Typos are a fact of television news life. But they rarely get more egregious than this.
“TRUMP CUTS AID TO 3 MEXICAN COUNTRIES” read the banner on “Fox & Friends Weekend” right after the show started at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
Three Mexican countries?! Whoever wrote the graphic obviously meant “three Central American countries.” The co-hosts reported it accurately. But the graphic was an embarrassment.
Several hours later, after the error went viral on social media, co-host Ed Henry addressed it and said “we apologize for the error — it never should’ve happened.”
The laughs at Fox’s expense lasted all day. But there wasn’t just laughter — there was serious criticism as well. Some of Fox’s detractors said the error was emblematic of ignorance, and worse, on the network’s right-wing talk shows. They pointed out that President Donald Trump treats the show as an informal intelligence briefing.
Adam Serwer, a staff writer for The Atlantic, tweeted that “this is less an error than an expression of Fox News’ underlying sentiment towards most Latinos.”
RAICES, a group that provides immigrants with legal services, called it “a new low for Fox News, when we thought they couldn’t go lower.”
Numerous journalists suggested that “Fox & Friends Weekend” needs a more diverse staff.
The more sympathetic view? It was hard to find on social media, but it boiled down to this: A sleep-deprived producer must have slipped up.
The underlying story was about the Trump administration’s move to cut off US aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
Trump said Friday that “we’re not paying them anymore” because “they haven’t done a thing for us.”
“They set up these caravans,” he added, in a reference to groups of migrants that have traveled north toward the US.
A Twitter account that calls out Fox mistakes, @BadFoxGraphics, was one of the first to notice the “3 MEXICAN COUNTRIES” chyron.
In the 9 a.m. hour of the show, Henry said “we want to clarify and correct something that happened earlier.”
He said “we had an inaccurate graphic onscreen while taking about this very story. We just want to be clear, the funding is being cut off to the three Central American countries. We apologize for the error — it never should’ve happened.”
Later in the day, Henry’s co-host Jedediah Bila posted, and then deleted, a tweet that seemed to shrug off the mistake.
Then she posted a message that said “It was a chyron error, which Ed corrected and apologized for on air. Maybe listen to what Pete actually said while the chyron error was up? Of course I realize this is all click-bait nonsense, but come on already.”