Flickr photo by miemoA new series on Fox News hosted by Sarah Palin -- Real American Stories -- premiered last night. Articles posted online on Tuesday, from the Chicago Tribune to the Huffington Post, indicated that the show's premiere would include celebrity guests Toby Keith, Jack Welch, and LL Cool J.
When LL Cool J saw that, he wasn't pleased -- and he tweeted to set the record straight:
"Fox lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else & are misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palins Show. WOW"
Sarah Palin did not interview LL Cool J. In fact, none of these celebrity guests -- Keith, Welch, or LL -- were interviewed by Palin. Fox had interview footage of them and planned to use it in a segment of the show.
Having been challenged by the rapper and actor, Fox issued a snarky statement announcing that they'd cut LL Cool J's interview from the show since he "does not want to be associated with a program that could serve as an inspiration to others." LL's representative responded with far more class than Fox:
"This statement is not a reflection of any feelings LL has toward Fox News or Ms. Palin, whom he has never met, rather a clarification of what we have seen published in the media."
Meanwhile, Toby Keith hasn't tweeted about the matter, but his rep noted that Keith hadn't been contacted by Fox regarding use of the footage either.
Maybe Fox didn't have to obtain permission from the interview subjects or even notify them that the footage was being used, but that's not the point. The real issue here is that Fox misrepresented the content of the program. They tried to generate more hype for the show -- which sounded about as compelling as an after-school special anyway -- by including pop culture figures who might draw a larger audience beyond the age 55-64 bracket.
C'mon Fox. Own up to your mistake instead of denigrating the folks you leveraged for your own benefit.