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“This is journalistic malpractice, plain and simple.  A reporter right out of J-school would have taken the two minutes necessary to call the San Bernardino Police Department and verify Ms. Kaelke’s statements. But that never occurred to anyone at Fox News before the network ran with the story. This kind of shameful work raises serious questions about the legitimacy of the entire campaign currently being waged against ACORN.”

-Eric Burns, president of Media Matters

As Beck crusade against ACORN continues, regardless of truth or accuracy, Media Matters for America is thankfully trying to hold Beck and his Fox News comrades accountable.

On September 15, Fox News’ Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity both broadcast Tresa Kaelke’s assertion, recorded on a hidden camera, that she had killed a former husband.

Both made a point of highlighting the statement. On the September 15 edition of his show, Beck played the clip and then said, “She never spanked her kids, but she did shoot her husband dead.” Later that night, Hannity played the same clip before adding, “Specifically, now, she goes into this scenario about her husband and the killing of him.”

The following morning, on September 16, Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson repeated the allegation, saying, “She killed somebody? Despite this, some lawmakers want to keep funding the group.” She later claimed that the husband was still alive, “according to ACORN.”

However, the San Bernardino Police Department itself has now confirmed that Kaelke’s claim was untrue. A department statement released on September 15 reads:

“The San Bernardino Police Department is investigating the claims made regarding the homicide. From the initial investigation conducted, the claims do not appear to be factual. Investigators have been in contact with the involved party’s known former husbands, who are alive and well.”

Furthermore, Kaelke has said that when she made the claim, she was seeking to deliberately mislead the undercover videographers, Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, of whom she was suspicious.

“They were not believable,” Kaelke is quoted as saying in an ACORN press release. “Somewhat entertaining, but they weren’t even good actors. I didn’t know what to make of them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking me.”

The Media Matters video is here: