During the Bears season opener, Fox Sports wanted to reference some headlines that questioned Jay Cutler’s toughness in last year’s NFC Championship game.
Since no headlines actually existed in any newspaper, Fox decided to make them up. And then say they were real. Seriously.
Here are the three headlines Fox used as a graphic, via Poynter:
1. “Cutler Leaves With Injury”
2. “Cutler Lacks Courage”
3. “Cutler’s No Leader”
Fox analyst Darryl Johnston backed them up by saying “these are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago.”
Except they weren’t. The Chicago Tribune thought the headlines sounded fishy because Cutler was defended locally. They did an investigation, and there no such headlines in Chicago. Or anywhere else in the country.
“It was misleading,” admitted FOX Sports spokesman Dan Bell.
It’s more than misleading. They intentionally made up headlines and then went out of their way to say they were real.
“Our attempt was to capture the overall sentiment nationwide following that game,” Bell said.
We’re confused by the strategy. Why make up headlines when they could just hack into Cutler’s voice mail and create a real one?