Apparently, the editors at Fox News were a little confused on Friday morning following the historic and unexpected Brexit vote results. While much of the world woke to shock and amazement that the U.K. had narrowly voted to cut ties with the European Union, Fox News quickly escalated the severity of the situation with some erroneous reporting. As the Huffington Post reports, while the world’s financial markets took a nosedive and disenchanted Brits began searching for new homes abroad, Fox News reported that the U.K. had voted to leave the United Nations.
While the result of the Brexit vote was largely unexpected by many, it didn’t go so far as to indicate that the U.K. was trying to cut ties with the U.N. as Fox News reported to millions of anxious viewers. When U.K. voters took to the polls in record numbers to vote “yes” or “no” on the Brexit referendum, they weren’t considering U.N. affiliation at all. Rather, the Brexit was a vote to decide whether or not U.K. voters wanted to exit the European Union.
Which they decided to do, by a narrow margin.
The decision of the British voters to leave the EU is historic in and of itself; Britain has now become the first EU member nation to break away from the Union. However, unlike the Fox News reports of the early Friday morning hours indicated, the British voters didn’t decide to cut their diplomatic ties with the U.N.
To be fair, this isn’t exactly the first time that Fox News has gotten some major information about big news stories totally incorrect. Back at the end of 2015, Fox News erroneously reported that the city of Birmingham is “Muslim-only.” In that instance, the words broadcast by Fox News (admittedly by a guest on a news program) were so obviously false and derogatory, the Fox News guest in question even issued a public apology for his incorrect reporting.
“I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. My comments about Birmingham were totally in error. And I am issuing an apology and correction on my website immediately for having made this comment about the beautiful city of Birmingham.”
The Fox News guest in question, Steven Emerson, even promised to make a donation to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital as a result of his very public faux pas.
Despite the fact that Fox News got the circumstances of the Brexit vote completely wrong in its early Friday morning reporting, many other news outlets got it right. And the aftermath of the U.K. Brexit was immediate and profound. Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he will be resigning his position as a result of the British voters opting to leave the EU (not the U.N.), and financial markets around the world fell sharply on the news that the U.K. would be leaving the EU.
Fox News did get the final vote numbers correct. British voters opted to leave the EU by a fairly narrow margin of just 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent. Over 72 percent of eligible British voters showed up at the polls to cast their ballot for the tightly contested Brexit referendum. In hard numbers, 45,500,001 people voted on Thursday.
Before the votes were cast, before the polls began to close, and before the results from the first districts were reported, it had been widely reported that the U.K. would vote to remain in the EU.
As was reported on Fox News and elsewhere, the EU’s response to the U.K. referendum was almost immediate. The EU leadership wants the U.K. to come up with an exit plan as quickly as possible, so that the process of splitting can be as quick and painless as possible.
Many U.K. citizens are so disappointed and disgusted with the Brexit referendum results that they are calling for a second referendum to undo the first. A petition for the second referendum (Brexit 2.0?) began to circulate almost as soon as the results of yesterday’s vote became official, and so many people tried to sign it at once that the Huffington Post reports that the website temporarily crashed from the overwhelming volume.
Fortunately for Fox News, their fact-checking snafu was only momentary, and while some people got a laugh out of the inaccuracy, most were too shocked by the Brexit results to notice the typo.
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