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(This story contains an update from the Fox News reporter who made the mistake at the bottom of the piece)
The federal government shutdown has caused a headache for tourists wanting to visit national parks and museums. And one of the more high-profile stories this week concerned a group of World War II veterans who had to literally pass government tape to gain access to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.
In a story about the monument closure, Fox News host Anna Kooiman fell prey to a false report from a parody site that said President Barack Obama had offered to keep the International Museum of Muslim Cultures open with cash from his own pocket.
“The Republican National Committee is offering to pay for it to keep it open so that the veterans from Honor Flight are going to be able to go and see this because who did it honor? It honored them,” Kooiman said during a report on Friday. “It really doesn't seem fair, especially — and we're going to talk a little bit later in the show too about some things that are continuing to be funded. And President Obama has offered to pay out of his own pocket for the museum of Muslim culture out of his own pocket, yet it's the Republican National Committee who's paying for this.”
Kooiman was referencing a quote from the National Report, a parody news site that ran the fake story on Obama. The key quote from the story reads:
“The International Museum of Muslim Cultures is sacred. That is why I have taken it upon myself to use my own personal funds to re-open this historic piece of American culture.”
On one hand, Media Matters points out that the National Report removed a disclaimer it once posted on its site acknowledging that the material contained within was parody.
On the other hand, the National Report currently contains a set of “news” headlines such as “Jesus Christ boycotts Hobby Lobby” and “Police barge into kindergarten classroom and taser multiple children ‘for the check of it.’”
But in the fast world of TV news, it’s most likely that a producer told Kooiman about the so-called news report, which then made it on air before anyone could confirm the report’s details.
UPDATE: Kooiman has since acknowledge and apologized for the mistake. Taking to her Twitter account on Sunday morning, she wrote:
Just met w producers- I made a mistake yday after receiving flawed research abt a museum possibly closing. My apologies. Won't happen again.
— Anna Kooiman (@annakooiman) October 6, 2013