As various news outlets and bloggers have already pointed out, last night Fox News accidentally labeled disgraced erstwhile GOP Congressman Mark Foley as a Democrat. Sure enough, on three occasions, shots of Foley were accompanied on Fox by a tag at the bottom of the screen mistakenly identifying him as “Former Congressman Mark Foley (D-FL).”


But before salivating bloggers on the left go completely bonkers spinning Fox’s mistake into some sort of grand conspiracy, they might want to go back and look at the actual record.


Oops, too late.


“Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen,” writes Jaded Times. “Upon discovery of his pedophilic leanings, Fox has taken it upon themselves to drop him from the Republican Party. Apparently this wasn’t an isolated screen shot, as we’ve heard from several sources that Fox has been reporting the Republican representative as a Democrat for a few days now.”


Better double-check those sources. As it turns out, over the past several days, commentators and correspondents for Fox have time and again correctly pointed out Foley’s GOP affiliation. Herein a brief sampling.


Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (on Friday): “Republican Congressman Mark Foley of Florida has resigned for sending a series of e-mails to a 16-year-old former congressional page.”


Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (on Monday): “Hard times for the Republican Party … A one-two punch of Bob Woodward’s book and Congressman Mark Foley’s salacious e-mails to a 16-year-old boy has the GOP reeling just two months before the midterm elections.”


Fox’s Brit Hume: “Next on Special Report, House Speaker Hastert denounces the disgraced ex-GOP Congressman Mark Foley.”


Bill Kristol on Fox’s the Big Story with John Gibson: “Foley is a repulsive creep, but let’s not tar the whole Republican Party because one Republican congressman behaved badly.”


Fox’s Major Garrett on Special Report with Brit Hume: “First, who is Mark Foley? 54 years old. Six-term representative from the 16th District of Florida. He’s a member of House Republican leadership.”


Finally, anyone still clinging to a Fox conspiracy might want to go back and watch the section of the O’Reilly Factor in which the mislabeling occurred.


“In the ‘Personal Story’ segment tonight, the conservative Washington Times today called for the resignation of House Speaker Dennis Hastert over the Foley scandal,” reported O’Reilly. “The issue, it seems, is dividing conservatives.”


That’s right, he said “conservatives.”

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Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.