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In the latest episode of President Trump vs. The NFL, the president disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a White House visit because of what the president claimed was the Eagles’ history of “disrespectful” protests. Fox News chimed in with a report on the story, supplemented with images of Eagles players. There was just one problem: the Fox News report painted a highly inaccurate picture of the Eagles, presenting prayer as protest. (UPDATE: Fox News has apologized, see below.)
Fox News began its report by showing several images of several Eagles players kneeling; the images of players kneeling during the anthem helped stoke anti-protest rage last season:
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 5, 2018
But Fox News’s report had a major problem: the players it depicted were kneeling in prayer, not protest. Tight end Zach Ertz, one of the players depicted, took to Twitter to blast Fox News for its inaccuracy:
This can’t be serious…. Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this… https://t.co/kYeyH2zXdK
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 5, 2018
“This can’t be serious,” Ertz wrote. “Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this…”
No players on the Eagles knelt or remained in the locker room during the 2017 season or the playoffs, despite what the president implied in his tweet rescinding the Eagles’ invitation:
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
The term “fake news” gets thrown around an awful lot, often by people who use it to discredit factual news reports that paint them in an unflattering light. But when Fox News shows images of players kneeling in prayer, and tries to pass off prayer as “protest,” that’s the very definition of fake news.
Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame. Not one Eagles player knelt for the anthem this yr. Keep carrying his water to sow division while misrepresenting Christian men. Aren’t many of your viewers.. nevermind https://t.co/QdlOvL0btq
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) June 5, 2018
UPDATE: Fox News has apologized. “During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer,” said Christopher Wallace, Executive Producer of Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream in a statement. “To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.”
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