While participating in a panel discussion about new emails purportedly showing "White House Bias" against Fox News, Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane commented that he'd "like to see the internal emails here at Fox about the Obama administration" as a contrast. Lane is in luck. Internal emails obtained by Media Matters have shown attempts by Fox News executive Bill Sammon to slant news coverage against President Obama and his policies.
Judicial Watch Claims Emails Show White House "Attacked, Excluded" Fox
Judicial Watch: Obama White House "Attempted To Exclude" Fox From Interviews "Executive Pay Czar." From a July 14 Judicial Watch press release headlined "Documents Show Obama White House Attacked, Excluded Fox News Channel":
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has uncovered documents from the Obama Department of Treasury showing that the Obama administration, contrary to its repeated denials, attempted to exclude the Fox News Channel (FNC) from a round of interviews with Treasury's "Executive Pay Czar" Kenneth Feinberg. The documents, which include email exchanges within the Department of the Treasury and between Treasury and White House staff, also provide colorful evidence of an anti-Fox News bias within the Obama White House. [PRNewswire.com, 7/14/11]
On Fox, Lane Says He'd "Like To See The Internal Emails Here At Fox" About Obama
Wash. Post's Lane: "Frankly, I'd Like To See The Internal Emails Here At Fox About The Obama Administration. Maybe A Few Things Would Turn Up That Wouldn't Look So Great." From Special Report with Bret Baier:
SHANNON BREAM (guest host): This is a White House -- they made a decision regarding access to interviewing a senior Treasury official. It's their decision. Ethically, though, how should they go about deciding who's in and who's out?
LANE: Well, this goes back to '09, the first year of the administration. David Axelrod attempting to get the rest of the quote-unquote mainstream media to kind of ostracize Fox News. That really failed very badly, and they've since backpedaled off of that.
So I think Jay Carney is right. This is, in a way, old news. A couple of emails? Frankly, I'd like to see the internal emails here at Fox about the Obama administration. Maybe a few things would turn up that wouldn't look so great.
And you know, they -- they are very -- any kind of press coverage that they don't like really gets under their skin. I can tell you that from my experience at the Post. This to me is not that big a deal as Tom Fitton seems to describe it. Somebody calls Bret a lunatic, which of course is not true, in an email. So I pronounce it a non-story. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 7/14/11]
Fox Emails Show Attempts To Slant News Against Obama And His Policies
Fox News Executive Admitted To Lying About Obama "Advocat[ing] Socialism" -- As Referenced In Internal Email
Sammon Email Stresses "References To Socialism, Liberalism, Marxism And Marxists" In Obama's Memoir. From a 2008 email sent by Bill Sammon, then Fox News' deputy Washington managing editor and now its Washington managing editor, and obtained by Media Matters:
From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Monday, October 27, 2008 1:02 PM
To: 069 -Politics; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com)
Subject: fyi: Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists in his autobiography, "Dreams from My Father." Plus a couple of his many self-described "racial obsessions"...
* "To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists." (Obama writing about his time at Occidental College in "Dreams.")
* After his sophomore year, Obama transferred to Columbia University. He lived on Manhattan's Upper East Side, venturing to the East Village for "thesocialist conferences I sometimes attended at Cooper Union," he recalled, adding: "Much of what I absorbed from the sixties was filtered through my mother, who to the end of her life would proudly proclaim herself an unreconstructed liberal."
* After graduating from Columbia in 1983, Obama spent a year working for a consulting firm and then went to work for "a Ralph Nader offshoot" in Harlem. "In search of some inspiration, I went to hear Kwame Toure, formerly Stokely Carmichael of SNCC and Black Panther fame, speak at Columbia. At the entrance to the auditorium, two women, one black, one Asian, were selling Marxist literature."
During this period, according to Obama, he began a serious romantic relationship.
* "There was a woman in New York that I loved. She was white," Obama wrote in "Dreams." "We saw each other for almost a year. On the weekends, mostly. Sometimes in her apartment, sometimes in mine. You know how you can fall into your own private world? Just two people, hidden and warm. Your own language. Your own customs." But Obama said their relationship was doomed by the racial difference. "I pushed her away," he recalled."The emotion between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing from ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart."
* In June 1985, Obama was interviewed in New York by Marty Kaufman, a community organizer from Chicago. Obama recalled: "There was something about him that made me wary. A little too sure of himself, maybe. And white." [Media Matters, 2/1/11]
Show Notes Written In Preparation For Fox & Friends The Next Day Included The Subject Line Of Sammon's Email Word-For-Word. Sammon also appeared on that episode. [Media Matters, 2/1/11]
Sammon Later Admitted That He Had Lied On-Air "About Whether Barack Obama Really Advocated Socialism." Speaking on a 2009 Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college, Sammon described his attempts the previous year to link Obama to "socialism" as "mischievous speculation." Sammon acknowledged that "privately" he had believed that the socialism allegation was "rather far-fetched." [Media Matters, 3/29/11]
Sammon Email Instructed Fox Journalists To Use GOP Term To Describe "Public Option"
Sammon's "Friendly Reminder": "Please Use The Term "Government-Run Health Insurance." From Media Matters:
From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Subject: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option"
1) Please use the term "government-run health insurance" or, when brevity is a concern, "government option," whenever possible.
2) When it is necessary to use the term "public option" (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation's lexicon), use the qualifier "so-called," as in "the so-called public option."
3) Here's another way to phrase it: "The public option, which is the government-run plan."
4) When newsmakers and sources use the term "public option" in our stories, there's not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct. [Media Matters, 12/9/10]
Michael Clemente, Senior VP For News, Replied That Sammon's Third Phrasing Was "The Preferred Way To Say It, Write It, Use It." From Media Matters:
From: Clemente, Michael
To: Sammon, Bill; 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Sent: Tue Oct 27 08:45:29 2009
Subject: RE: friendly reminder: let's not slip back into calling it the "public option"
Thank you Bill
#3 on your list is the preferred way to say it, write it, use it.
212.XXX.XXXX [Media Matters, 12/9/10]
Sammon Email Became Major Anti-Obama Talking Point For Fox's Coverage Of Cairo Speech
After Obama's 2009 Speech In Cairo, Sammon Wrote That The President Hadn't Used Any Iteration Of The Word "Terror." From Media Matters:
From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 9:23 AM
To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 036 -FOX.WHU; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay
Subject: FYI: My cursory check of Obama's 6,000-word speech to the Muslim world did not turn up the words "terror," "terrorist" or "terrorism" [Media Matters, 2/8/11]
But Sammon's Criticism Was Misleading: Obama Talked At Length About Taking On Al Qaeda, Other "Violent Extremists." Obama devoted a significant section of his remarks to denouncing and confronting Al Qaeda and other "violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security." Sammon's criticism also disregarded the analyses of Middle East and terrorism experts who viewed Obama's word choice as an effort to remove as a source of tension terms that, through overuse and misuse, have become incendiary in the Muslim world. [Media Matters, 2/8/11]
Fox Hosts And Reporters Repeatedly Used Sammon's Talking Point. Shortly after Sammon sent his email, he appeared on America's Newsroom, and host Megyn Kelly asked him what he made of Obama not mentioning "terror, the war on terror, or terrorism." Sammon responded, "Well, I make of it that he has taken us off a war footing as a nation." Kelly also hosted former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, who commented that Obama "didn't mention the word 'terrorism' once in the speech." Fox personalities Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, Wendell Goler, Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, and Steve Doocy subsequently used Sammon's "terror" framing to discuss and analyze Obama's speech. [Media Matters, 2/8/11]
Fox Has Repeatedly Covered Judicial Watch Emails As Evidence Of "White House Bias"
Camerota Said Emails Represented "The Obama Administration's Handling Of The Media." From America Live, guest-hosted by Alisyn Camerota:
[Fox News, America Live, 7/14/11]
Fox & Friends Graphics Claim Emails Are Evidence Of "Bias" Against Fox, Suggest Fox Is A White House "Target." From Fox & Friends:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/14/11]
Goldberg: Obama Administration "Not The First" To "Go To War With The News Media, But I Don't Think This Administration Wants To Be Compared To Richard Nixon." From The O'Reilly Factor, featuring Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg:
[Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 7/14/11]