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With the nation in the throes of a government shutdown, Kooiman reported about President Obama's alleged offer to pay out of his own pocket to keep a Jackson, Miss. museum of Muslim culture open. That "fact" was included in a news item about the Republican National Committee offering to step up to pay to keep the World War II Memorial open so that veterans and others may visit the site that had been closed because of the government shutdown caused by, well...that's not the point. Kooiman's story, according to accounts by the Media Matters, Gawker and mediabistro.com TV Newser Web sites, follows:
"The Republican National Committee is offering to pay for it to keep it open so that the veterans from Honor Flight are going to be able to go to see this because who did it honor? It really doesn't seem fair, especially--and we're going to talk a little bit later in the show too about some things that are continuing to be funded. And President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture out of his own pocket, yet it's the Republican National Committee who's paying for this."
Setting aside for a moment that this spoken passage should be taken out and shot and was purportedly uttered by a professionally trained journalist and not someone whose medications have yet to be adjusted, or that it seems to suggest that President Obama ought to consider personally funding the continued operation of the WWII Memorial, the more immediate problems with the story are:
- President Obama made no such offer;
- There is no International Museum of Muslim Cultures in Jackson, Miss.;
- If such a museum existed, it wouldn't be government-run;
- The source of the news item was a satirical Web site, The National Report.
Kooiman issued the following contrite tweet: "Just met w producers--I made a mistake yday after receiving flawed research abt a museum possibly closing. My apologies. Won't happen again."
Not a terribly detailed mea culpa, and makes the error-free staff of "TUOL" wonder if Kooiman was using shortcuts to stay within Twitter's140-character limit or believes yday and abt are actual words. What "TUOL" doesn't doubt is that such a gaffe will happen again because many of the Fox staffers, and certainly disciples of Fox News, want such a news story to be true to the point of willing it true, if it isn't. No red flags were raised by the item, because many Fox viewers believe the President is a practicing Muslim anyway.
"We report, you decide," is the motto of Fox News. Thanks, don't mind if we do.