I have to hand it to DHD commenters: you are a smart and savvy bunch. So it was inevitable that one of you (aka Patrick Goldsteeny) would use the occasion of my Fowl At Fox post today to spoof that Los Angeles Times lunkhead columnist Patrick Goldstein. For those not reading him (and few people make the effort since his blog according to the newspaper’s own count gets only a traffic pittance of 3,415 page views a day), he recently accused Fox Filmed Entertainment boss Tom Rothman of lying. Then Goldstein had to apologize when he found out the facts. (Goldstein also has made bullshit accusations against me, but refuses to correct them…) So now I present this DHD comment that perfectly mirrors not only Goldstein’s fractured prose, his cozy relationship with Universal, and his all-out hatred for 20th Century Fox, but also his nonexistent news sense that has him make a mountain out of a molehill. Or, in this case, a duckbed:

Did Fox tell a whopper about the ducks living on its lot? What the duck?

20th Century Fox has already survived a few PR nightmares this year, after discovering that someone had stolen a pirated workprint of its much-ballyhooed summer blockbuster “X Men Origins: Wolverine” and put it on the Internet a full month before it was scheduled to hit the theaters (May 1) and then having to contend with a bad case of swine flu, just days before release of the film.

The studio managed to weather another embarrassment when a Fox News.com columnist, Roger Friedman, not only reviewed the pirated movie but boasted about how easy it was to download off the Web, prompting a nasty in-house tussle that resulted in Friedman’s firing.

The studio has now been embroiled in a new nightmare: Even though Fox Co-Chairman Tom Rothman told Bird Talk magazine last week that shortly after a family of ducks showed up on the studio’s famed Century City lot, that the “Mallards” numbered nine and were not the same as those seen recently on the Warner Bros. lot, people who’ve now seen the flock are saying they are — gulp – actually Northern Shovlers and not Mallards, and there are only six and not nine.

As Ducks.org reported today, “Having seen photos of the ducks, the mystery is solved: There are six ducks and they ARE in fact Northern Shovlers. “While beginning birders could easily mistake the shovler for the mallard (males of both species have green heads), no one who counts the box office can mistake how many there are.” Ouch!

To add insult to injury, the Ducks.org story says the family of ducks — while cute – “are lackluster and appear underfed and less healthy overall than the spectacular ducks” being nurtured by my friends at Universal, perhaps the greatest dream factory in history…but that’s another blog.

Bird bloggers may not get their own facts right much of the time, but boy, are they hard on studios who dissemble to protect their flock. Carol Wigeon at Liveduck.com says the news of the ducks’ species and number is truly scandalous, writing, “Fox is in big trouble. Not only are the ducks mis-identified, but they are mis-counted, so the studio has been caught in a lie – which weakens the trust audiences have in a studio and might lead people to stay away from Fox’s movies.

I mean, are there really three Chipmunks and is the ringleader really named Alvin? These are the questions moviegoers must ask.”

I’m not sure the situation is really that dire, but I relish any opportunity to stick it to Tom Rothman and Fox – unless they offer to buy me lunch and kiss my ass. The bad buzz from the Internet could put a crimp in the studio’s plans to take advantage of the ducks in their midst, with discussions already ongoing about where to film the duck’s story and whether they will use live ducks or resort to animatronic characters a la “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” Still, I can’t say Fox has done a great job of combating this latest onslaught of bad news. After waiting for hours (to kill time, I called Terry Press four times, Marc Shmuger three and still hadn’t heard from them), I finally got a bland statement that doesn’t address at all the issue of how Rothman could say there were nine Mallards, when, in fact, there are six and they are Shovlers….duh.

All Fox said was that when “Tom went to feed the ducks before the Bird Talk interview, he counted only six….and as for whether they are Mallards or Shovlers, really, Patrick? Really? Tom is from the east coast and is most familiar with Mallards, he didn’t realize that Shovlers are more common on the west coast.”

Fox insiders say that as part of a newly signed promotional deal with Egg Beaters, moviegoers will get an “Easter egg” after each screening of” I Love You, Beth Cooper.”

I’m eager to hear from any readers on this issue: Is this a tempest in a teapot? Or do you feel the studio has been playing fast and loose with the facts? And, is anyone reading me? Anyone at all?