Fox & Friends -- and friends -- distort Axelrod's "unhealthy" remarks

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Suggesting the Obama administration is "trying to put the kibosh on free speech," Fox & Friends' Gretchen Carlson aired a statement by David Axelrod but left out the context of his remarks; guest Brandon Brice falsely accused Axelrod of calling the tea parties "un-American."

On the April 20 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Hip Hop Republican spokesman Brandon Brice falsely accused senior White House adviser David Axelrod of calling the April 15 tea parties "un-American," and co-host Gretchen Carlson misrepresented the context of Axelrod's comments.

Carlson asked: "Is the Obama administration trying to put the kibosh on free speech? Listen to what senior White House adviser David Axelrod had to say about last week's tea parties." Carlson then aired an edited video clip of Axelrod from the April 19 edition of CBS' Face the Nation but left out host Harry Smith's question, which addressed both the tea parties and comments by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) regarding secession. Specifically, Carlson aired Axelrod saying: "I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy." But Axelrod's use of the word "unhealthy" followed a question from Smith about tea parties and secession: "What do you make of this spreading and very public disaffection with, not only the government, but especially the Obama administration -- the tea parties this week? You even have the governor of Texas even using the word 'secession'? What -- should Texas be allowed to secede?"

After Carlson aired the Axelrod clip, Brice said: "You know, I was actually one of the speakers at the tea party, and I find it appalling that this gentleman would say that it's unhealthy and it's un-American." At no point in the interview did Axelrod refer to anything as "un-American."

From the April 19 edition of CBS' Face the Nation:

SMITH: What do you make of this spreading and very public disaffection with, not only the government, but especially the Obama administration -- the tea parties this week? You even have the governor of Texas even using the word "secession"? What -- should Texas be allowed to secede?

AXELROD: Well, I don't think that really warrants a serious response. I don't think most Texans were all that enthused by the governor's --

SMITH: But what about the first part of the question? This building disaffection --

AXELROD: -- by the governor's suggestion. Look, I think any time -- I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy.

SMITH: Is this unhealthy?

AXELROD: Well, we're in a -- this is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves, and so far, these are expressions. Now, one thing I would say is, the thing that bewilders me is this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. So, I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere, because he certainly understands the burden that people face.

From the April 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the question for you this morning: Is the Obama administration trying to put the kibosh on free speech? Listen to what senior White House adviser David Axelrod had to say about last week's tea parties.

AXELROD [video clip]: I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy.

CARLSON: Unhealthy. So what is the White House afraid of? We're back in the pit. Brandon, let me turn to you.

Unhealthy. It looked like he was struggling for the word to describe what he thought about those tea parties, and instead of saying something else, he came up with "unhealthy"?

BRICE: You know, I was actually one of the speakers at the tea party, and I find it appalling that this gentleman would say that it's unhealthy and it's un-American. I think this is actually more American than anything that this administration has done. And from the -- like I said, the political partisanship that many people have criticizing, there were Democrats, there were Republicans, and there were independents.

And I think that's the message did not get out. So, you know, I go against this statement; I think it was way off. And I think that for this man to be that senior and to make a statement about the American people right now, I think it's appalling.

CARLSON: K.T., unhealthy?

K.T. McFARLAND (former Pentagon spokeswoman): I think it's also, though --

CARLSON: Unhealthy just because these people didn't agree with the Obama administration? Is that why it was unhealthy?

McFARLAND: I don't think they get it. I mean, this was not an anti-tax rally. This was an anti-Washington rally.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Gretchen Carlson
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.