Fox News objects it wasn’t given chance by AP to respond to story on discrimination lawsuit

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fox News objects to AP story on lawsuit

WASHINGTON — Fox News Network objected Friday that it wasn’t given an opportunity to comment on a discrimination lawsuit filed against the network by the federal government before The Associated Press published its initial story on the federal action.

The AP distributed a five-paragraph article Thursday reporting that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was suing the network for allegedly retaliating against one of its reporters who made accusations of age and sex discriminations.

That initial AP story did not include Fox News comment. The AP made a number of attempts by telephone to reach a Fox News spokesperson with several of the calls reaching voicemail.

It is AP’s routine practice not to delay reporting news just because a source cannot immediately be reached for comment. The AP continued seeking comment from Fox by e-mail.

Shortly after the story appeared, Fox News spokeswoman Dana Klinghoffer said that it shouldn’t have published without comment from the news channel. When an AP editor asked her for a comment to be included in an updated version, the spokeswoman refused, saying it was being given to a competing media outlet and AP could get it from them.

The updated AP story, distributed about 90 minutes after the original version, included the statement that Fox News was refusing to comment.

On Friday, Klinghoffer demanded a correction to the Thursday story, maintaining the AP incorrectly stated that Fox News declined to comment. But the network still refused to provide the AP with its statement on the lawsuit, referring the AP to a statement given to Politico.

In the statement to Politico, Dianne Brandi, Fox News’ executive vice president for legal and business affairs, questioned the timing of the EEOC lawsuit. She called the agency’s press release “nothing more than a partisan statement about a politically motivated lawsuit.” She said an internal Fox News investigation found the reporter’s allegations “to be baseless.”

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