SBD/September 20, 2011/Media

Fox Admits Headlines Used In Segment On Bears' Jay Cutler Were "Misleading"

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Fox admitted Cutler headlines from season opener were "fabrications"
Fox Sports VP/Communications Dan Bell acknowledged that newspaper headlines shown as part of piece that aired during the Sept. 11 Falcons-Bears game concerning the injury Bears QB Jay Cutler suffered during the NFL Championship Game "were fabrications,” according to Jim Romenesko of POYNTER.org. Bell said, “It was misleading.” The net during the game “flashed three newspaper headlines across the screen," and announcer Daryl Johnston "told viewers that ‘these are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago.’" However, the Chicago Tribune sports department "didn’t buy it and started an investigation.” The Fox graphics read, “Cutler Leaves With Injury,” “Cutler Lacks Courage,” and “Cutler’s No Leader.” The Tribune Sunday ran an article under the header: “Fox Sports: ‘Misleading.’” The article read, “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.” Bell said, “The wrong word was used. Our attempt was to capture the overall sentiment nationwide following that game” (POYNTER.org, 9/19).

EASY TARGET? WSCR-AM's Matt Spiegel noted Fox’ Joe Buck and Troy Aikman during Sunday's Saints-Bears game discussed Cutler displaying his frustrations on the sideline by standing off away from the bench and throwing a towel. Spiegel said, “I don’t even know that I blame Fox as much. This storyline has been created, it’s there, so they’re just doing the lazy TV. ... Joe Buck brings it up in kind of the ‘I’m not saying, I’m just saying’ way, where he doesn’t really lay into Jay, but he brings it up like, ‘Well, people have talked about it, what do you think?’ And Aikman had to defend him. Aikman at one point said, ‘That’s where I would be standing too, is down there, so I can actually watch the game, Joe.’ But Joe just kind of lays it up there, like maybe the fans will bite on that” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 9/19).
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