Fox News hosts, NY Post repeated report of Sarkozy comments about Obama, without noting French Embassy dismissed report as "groundless"

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

Special Report host Brit Hume, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, and New York Post writer Geoff Earle uncritically repeated a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz that French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Sen. Barack Obama's position on Iran "utterly immature" and "formulations empty of all content" without noting that the French Embassy issued a statement calling the Haaretz report about Sarkozy's comments "groundless."

Special Report host Brit Hume, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, and New York Post writer Geoff Earle uncritically cited an October 28 report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper that French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Sen. Barack Obama's position on Iran "utterly immature" and "formulations empty of all content," and that Sarkozy told Obama a change in U.S. position on Iran if Obama was elected would be "very problematic." In doing so, none reported that the French Embassy issued a statement on the same day calling Haaretz's reporting on the remarks "groundless" and stating that "[t]o the contrary, the in-depth discussions between the President of the Republic [Sarkozy] and Senator Obama on Iran during their meeting in Paris in July demonstrated a broad convergence of views on this issue."

In response to the Haaretz article, the French ambassador to the United States released the following statement:

The remarks attributed by the newspaper Haaretz to the President of the French Republic concerning Senator Obama's positions on Iran are groundless. To the contrary, the in-depth discussions between the President of the Republic and Senator Obama on Iran during their meeting in Paris in July demonstrated a broad convergence of views on this issue. President Sarkozy and Senator Obama agree to oppose Iran's development of a military nuclear capability.

By contrast, an October 29 post on The Washington Post's political blog The Trail reported that "[t]he Haaretz report was thinly sourced, attributed to 'reports that have reached Israel's government,' and the French Embassy called it 'groundless.' "

From the October 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): I was shocked when Sarkozy, the prime minister of France --

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): President.

KILMEADE: -- president of France -- came out and said Barack Obama is my guy, he's my idol. I look up to him, essentially. But he said it in French with an accent.

DOOCY: But of course.

KILMEADE: And he -- yeah, he was just in awe of Barack Obama. He's also been a good friend to President Bush, but he is a guy who also loves America probably more than any French guy in the history of man. So, he came out -- evidently, there's a story out, this is in the al-Haaretz newspaper --

DOOCY: Right.

KILMEADE: -- which is a --

DOOCY: Israeli press.

KILMEADE: -- Israeli press newspaper. He privately ripped Obama's stance with Iran saying he fears his pursuit of direct talks with Iran will hurt the -- will hurt the ongoing efforts to get them to stop with their nuclear program. He also said something interesting after meeting Obama to people.

CARLSON: Well, he said that he felt that the candidate's stance on Iran was utterly immature and comprised of formulations empty of all content. He went on to say that if this new American president were to be elected, his country's policy toward Iran would be very problematic. He also fears that Obama might arrogantly -- these are his words -- ignore the other members of this front and open a direct dialogue with Iran. He's talking about the other people in the U.N. Security Council.

KILMEADE: And the E.U.

DOOCY: Sure.

CARLSON: Yes, the other members of Europe and America who, for the most part, have a pretty solidified stance against Iran.

DOOCY: And he -- and, you know, there are a lot in Europe who do not want presidential level talks with the mullahocracy. You know, you look at what's going on right now with oil prices dropping a lot --

KILMEADE: They're taking a pounding.

DOOCY: They are taking a pounding, and now we are at the stage where the sanctions against Iran can actually work. So, you know -- and for him to come out and say -- he also said that he felt that Barack Obama would be more unilateral than even George W. Bush.

KILMEADE: Who stopped --

DOOCY: You know, that is saying a lot.

KILMEADE: Who three years ago said, OK, you take the lead with our --

DOOCY: Yeah. Right.

KILMEADE: -- negotiations with Iran. So you can't have it both ways. Right. That -- I was fascinated to see those quotes.

From the October 28 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: Senator Obama is the overwhelming favorite of the French to win the White House, but President Nicolas Sarkozy has some reservations. The Haaretz newspaper reports that a senior Israeli government source says Sarkozy has privately criticized Obama's position on Iran as, quote, "utterly immature," and quote, "empty of all content."

Obama met with Sarkozy in July. The report says Obama was told that changes in policy toward Iran could be, quote, "very problematic." The source says Sarkozy repeatedly expressed disappointment and fear that Obama might, quote, "arrogantly," end quote, ignore the UN Security Council and open direct talks with Iran.

From the October 29 New York Post article:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has privately ripped Barack Obama's posture on Iran as "utterly immature," according to a stunning report.

Sarkozy, who gushed over Obama when they met this summer, has said in private meetings that Obama's views were "formulations empty of all content," according to Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper.

Sarkozy fears Obama would pursue direct, unconditional talks with Iran. He reportedly told Obama in their meeting that it would be "very problematic" if US policy toward Iran changes, "arrogantly" ignoring ongoing efforts.

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