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Jess Levin (202) 772-8162

Fox News Caught in a Smear: Media Matters Calls for Accountability Following Shameful Omission During ACORN Reports

WASHINGTON - Today, Media Matters for America highlighted the fact that Fox News
repeatedly broadcast and promoted a shocking but entirely fictitious claim made
by San Bernardino ACORN employee Tresa Kaelke that she murdered her former

Media Matters also
released a video of its own,
titled, "Caught
in a Smear,"
which can be viewed here.

is journalistic malpractice, plain and simple,"
said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters. "A reporter right out of J-school would have taken the
two minutes necessary to call the San Bernardino Police Department and verify
Ms. Kaelke's
statements. But that never occurred to anyone at Fox News before the network
ran with the story. This kind of shameful work raises serious questions about
the legitimacy of the entire campaign currently being waged against ACORN."


On September 15, Fox News' Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity both
broadcast Tresa Kaelke's assertion, recorded on a hidden
camera, that she had killed a former husband.

Both made a point of highlighting the statement. On
the September 15 edition of his show, Beck played the clip and then said, "She never spanked her kids,
but she did shoot her husband dead." Later that night, Hannity played the
same clip before adding, "Specifically, now, she goes into this scenario
about her husband and the killing of him."

The following morning, on September 16, Fox News' Gretchen
Carlson repeated the allegation,
saying, "She killed somebody? Despite this, some lawmakers want to keep
funding the group." She later claimed that the husband was still
alive, "according to ACORN."

However, the San Bernardino Police Department itself
has now confirmed that Kaelke's
claim was untrue. A department statement
released on September 15 reads:

San Bernardino Police Department is investigating the claims made regarding the
homicide. From the initial investigation conducted, the claims do not appear to
be factual. Investigators have been in contact with the involved party's known former
husbands, who are alive and well."

Furthermore, Kaelke has said that when she made the claim, she was
seeking to deliberately mislead the undercover videographers, Hannah Giles and
James O'Keefe, of whom she was suspicious.

were not believable,"
Kaelke is quoted as saying in an
ACORN press release
. "Somewhat entertaining, but they weren't even good actors. I didn't know what to make of
them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking

remarks have thus far been largely ignored by Fox News.


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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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