‘Is 18 Minutes Enough Time for a Subject to Comment?’

Erik Wemple at The Washington Post: “One line in Bloomberg News’ Wednesday story about the ongoing lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems v. Fox News was unimpeachable: ‘Fox … didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the filing. ‘Immediately,’ in this case, meant 18 minutes, according to a Fox News spokesperson.”

“That’s how long Bloomberg News reporter Erik Larson gave Fox News to comment for an article alleging that Dominion ‘said some executives and hosts at the network still haven’t handed over any records related to its coverage.’ The headline: ‘Fox Executives in $1.6 Billion Lawsuit Haven’t Handed Over Records, Dominion Says.’ Larson cited a July 18 court filing for the scoop.”

“As it turned out, that July 18 filing was actually the public version of a document filed a month earlier on June 17 relating to a discovery dispute between the two parties. Fox News secured an extension until July 1 to turn over certain documents. After Larson’s initial story was published, Fox News told Bloomberg News that it had met that deadline. Had Bloomberg waited for that comment, it would have avoided some trouble. ‘Eighteen minutes doesn’t sound like fair to me even in this day and age,’ says Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Post.”