Fox News fixed an incorrect headline after the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) publicly criticized the news site for a factual error claiming Chief Sitting Bull killed General Custer at Little Bighorn (he, in fact, didn’t kill him).
In an update to the Nov. 15 story on Pres. Obama’s new children’s picture book, an editor’s note states: “Headline has been corrected for historical accuracy.”
The headline now reads “Obama Praises Indian Chief who Defeated U.S.General” (the link still reads “killed”). Obama’s book highlights “13 Americans whose traits he sees in his own children,” including Sitting Bull, according to Fox News.
In an open letter published Nov. 17 on the NAJA website, NAJA president Rhonda LeValdo wrote directed to Fox Nation news editor. She wrote:
“The headline for your website: http://nation.foxnews.com/media/2010/11/15/obama-praises-indian-chief-who-killed-us-general is a big miss for your news organization in trying to educate the masses on who killed Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, not to mention a travesty in trying to praise Custer’s actions and make him look like a victim.”
Noting that the NAJA seeks to be a watchdog for reporting on Native Nations, LeValdo wrote “this headline is totally inaccurate as Chief Sitting Bull was not the person who killed General Custer.”
She explained that the error could have been avoided “If your organization fully researched the selections” in Obama’s book.
“The intent of including Chief Sitting Bull in President Obama’s book appears to be a diversity lesson in the history of North America, one that many people could learn from and not the praising of a killer like your headline reads. We ask you issue an apology to the Native American Nations across this country who consider Sitting Bull a hero and a warrior who stood up for his people.”
As the New Yorker wrote, the updated headline claiming the Sitting Bull defeated Custer is “a stretch, since the military victory is credited to Crazy Horse and Gall, rather than to Sitting Bull.”
iMediaEthics has written to LeValdo and will update with any response.