On Monday night, Fox News aired a news alert about President Trump’s withdrawal of the Philadelphia Eagles’ White House invitation that featured a pretty glaring misrepresentation. As the anchor read a statement from Trump explaining that he had canceled the team’s trip for reasons relating to national anthem protests, the screen flashed photos of Eagles players kneeling in the end zone. Except that the players in the photos were not actually demonstrating during the national anthem. They were praying, long before the game.
Here’s the clip:
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 5, 2018
Video of the segment began to circulate Monday morning, and soon outrage swelled. Eagles players Zach Ertz and Chris Long were among the first Tuesday morning to call out the misrepresentation.
This can’t be serious…. Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this… https://t.co/kYeyH2zXdK
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 5, 2018
Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame. Not one Eagles player knelt for the anthem this yr. Keep carrying his water to sow division while misrepresenting Christian men. Aren’t many of your viewers.. nevermind https://t.co/QdlOvL0btq
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) June 5, 2018
Numerous media members quickly jumped on Fox News as well, calling the segment “dishonest” and “deliberately misleading.”
Very dishonest pics here. Fox passing off guys praying as if they were kneeling. Just crazy man https://t.co/lzfp4Yl9MZ
— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) June 5, 2018
The Eagles pictured here are NOT protesting. They’re PRAYING. https://t.co/eiYsuBefqV
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) June 5, 2018
Why is there no accountability for deliberate misrepresentation from those in charge? This kind of act undermines the credibility of all media. https://t.co/jHnvFss7oM
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) June 5, 2018
I think today, all Eagles fans understand what @FoxNews really is. When you tell people this network lies about politics, some people just shrug. But when Eagles fans see a photo of @ZERTZ_86 praying, passed off as a player kneeling during the anthem — people can grasp that.
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) June 5, 2018
This is insanity. Those pictures are deliberately misleading the public. They are praying and it is not during the anthem!!! https://t.co/ygFBKA2FLM
— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) June 5, 2018
Eagles players DID NOT kneel during the anthem last season. Using this image in this context is "fake news," which, when I grew up, was known as LYING, which I was also taught was wrong. I assume that NFL execs this morning are quickly reaching out to Fox News for a clarification pic.twitter.com/FRbDocKxtN
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) June 5, 2018
In a statement issued to USA Today, Fox News apologized for its error and clarified that the footage it aired of players praying was “unrelated” to the story on-screen.
— Tom Schad (@Tom_Schad) June 5, 2018
Fox’s controversial segment aired hours after Trump announced he was cancelling the Eagles’ trip to the White House because the team planned to send a small delegation (reportedly five of fewer players). In a statement, Trump said the Eagles’ lack of enthusiasm about their White House visit owed to a disagreement over whether players should stand for the national anthem, but multiple of those players said that had nothing to do with it — noting that no Eagles had actually knelt during the anthem last season.