On Monday, Fox News's Martha MacCallum went on the air to claim that "After weeks of economic doom and gloom, the Obama administration is now singing a slightly different tune." The primary hook for the statement was Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Christina Romer’s earlier comment that the “fundamentals of the economy are sound." But McCallum followed with a series of clips of various administration officials making (relatively) positive noises about the economy, including a snippet of Joe Biden declaring, at a crowded event, "The fundamentals of the economy are strong!"

The problem, as ThinkProgress was quick to point out, is that the clip came from a campaign event in September and, far from touting the economy, Biden was actually quoting--and slamming--John McCain. McCallum apologized yesterday afternoon, saying Fox had "inadvertently" used the piece of video. Her correction was perfectly straightforward and--in contrast to the network's non-admission that it published a GOP press release verbatim as its own reporting last month--set the record straight.

Still, it's hard not to wonder how the network could "inadvertently" take a six-month-old campaign clip, carefully trim out the context (i.e., that Biden was ridiculing McCain) to make it seem the speaker was saying exactly the opposite of the point he was making, and slip it into a montage about the Obama administration's "mantra for the weekend." I assume McCallum had no idea about this (it certainly did her career no good), but it's hard to imagine that someone involved in putting the segment together--a producer, an archivist, an intern, someone--didn't knowingly alter the Biden clip. I don't think this necessarily suggests that Fox News is more nefarious than generally believed--it was a pretty harmless segment--but, along with last month's GOP press release, it suggests a network culture that is abandoning the concept of journalism, even biased journalism, altogether.

--Christopher Orr