broadcast a, "Oh sh*t, we forked up!!!"

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 5, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

fox news again reveals itself for what it is: prejudiced, bigoted, insulting, ignorant, stupid, sloppy, irresponsible, unballanced, unprofessional, not a real news outlet but a divisive force in American culture and politics.

Posted by: Clinton Vickers | June 6, 2007 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Just one more example of the Fairly Unbalanced Network doing a hatchet job on a target they've been directed to by the RNC.

Posted by: otrdtr | June 6, 2007 12:33 AM | Report abuse

These are the guys that for two days ran video of intern-fondling Rep. Mark Foley with a (D) after his name.

These are the guys that started and spread the falsehood that Obama was schooled in a madrassa where he learned Islamic fundamentalism.

And Fox Noise is the station that wingnuts say the Dems should debate on, or else they're wimps.

No, they're discerning. If someone is continuing to piss on my head while telling me it's raining, they get all the respect and affirmation they deserve. Which is none.

Posted by: filmex | June 6, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Alanis?? Why is it ironic that Rep. Conyers's press secretary used to work for Rep. Jefferson?

Posted by: Anemic Coward | June 6, 2007 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I am personally offended that a neoleftist, antisemitic, white basher, never did nothin for his district, I get to serve for Life royal hineass, Misda Conyers is still in office. How a district could vote for the same congressman for decades in one of the most destitute, dismal, and otherwise down of its luck places in America, I'll never understand. You get want you deserve
Detroit.

Fort Worth

Posted by: Russ | June 6, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

I think FOX did it on purpose!

Posted by: MJ | June 6, 2007 1:36 AM | Report abuse

I suspect it was done on purpose. Greg Palast has recently given Rep. Conyers a large amount of evidence of Republican vote caging. This could lead from Tim Griffin, to Rove, to Bush. Ideal time to fix John Conyers face in people's minds as a crook if you want to discredit his investigations.

Posted by: Ian | June 6, 2007 1:46 AM | Report abuse

This is really a non-issue, no one with half a clue watches Faux News anyways. Which is funny, because Cheney has all the TVs in his hotel rooms pre-tuned to it before he gets there (not kidding). Kinda says it all, don'tcha think?

Posted by: Fred Evil | June 6, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Fox News proves its inherent racism yet again.

What's sad is that more people in the Fox News demographic aren't outraged by this, but all they see is a Black face and associate it with criminal behavior. Any Black face will do - literally.

Let's hope Senator Obama is taking notes.

Posted by: Paul Sebastian | June 6, 2007 3:52 AM | Report abuse

"This type of disrespect for people of color should no longer be tolerated,..."

If the mistake was about airing the wrong clip about a white politician, that's what it would have been. But since the politicians were black, it is now suppose to be racist? Please get off using the color of your skin as an excuse!

Posted by: Alan | June 6, 2007 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Careful, Russ from Fort Worth.

Your hood is showing.

Posted by: filmex | June 6, 2007 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Conyers has the right to be upset. Of course, all the other networks didn't make that mistake, because they barely covered the Jefferson indictment. The story isn't lingering in the Post or most other media outlets. Fox gets a lot of criticism for conservative bias, but it's one of the very few media outlets that isn't severely biased to the left. Anyone who reads Greg Palast has no ground to criticise Fox News for bias. The apology should have been better and more prominent, but it was a mistake that has nothing to do with media bias.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I really wish people would get off the idea that most MSM has a liberal bias. Do they read anything other than their GOP talking points?

Posted by: b | June 6, 2007 7:27 AM | Report abuse

As the defender of the racist, fascist GOP, Fox, of course, makes racist mistakes all the time. All blacks look alike to Rupert Murdoch's bigoted organization.

Posted by: John | June 6, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

The real story here isn't that Rep. Conyers is "miffed" at Fox. If you take Fox at its word (always a risky proposition), the main story is that Fox is by its own admission grossly incompetent.

Just like its buddies at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Posted by: BZ | June 6, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Since video files are labelled by last name, one has to wonder precisely how this mistake happened. Maybe now the Cong. Black Caucus will back away from their partnership with Fox for the planned, but farcical, Democratic debate.

Posted by: David K | June 6, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

And why, Sleuth, "miffed"? I'm "miffed" when someone chops into the Express Lane with a cart full of grocs, and I'm "miffed" when journalists choose a vocabulary to connote that a particular issue isn't really of much concern, but help readers understand why this matter is inconsequential. Hasn't Fox got a history of this kind of thing?

Posted by: David K | June 6, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps FOX News reached into their basket of videos for corrupt democrats (it would be a big basket). Let us not forget that Conyers should be under investigation from the ethics committee for gross misuse of his staff to baby sit his kids and campaign for his wife.

Also where was this outrage every time CNN screws up something on air, or are people just used to that by now?

Posted by: Abe Froman | June 6, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

"Also where was this outrage every time CNN screws up something on air, or are people just used to that by now?"

Posted by: Link, please, or shut up | June 6, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

So why is the Congressional Black Caucus still partnering with Fox news? CBC should take a principled stance and turn down the pittance money Fox is throwing in their direction. And stop the fake Democratic debate while you are at it.

Posted by: Swapan Chatterjee | June 6, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

A (probably) low ranking weenie at Fox pulls the wrong clip, it airs, and Conyers jumps at the chance to get free publicity and enhance his political status. He's still just another jerk politician who needs to step aside and get a real job. Perhaps as a lobbyist, getting rich from a more legitimate(?) source than Jefferson taking bribes. Gee I guess Jefferson, (although small potatoes in comparison) & Duke Cunningham have something in common besides both being congressmen. Perhaps they'll soon have something else in common as "inmates".

Posted by: r man | June 6, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Boy, some of you just don't get it. I guess we all look a like in the eyes of main stream America. In this contry we are cultually conditioned to underestimate, undervalue and marginalize black people, so I guess ot some of you, this isn't it big deal, because you are not the one who is marginalized on a daily basis.

Posted by: M Brown | June 6, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

par for the course for Faux News. The real crime is that the assess working there can call themselves journalists!!

Posted by: joseph | June 6, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I love how fox news started showing tons of WWII footage after support for the Iraq war got stuck in low numbers. Not so subtle attempt to stoke patriotic fervor. Today is the D-Day anniversary and Fox has been showing footage since at least Saturday.

Seriously though, it's my job to lobby both sides of the aisle, so I can usually tell when one side is getting inaccurately portrayed in the press. And without a doubt whenever I watch 30 mins of fox news I will see something that misrepresents the Dems' position or attributes the views of a fringe group to the entire party. The Olberman show on MSNBC occasionally does the same to the GOP but so mildly I have trouble comparing the two. Fox also has no qualms about reporting without fact checking (e.g. saying the shock jocks worked for CBS, Obama went to a radical Muslim school, etc.).

Posted by: ugh | June 6, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I am baffled by this mistake. If they were mixing up footage of Cheney with Himmler or Svengali, then it would be perfectly understandable...

Posted by: bjerryberg | June 6, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The difference is that Olbermann is a commentator who discloses his political opinions unabashedly, while much of the controversy Fox provokes is a result of what's aired on its supposedly impartial news program. Misleading is misleading, but it's somewhat more nefarious when no agenda is professed.

Posted by: peter | June 6, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

fox news now shows what it does with it's bed sheets when they are no longer useful for sleeping on. They cut holes in them for eyeing their racism. This is the same network that use to show those racism cartoons years again before it thought it could do real news. I am glad that Lark (fox 5 DC) is not part of that network anymore!

Posted by: Ray from DC | June 6, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Oooooh, does Conyers WATCH Fox News? The rest of the Democrat party better not find out, or he will never be invited to any debates!!

But I'm sure he only found out about the mistake when he was advised of the apology.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Conyers did what? Pleaded for the draft movement to get more afroamerifcans in the services. If that what he is po'd about? or was it because the thief from NO, LA (really la la land)has been able to freeze more money in his ice box. the politics of a do nothing congress breeds more politics of corruption (as Pelosi likes to say)esxcept this crowd has been getting away with corruption for too long. Shall we start with selling postage stamps in the congressional postoffice, or Mayor Dailey's phony election of Jack Kennedy, or even Pelosi's royal guard and free world travel to insignificant meetings?

Posted by: jake | June 6, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

For anyone miffed at the media, here's a chance to put our, er, mouths where our mouths are. Henry Rollins (former lead of Black Flag and the Rollins Band, and who now hosts a talk show on IFC) is looking for someone who can do a good "rant" and he will put them on the air on IFC (Independent Film Channel) in a big way.

Rollins will make someone who does a commentary (on one of 11 topics he's chosen) the host of an upcoming "Rollins Show" Marathon on IFC.

Go to ziddio.com/myrollinsrant and record and upload a 30-second video "rant" on one of the topics that Henry has chosen (including abortion rights, has the Iraq war made us safer? Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina, is America a dumb country? global warming, etc.) The best will be flown to Los Angeles, meet Henry, and be the host of an upcoming "Rollins Show" Marathon on IFC. All entries will be watched by, and the winner chosen solely by, Henry. He encourages anyone to enter, no matter their political persuasion.

Entries must be uploaded by July 10.

Check it out: ziddio.com/myrollinsrant

Posted by: mannyhanny | June 6, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Fox News just another name for the Inquirer?? Does anyone think they are not biased?, I mean besides Cheney. Does anyone at Fox Think? Why doesn't Rush Limbaughred (my spelling!)work for Fox???
Fox thinks NAACP stands for Nearly Always Attacking Black People! Didn't you know that???

Posted by: Pepe | June 6, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

It is not that fox did it intentionally it was just a screw-up in India. No doubt Fox just like every large corporation in this country is trying to save money by out sourcing to India. They probably have a full production staff in India that controls their stock footage. After all it is all stored digitally and they pull up what they are told to. Since they only do what they are told and do not verify if it is correct. Fox is only guilty of trying to save money and screwing up in the process.

Posted by: Jim | June 6, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Why is it racist to confuse 2 black men and an honest mistake if someone were to confuse 2 white men? What the hell is wrong with this country? Every little thing has to be a politicized issue, it is beyond ridiculous.

Posted by: Bill | June 6, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I am not suprised at all, after all Fox News man Sean Hannity was the keynote speaker for the Silver Elephant Dinner for the SC Republican Party's annual fundraiser. Fair and Balanced my foot!

Posted by: mike evatt | June 6, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

These type of mistakes are made quite frequently by this organization. How many times have you heard O'Reilly apolygize for the many errors he makes on a daily basis? He carries right on like nothing has happened. The first aim of this Fox group is to get a negative story out on anyone it suspects is a so-called Liberal. Accuracy is not a feature that has any application to Fox.

Andy

Posted by: Andy Smith | June 6, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Fox and Jefferson.... Not worth my time..... Regards, Carl W. Lundquist, Colonel, Army of the United States, (Retired) Boston

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

And people wonder why the Democrats won't debate on Faux Noise?

I hope that when Hillary is elected she bounces their reporter from the press room.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 6, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

fox Noise is not a news service. It's a right-wing neo-CON propaganda service. They also like to give you all the latest salacious stories to get ratings. sean-pawn hannity worships at the feet of drug addict comedian rush limpbrain who can down amphetamines with both hands tied behind his back and secretly lusts for ann (DRESSED IN DRAG)"colder" coulter. The network of bill orally and other cultists. The devil runs deep there.

Posted by: Bob | June 6, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

There's probably a cell out there for Conyers too.

Posted by: Philip V. Riggio | June 6, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Russ - Living in Ft Worth, just how are you so up on Detroit politics and what a congressman from there is or isn't doing. I guess all "democrats" look alike. Idiot

Posted by: You Make Me Laugh | June 6, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

If Conyers and Jefferson actually resembled each other, the FOX apologists might have a leg to stand on, but they don't.

Posted by: Podesta | June 7, 2007 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned the Black Caucus and the Fox debate issue. The thing I most love about this election are the significant blunders occurring which are blatant with disdain for the black american.

Hillary is exposing her true sleeziness. Giuliani is finally being put to task for his lack of skills on 9-11, and others are making mistakes which show how far this country should have come in the past 40 years.

Thanks Slueth for writing this article. You did the right thing. This is a major blunder for FOX. If the Black Caucus still wants to be dumb enough to allow Fox to host a debate for them, then they are allowing the step-over by the likes of Rupert Murdoch. They as well as so many other elected politicians are not electing their constituents.

Posted by: scheduler | June 7, 2007 4:33 AM | Report abuse

It is time the print media stop referring to Fox 'News' Network as anything more than the Republican Propaganda Network.

Posted by: Crempole Stalwart | June 7, 2007 6:01 AM | Report abuse

Bob, I'd be curious if you know when the last time Fox "accidently" mixed up two white men, one of whom was the subject of indictments?

Duke Cunningham and Patrick Leahy?
Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney?
See, they don't look alike, right?
NEITHER DO CONYERS AND JEFFERSON! Gad.

Posted by: Jan | June 7, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

The issue with FOX is that it consistently makes mistakes that benefit Republicans and hurt Democrats. If you make 10 mistakes and they benefit only 1 side, it is no mistake. Libby-not guilty, Foley-D, and Jefferson=Conyers, are only a few examples. When do they make mistakes that hurt republicans? And wont dont CNNABCNBCBSMSNBC consistently make these mistakes? Fox news knows what it is doing.

Posted by: LFoD | June 7, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

This article is hardly worth a mention. At least Fox news reports, unlike the new york times that hid the incident at JFK airport on page 37. The bias in all media is producing either wrong info or not reporting at all. Check the news with all networks then check the bloggers, maybe just maybe you will get true facts.

Posted by: floridagirl | June 7, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps that is because the so called terrorist was, like a homeless stoner. Like totally dude.

Posted by: LFoD | June 7, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it - most white folks think that all black folks look alike. They are incapable of distinguishing one person of color from another when they come from non-white ethnic groups.

Posted by: Leath | June 7, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

You mean they don't all look alike?

Posted by: CommonPhiladelphiaStreetJew | June 7, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

FOX NEW'S IS AS A NEW;S CHANEL' AS
BUSH IS A PRESIDENT] NEVER IN MY
LIFE-TIME HAVE I SEEN A BUNCH OF IDOT' GET TO GETHER AS IN THE WHITE-
HOUSE AND AT FOX NEW'S THE NUT THAT
TRYED TO PLAY WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON
JUST SHOW HOW STUUPID FOX IS'''

Posted by: clovis simpkins | June 7, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Conyers has a good name? He has repeatedly violated House ethics rules according to his own former staff members, and he acknowledged this just last December.

Posted by: Jim | June 7, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey floridagirl, If you actually read the NYT instead of listening to that liar Bill O'Reilly, who only showed the top half of the front page of the paper, you'd realize there was a story about JFK on the bottom half of the front page of the very paper he was holding.

But, that's okay. Go on drinking the koolaid. Billo makes even more mistakes that Fox.

Posted by: lurkitty | June 7, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Another so called FOX NEWS slip up. I'm still pissed when they mistakenly called Bush a liberal.

Posted by: Sonofabastard | June 7, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

FloridaGirl: before quoting O'Reilly try fact-checking first. While the full story was inside the NYT, it was not "hidden" the Times had had a teaser for it on the front page.

Posted by: Silver Spring | June 7, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

How in the world could anyone be surprised by the right-wing leanings of "Fox" News is beyond me. fox news will go to any length to portray Americans (Democrats) as less than worthy in their values as well as in their ethical behavior.

Posted by: Joe R. | June 7, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Fox ≠ News. Need I say more?

Posted by: Lori | June 8, 2007 11:00 AM | Report abuse

It was not a mistake. Fox News did it on purpose. Last September, as the Foley scandal was developing, Fox showed a picture of Foley with a D-Fl. underneath.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 9, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

No surprise here. Fox News is the public relation networt for the Republican Party and means to push its divisive nad bigoted ideas and lies. Dick Cheney loves it, so why are we surpirised that they will do something like that.They don't give us news, they give us opinions. They are the trash of journalism. Bagdad Bob" got his lessons from Fox.

Posted by: Gus | June 10, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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