The New Republic has an article about the Dan Rather dustup in which Telis Demos claims the following,
If this last offense sounds familiar, it’s because the right-wing media does it all the time. In February 2004, for instance, Fox News broadcasters Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, and John Gibson all showed a photo of John Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda on a podium at an anti-Vietnam War rally in the 1970s. It turns out the photo was fake. Did hordes of media critics demand retractions from Hume, Hannity, and Gibson? Of course not. As a result, it seems likely that plenty of voters continue to believe the picture was real.
Did this really happen, though? I searched through all of the transcripts of Fox News programs on Lexis and I couldn’t find any time when this faked picture was shown as if it were real. The photo was definitely shown on Fox News by Brit Hume, but not in the context that Demos claims. On February 15, 2004, Chris Wallace discussed the photo on Fox News Sunday,
WALLACE: Juan mentions that there was dirt being loaded on John Kerry. It was also being loaded on him about his opposition to the war in Vietnam after he came back as a war hero.
And I want to show you some fascinating pictures. Let’s put up the first one, if we can. There is a picture of Jane Fonda, a famous anti-war activist, in the foreground. And way back in the back, fuzzy, no sign that they were anywhere close together — and I must say, two years before Jane Fonda actually went to Hanoi and became Hanoi Jane — at a rally.
WALLACE: And this was put out as some indication that they were in lock step.
And then, when that sort of fell flat, another picture was seen on the Internet showing, well, they’re not now far apart, they’re actually right together on the podium, John Kerry and Jane Fonda. There is only one problem with that picture, it was a fake. Jane Fonda was digitally added. The photo agency that owns the picture says this is the original, John Kerry by himself.
Ceci, I guess the question is, with the length of this campaign — it looks now we could be talking about eight months between Kerry and George W. Bush — and all the things, either rumors or bogus pictures that could be circulated on the Internet, are we headed for something we’ve never seen before?
I found one example where Hannity mentioned a photo on his show (not with Brit Hume, though) where it was unclear which photo Hannity was referring too, though I suspect it was the photo of Kerry sitting several rows back at an event where Fonda spoke. But the only time the fake photo is mentioned on Brit Hume’s show that I could find is to dismiss it as a fake.
Demos isn’t very helpful since he just says “February 2004.” Does anyone else know if Fox ran the photo as real (if they did, it would be interesting to track how long it took them to acknowledge the fact that it was fake).
Forge Ahead. Telis Demos, New Republic, September 15, 2004.