Chicago Tribune: Fox Sports’ ‘actual headlines’ were fabricated

Chicago Tribune
During the Sept. 11 Bears-Falcons season opener, Fox Sports flashed three newspaper headlines across the screen:

Cutler Leaves With Injury
Cutler Lacks Courage
Cutler’s No Leader

Announcer Daryl Johnston told viewers that “these are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago”; the Tribune sports staff didn’t buy it and started an investigation.

We searched throughout Illinois newspapers for those headlines — Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily Herald, every other paper in the state. What did we find?

Nothing.

In fact, we could not find any such headlines in any newspaper in the United States.

So, we called Fox to get an explanation.

Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell acknowledged to the Tribune that the headlines shown were fabrications. “It was misleading,” he admitted. (Because the Chicago Tribune graphic is hard to read, I’ve posted the entire story after the jump.)

FOX SPORTS: “MISLEADING”

During the fourth quarter of the Bears-Falcons season opener, Fox turned its attention to Jay Cutler. Announcers Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston — known as “Moose” during his playing days — addressed Cutler’s injury in the NFC championship game against Green Bay, including questions and criticism that arose concerning the nature of his injury and his toughness. The broadcast then flashed three “newspaper” headlines across the screen:

Cutler Leaves With Injury
Cutler Lacks Courage
Cutler’s No Leader

For good measure, Johnson said on air: “These are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago.”

The whole production rang false to us. The headlines didn’t look real. The language used in them was off. And since we know that most Chicago media had defended Cutler, we looked into it. We searched throughout Illinois newspapers for those headlines — Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily Herald, every other paper in the state. What did we find?

Nothing.

In fact, we could not find any such headlines in any newspaper in the United States.

So, we called Fox to get an explanation. Finally, late Friday, they called back.

“The wrong word was used,” said Dan Bell, Fox Sports spokesman. “Our attempt was to capture the overall sentiment nationwide following that game.”

That “sentiment” and the harshest criticism of Cutler came largely from fellow NFL players. If Fox had taken no more than a half hour to do a little research, they would have found Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew’s tweet that questioned Cutler’s toughness: “All I’m saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee … I played the whole season on one.” Fox Sport has a lucrative deal with the NFL. Perhaps they decided it was easier to pin the criticism on some fictitious newspaper headlines. Or maybe that’s just our “sentiment.”

Bell acknowledged that the “headlines” shown were fabrications. “It was misleading,” he said.

Thanks, Fox. You can use this headline for today’s Bears-Saints game. It’s all yours.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1793199687 Billy Burke

    and i bet fox news corruption goes much deeper in the US goverment that we will never know because of the wink wink nod nod type of deals that happen at congress and after their terms are up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1793199687 Billy Burke

    ““Our attempt was to capture the overall sentiment nationwide following that game.”

    No it wasn’t, it was to create a fake story you could make money off of. Fox does it all the time, im bothered that any news origination does it, but it seems common practice now, even among  local media. Its like they prime the pump knowing how fans will respond. Couple of stories and you have a full blown case of “fire the coach because he lost the locker room bs”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EOCYKMIQQVP565THMYG5YBWEZY Chris J.

    Fox sports media intentionally created an atmosphere. Intentionally making sure they have something to throw under a bus. Will they start paying players to intentionally hurt a player they will have a story. Light a monk so we can get a picture of him burning.  Why don’t these retired jocks open restaurants, sell cars, we could do with less of these  meat head “analysts”

  • Anonymous

    People are surprised about this? The Sun, The Mirror and The News Of The World (they were the 3 biggest daily newspapers in the UK – and all belonging to the same parent company as Fox…) have been doing this for years – decades even, since even before mobile phones were discovered to be hackable!!
    my favourite must have been the London Bus discovered on the moon as front page headlines in the late 80′s….

  • Anonymous

    People are surprised about this? The Sun, The Mirror and The News Of The World (they were the 3 biggest daily newspapers in the UK) have been doing this for years – decades even, since even before mobile phones were discovered to be hackable!!
    my favourite must have been the London Bus discovered on the moon as front page headlines in the late 80′s….

  • http://profiles.google.com/rp509855 Rod Paul

    I wouldn’t be shocked to learn ‘Moose’ simply declared they were actual headlines without a clue as to whether they were or not. The guy is out of his element the instant he talks about anything not happening right in front of him on the field.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y7NPF4YVV42V2EZSFJPXNSQRRI T. C.

    I’m shocked… SHOCKED! I say… to find that fabrication is going on at Fox.

  • http://twitter.com/Dushan41 Daniel Fajardo

    Hey! What do you expect from FauxTV? These guys are dunderheads just like the rest of the crew over at their Fox Propaganda Show. Look at the owners today. The father, the son, they all are in deep doodoo for hacking the privacy of people. This is what Fox is all about. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1641864257 Bill Hoban

    There’s a difference between misleading and a blatant lie … Fox Sports is apparently as factually challenged as its news division …  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marc-Levy/1332321421 Marc Levy

    Misleading? “These are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago,” said Fox Sports anchors, showing fake headlines they’d just had made up. Since it seems odd they’d go out of their way to show fake headlines and say they were “actual,” I’m going to go ahead and guess that this isn’t misleading; it’s what normal people call a lie.

    It’s like someone greeting you by saying, “This is my actual hair!”