Overheated rhetoric about alleged overheated rhetoric: Rep. Cao (LA) did not demand BP exec commit suicide

The headline at FoxNews.com reads “Rep. Cao Suggests BP Exec Commit ‘Hara-Kiri’ Over Spill.” It’s not just a headline snafu, either. In the story itself it reads:

Lawmakers are fuming at BP, but Rep. Joseph Cao took that anger to a new level during a congressional hearing when he suggested a top executive  commit ritual suicide.

The Louisiana Republican was addressing BP America President Lamar McKay during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday. Following up on a colleague who had asked McKay to resign, Cao escalated the demand.

(Link in the original story.) But in the very next paragraph they quote exactly what Cao said:

“Well, in the Asian culture, we do things differently. During the Samurai days, we’d just give you the knife and ask you to commit hara-kiri,” said Cao, who is Vietnamese-American. “My constituents are still debating on what they want me to ask you to do.”

There is no doubt that Cao is angry, both himself and on behalf of his constituents, and there’s no doubt he used a reference to the ritual suicide demanded of dishonored or failed samurai under bushido. What he just as clearly did not do was suggest that the BP exec perform the act and he most certainly didn’t demand they do. To suggest that he did is just factually wrong and deliberately misleading. That Fox News is engaging in this kind of ridiculous drivel is incredibly disappointing, to say the least.

It’s overheated rhetoric like this kind of so-called reporting that blurs the public’s understanding of what’s going on rather than elucidating it. Shame on Fox and their editors.

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