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Fox News apologizes for on-screen gaffe saying ‘Trump cuts U.S. aid to 3 Mexican countries’

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Co-hosts Ed Henry, Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth on Sunday’s edition of “Fox & Friends”
(@FoxBadGraphics)

The Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” is known to be a favorite of President Trump, who often tweets information or opinions he gleans from its hosts.

So a major gaffe in an on-screen graphic about the president’s southern border policy announcement at the start of the Sunday edition of the program got plenty of social media attention.

“Trump Cuts U.S. Aid to 3 Mexican Countries” came up on the lower third of the screen as the three weekend hosts Ed Henry, Jedediah Bila and Pete Hegseth discussed the president’s call to cut U.S. assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Hegseth accurately named the countries in his description of Trump’s decision to punish them unless they stem the flow of citizens fleeing north to the U.S. border. The president has also said he plans to shut the southern border with Mexico, a threat he has repeatedly made in his rhetoric over illegal immigration.

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Henry corrected the graphics error later in the program.

“Now we want to clarify and correct something that happened earlier in the show,” Henry said. “We had an inaccurate graphic onscreen while talking 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.”

But by that time, the erroneous line circulated widely on social media and became fodder for liberal critics to attack the channel, whose commentators are often ardent supporters of Trump and his policies.

The Twitter account @BadFoxGraphics — which is devoted to citing mistakes on the network — got the ball rolling with a screen shot and a tweet that said, “How stupid is @Fox&Friends.” Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas piled on, tweeting, “It’s not just stupid. It’s more evidence of the bone crushing racism that pervades @foxnews.”

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Adam Serwer, a writer for the Atlantic, tweeted: “This is less an error than an expression of Fox News’ underlying sentiment towards most Latinos.”

Eventually Bila responded to the criticism on her Twitter account, noting that the error occurred in the control room where the misinformation was inputted into the chyron machine used to create the on-screen banners. Such tasks are usually handled by junior production staff members, especially on a shift that began in the wee hours of a Sunday morning.

“It was a chyron error, which Ed corrected and apologized for on air,” Bila wrote. “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.”

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio


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