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Should FNC Producer Shoulder the Blame For Rallying 9/12 Crowd?

Over the weekend another angle of the 9/12 rally story emerged. It involved a Fox News associate producer caught on video, rallying the crowd.

Friday evening Media Matters aired a clip of “behind the scenes footage” of the staffer whipping up the crowd during a Griff Jenkins live shot. By Saturday afternoon the clip made the rounds to other blogs, and late Saturday night, Huffington Post had written about it, using a second angle of the video and adding that Fox News had “disciplined” the producer. Then Sunday morning, Howard Kurtz talked about it on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” using the HuffPo clip.

“Call me old-fashioned,” said Kurtz, “I don’t think a producer should be whipping up the crowd. If Glenn Beck wants to be a cheerleader for conservative protests, fine, but what you just saw amounts to choreographing the story to get people hollering.”

But we’ve seen this before. It’s fairly common at large political events, where crowds gather to watch the news coverage, that a stage manager or producer is there to get the crowd going. And if you watch the clip below, it doesn’t look like the crowd needed much whipping up.

On 9/12/09, Fox News had essentially ceded two hours of news coverage to the Beck program, which they maintain is not ‘news’ programming. Insiders, one of whom shot one of the videos, tell us the Fox A.P. had been getting the crowd going several times that afternoon. So, does this make it any better, that she was doing it during ‘non-news’ hours? And if not, should someone higher up shoulder some of the blame?

> More: Mediaite has an internal FNC email about the 9/12 coverage: “We do not cheerlead for one cause or another. We do not rile up a crowd.”

> More, More: CNN’s Rick Sanchez calls out Fox News, again, for the incident… (video after the jump)


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