Fox News Found in "Serious Breach" of U.K. TV Code After Pundit's Muslim City Claim
A commentator on Jeanine Pirro's show said following the 'Charlie Hebdo' attack that the city of Birmingham was "totally Muslim."
U.K. media regulator Ofcom has found comments made by a pundit on Fox News in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year to be in "serious breach" of the British broadcasting code.
In an interview during an episode of Jeanine Pirro-hosted Justice With Judge Jeanine that aired on Jan. 11, terrorism expert Steve Emerson described the British city of Birmingham as "totally Muslim," calling it a place "where non-Muslims just simply don't go in."
The claim was met with instant ridicule on social media in the U.K. Even Prime Minister David Cameron got involved, saying that Emerson was "clearly an idiot" and that he had "choked on his porridge." Fox News later apologized for its "serious factual error," while Emerson himself stated he had made a "terrible error."
But Ofcom was less jovial in its response. The regulator said Monday that the comment caused Fox News to be in "serious breach for a current affairs program" and had "presented the audience with materially misleading facts."
Following the Ofcom report, a spokesperson for Fox News told The Guardian that the episode of Justice With Jeanine Pirro was "materially misleading and could have caused harm and offense to its viewers." The representative added: "Fox News broadcast two subsequent apologies, but this was a serious breach for a current affairs program.”