Reporters on Friday criticized Fox News for saying that Beverly Young Nelson, who accused Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually assaulting her when she was 16, “forged” part of a yearbook inscription she’s attributed to Moore.
During an interview with Good Morning America’s Tom Llamas that aired Friday, Nelson re-affirmed that Moore signed her yearbook when she was 15, before the alleged assault, and said that she added “notes” underneath his signature.
“The message was all Roy Moore,” Llamas said in his report.
Reporting on the interview, Fox News said Nelson admitted that she “forged part of the yearbook inscription,” echoing a frequent attack from Moore’s camp against Nelson. The report’s headline was later changed — “Roy Moore accuser admits she wrote part of yearbook inscription attributed to Alabama Senate candidate” — but the the tweet stayed up for a bit longer, though it was later deleted.
The Moore campaign used the report to smear Nelson.
Boyfriend at the time says she lied.
Employees of the restaurant say she lied.
Customers of the restaurant say she lied.
Her step son says she lied.
Now she herself admits to lying.
Let’s count how many national outlets will ignore the fact that she admits to lying. https://t.co/9D5OYCVORx
— Judge Roy Moore (@MooreSenate) December 8, 2017
Reporters and commentators across the aisle were critical of the characterization.
this is incredibly, incredibly misleading from fox news, but who is surprised. she says she added notes to the bottom of his signed message (presumably the date and location) but the message and signature was all his https://t.co/ODsTVB2Qaa
— David Mack (@davidmackau) December 8, 2017
This is an insanely irresponsible headline. That's not what she claimed at all. https://t.co/WCtJT2hdMS
— Griswold Christmas Vacation (@HashtagGriswold) December 8, 2017
headline inside article has been edited to replace "forged" with "wrote" https://t.co/EAAhIURhXi
— Colin Campbell (@colincampbell) December 8, 2017
This is massively misleading. https://t.co/qnwSvFqoMo
— Kevin Robillard (@PoliticoKevin) December 8, 2017
She didn't admit to forging anything. She added the date and location below the signature. JFC, Fox. This is low, even for you. https://t.co/ELAPiKA868
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) December 8, 2017
This is grossly irresponsible reporting.
An annotation is not a forgery https://t.co/VO8xXmXrUE
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) December 8, 2017
I'm confused about this Roy Moore/yearbook thing. It's always been clear to me — and anyone who actually look at it — that the date and location at the bottom are written by someone else. https://t.co/7ouE6RCdMz
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) December 8, 2017
Ah, the Moore accuser saying she added additional notes to his alleged inscription is characterized as “forged” at Fox News. https://t.co/p11FsTIajG
— Ruthless T. Firefly (@BecketAdams) December 8, 2017
The article itself changed after scrutiny, too: While the Fox News originally asserted “Beverly Young Nelson told ABC News she added the date and place in the inscription,” the article now says the “notes” Nelson admitting to adding “appear to be the handwritten date and location.” TPM had reached out to a Fox News spokesperson regarding the factual basis for the first assertion above, but received no response.
The article has no byline, aside from “Fox News.” An update to the story at the bottom reads: “An update to this story reflects that Beverly Young Nelson admits writing what ABC News characterized as ‘notes’ beneath what she says is Roy Moore’s signature, and that the only notes below the signature are the date and location. Furthermore, the headline on story now specifies that Nelson admits to writing part of the inscription herself, rather than forging part of it.”
Nelson and her attorney, Gloria Allred, announced they would hold a news conference on Friday “to present evidence that we think is important on the issue whether Roy Moore signed the yearbook,” ABC News reported, quoting Allred.
This post has been updated.