Fox News says California's deficit is "projected" to hit $28 billion.
If these were the Schwarzenegger years, or even if it was last year, Fox might have been right. But the outlet appears to be wrong. Very wrong.
So much so that Gil Duran, spokesman for Governor Jerry Brown, is calling on the network to fix its story.
Good luck with that:
Duran sent Fox two letters, forwarded to the Weekly (below), asking it to "please correct the record immediately."
The press secretary also has a problem with Fox's ...
... misleading claims about Proposition 30. Specifically, the story says that "families making over $250,000" will have their income taxes increased. But for families that file jointly, there would be no tax increase unless they made $500,000.
He even tweeted at Rupert Murdoch, chair of Fox parent News Corp. and reported suitor of the Los Angeles Times, asking for help:
— gil duran (@gilduran76) December 27, 2012
For the record, the deficit is estimated to be about $1.9 billion which, the Sacramento Bee notes, is "significantly smaller than in recent years" thanks to some economic recovery and the Proposition 30 tax increase.
Fox is notorious for being hard on Democrats like Jerry Brown (the Schwarzenegger years saw gargantuan deficits, though he often blamed a do-nothing Democratic state legislature). Perhaps it's just as noteworthy for getting things wrong.
Fox's headline said the entire school's staff was fired. It was not. (And, as far as we can tell, it never corrected the story).
That's probably what the governor's office can look forward to in this case, too.
[Duran's campaign to get Fox to correct its piece was first reported by jimromenesko.com].
Here are Duran's email letters:
Your story on California has some major and obvious errors.
First, the story states that California has a $28 billion deficit. This is completely false and is already being mocked by California reporters on Twitter. Please correct the record immediately.
The story also makes misleading claims about Proposition 30. Specifically, the story says that "families making over $250,000" will have their income taxes increased. But for families that file jointly, there would be no tax increase unless they made $500,000.
In general, the article simply rehashes arguments from obscure columnists whose opinions are contradicted by all available data. But these two major errors merit immediate correction.
Please correct the record.
Office of the Governor
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Dear Fox News,
I am following up on the message I sent earlier this week. This story contains an absolute falsehood. It contains a claim that is refuted by all existing evidence. In fact, this error was brought to my attention by a journalist who read the story and was shocked by the inaccuracy. I have made a good faith attempt to have the record corrected via the means provided on your website. However, this seems insufficient.
For more than five days now, this completely inaccurate piece has been on your website. It was featured on the Drudge Report and was the top trending story on your site. And it contains a major error. It is unethical to refuse to make a necessary correction. Please correct the record.
[Update at 11:55 a.m. Friday]: Wow. Fox actually issued an "editor's note" saying that it "misstated" California's latest deficit projections. The story's $28 billion number has been amended to the $1.9 billion we noted. It also fixes its claim that "families" with $250,000 annual incomes would be hit with tax increases. The story now says "individuals."