February 23, 2017
Fox News misrepresented the context surrounding a St. Joseph's University professor's comments about Donald Trump's presidential victory in the cable news outlet's "Watters' World" segment, according to the school.
In a statement to the school's student newspaper, the university said Fox left out details about the remarks that were recorded and published on a conservative website.
CampusReform.com first published the audio of David Parry, chair of communication studies, speaking at a Nov. 10 event on campus about the election results.
In the audio, Parry says that as someone with liberal values, he's "not sympathetic" toward white voters who make more than $50,000 a year and voted for Trump, and that those in attendance shouldn't "open their hearts" to those voters. He says as a "white dude" who has "power," he's not going to tell the women and students of color in attendance how to feel about Trump's win.
Parry also says in the recording that Trump's election was an "act of violence," and that "people are going to die because of what happened."
Fox News' Jesse Watters followed up on the recording by visiting St. Joe's and asking students about it. In previewing the segment, which aired Saturday, Watters says that Parry "is in charge of teaching future journalists," and that the professor used his platform "in the classroom" to attack Trump.
At the end of the segment, Watters tries confronting Parry on campus, calling his comments "irresponsible" things in the classroom. Parry declines to be interviewed and walks away.
Parry doesn't teach journalism classes, and the event he was speaking at was a pre-planned post-election forum that featured other speakers, not one of Parry's classes, according to The Hawk Newspaper editor Ana Faguy.
The school provided that context to Fox News when reached for comment before the segment aired. Fox didn't include the information in its report, a school spokesperson told The Hawk.
Even within Watters' segment, Watters misrepresents Parry's statements. Speaking to one student, Watters claims Parry said, "Donald Trump is going to kill Americans," a mischaracterization of Parry's comments in the audio.
Parry does say in the recording that people may die because of "direct state violence when the state intervenes in communities that are not white communities." Parry also says that people may die because of "state-backed violence" in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act or the rollback of policies that protect people with disabilities.
But those comments seem to link the implementation of policies on police presence and health care to potential deaths. At no point in the two-and-a-half-minute clip does Parry suggest Trump would kill, or order killings, of Americans for any particular reason.
Additionally, the audio itself was heavily edited, according to The Hawk, cutting out five minutes and 30 seconds from his speech, changing the order of his words and leaving out audience applause.
The Hawk reports the clip and the ensuing Fox News segment have sparked a debate about academic freedom at the private Jesuit college.