Saturday, October 09, 2010

Gee, I wonder if Fox will send out its ambush TV news crews after Charles Leaf

-- by Dave

Well, will ironies never cease:

A woman answered the door this afternoon at the Wyckoff home of Fox 5 news reporter Charles Leaf — where authorities say he sexually abused a 4-year-old girl — but the woman declined to speak to reporters.

A second woman arrived at the house later, going inside without speaking to reporters.

The award-winning Leaf, who is married with two children, was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. The house, a renovated Cape Cod with a three-car garage and dormers near the roof, is in a modest neighborhood in Wyckoff.

The child is an acquaintance, according to authorities. Leaf is being held in the Bergen County Jail on $250,000 bail and will be arraigned on Nov. 4 in Wyckoff Municipal Court.

Leaf, an ex-Marine, joined the station in 2006 and is the station’s investigative and general-assignment reporter who has covered national stories, including the Bernard Madoff scandal and the proposed development of a mosque near the World Trade Center site, according to his résumé on

A spokesperson for the station said Fox 5 was aware of the situation and was reviewing it.

The last time we saw Charles Leaf, he was busy chasing hapless accountants with a camera while ostensibly pursuing the financiers of the "Ground Zero mosque," all in the name of another Fox News just-coincidentally-Islamophobia-baiting "investigation".

As we observed at the time:

It's bad enough that they sicced their camera crews on a bunch of unsuspecting bankers, accountants and real-estate developers who are, unsurprisingly, not willing to have their lives destroyed by a scandal-mongering bunch of fake journalists on a witch hunt. But the pernicious part of this kind of reportage is the way that it implies guilt -- for some unnamed misdeed -- simply in the refusal to go on-camera.

We have long said that this style of pseudo-journalism is a violation of a whole raft of basic ethic standards for real journalists. The Fox crews disgracefully badger people outside their homes, and choose targets not merely for some official misdeed but, in some cases, merely for writing or saying something the reporter didn't like.

And this kind of reportage is even more clearly unethical, because it victimizes a bunch of ordinary citizens whose only misdeed is being associated in business dealings with an unpopular project. That's deeply disturbing.

Just remember: Whenever a Fox crew gets near you, simply repeat the magical words, "Andrea Mackris". They'll go away, as do all plagues eventually.

Somehow, I can't see Charles Leaf saying those words. Nor do I see him having to.

But then, Bill O'Reilly got all worked up the other night over his favorite new race-baiting bit -- "the New Black Panthers" case -- which he then connected to Meg Whitman's fired maid (don't ask me, you have to see the video to understand).

If the DOJ doesn't go after the nanny, O'Reilly asserted, it would be just like them ignoring the "New Black Panthers"!

So, Bill: If you don't go after Charles Leaf and harass him in his home -- for that matter, if you don't even bother to report on his arrest, particularly not on the shows where he appeared regularly (we're looking at you, Megyn Kelly) -- will that be proof positive that Fox News is nothing but a hack propaganda operation, a complete journalistic sham?

Well, yeah. But we already knew that.

[Crossposted at Crooks and Liars.]

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