Shortly after President Trump abruptly disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from the White House just hours before their scheduled visit, Fox News covered the development with a video package that suggested Eagles players knelt during the national anthem.
The package showed a number of still images of Eagles players kneeling on the field and praying together, while a host narrated by saying the Eagles would not be visiting the White House “due to the national anthem controversy.” A White House statement attributed to Trump announcing the disinvitation accused the team of “disagree[ing] with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 5, 2018
There’s just one problem — the suggestion that the Eagles didn’t stand for the national anthem is totally false. The Eagles were in fact one of seven teams that did not have a player kneel for the anthem at any point during the 2017 season.
On Twitter, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz responded to the Fox News segment by writing that the network “can’t be serious” with their “propaganda.”
This can’t be serious…. Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this… https://t.co/kYeyH2zXdK
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 5, 2018
Fox News’ coverage of the situation didn’t improve much in the ensuing hours. During an interview with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends, host Abby Huntsman framed Trump’s decision to disinvite the Eagles as being about his desire “to protect the American flag.”
Kudlow responded by talking about the Eagles players as though they are children.
“If the Eagles want to misbehave, I’m not all that surprised,” he said.
UPDATE (10:55 a.m.): In a statement released Tuesday morning, Fox News apologized for the segment that falsely suggested Eagles players knelt for the anthem.
— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) June 5, 2018