Bill Sammon: Washington managing editor of the "voice of the opposition"
Research ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL, MATT GERTZ & ADAM SHAH
Bill Sammon is exactly the Washington managing editor you'd expect from Fox News: a former reporter for conservative newspapers who bragged of his access to President Bush and used that access to write several fawning books. Under his leadership, Fox News correspondents and shows based out of Washington, D.C., have pushed false stories and smears of progressives while cheerleading for Republicans.
Sammon's Fox News colleagues characterize him as a "conservative"
O'Reilly: Sammon "obviously is a conservative and coming from that point of view." Introducing Sammon for a June 5, 2001, interview (accessed from Nexis) on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly said: "Mr. Sammon obviously is a conservative and coming from that point of view." Durring the interview, Sammon did not contest O'Reilly's characterization.
Wallace to Sammon: "I think it's fair to say you tilt conservative" and "didn't admire" where Ted Kennedy was "taking the country." the August 30, 2009, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Sammon regarding Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had died a few days earlier: "How do you reconcile the fact -- Bill, I think it's fair to say you tilt conservative in your views -- with the fact that this was a fellow in the arena, obviously liberal, was taking the country in a direction that perhaps you didn't admire, but that he did have a lot of people whom he touched and who felt that he represented them?" Sammon did not reject Wallace's characterization of his ideology, replying:
Hey, I grew up in a Irish-Catholic working-class neighborhood of Cleveland where Kennedy was a hero. It was a Democratic neighborhood, and he was an effective legislator. There's no question about it.
And you know, I saw that interview clip that you just showed from 2006. During that clip, you know, you're asking him about liberalism, and so on and so forth, and I noticed that he was one of the few senators to vote against welfare reform, for example.
So in other words, there's liberalism and then there's dogmatic liberalism. Everybody -- I mean, Bill Clinton signed welfare reform. It went on to, by most experts' analysis, greatly improve -- it drove down the number of jobless unmarried women. It drove down child poverty.
But Kennedy clung to the idea that you had to oppose that kind of thing. And so, yeah -- was he an effective legislator? Yes. Was he terribly flexible on ideology? No.
Wallace, who is also a Fox News contributor, "is based in Washington, D.C."
Sammon bragged of his access to Bush and his administration
Sammon bragged about his "five solo interviews of President Bush" and his "extensive, one-on-one interviews with" senior administration officials. In 2004, Sammon told CJR Daily, "As for access, I have conducted at least five solo interviews of President Bush, including two in February for my forthcoming book on him. I also was granted extensive, one-on-one interviews with Secretary of State Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, White House political strategist Karl Rove and Chief of Staff Andrew Card, among others."
Sammon's speakers bureau: Sammon "regularly interviews" Bush, Rove, Cheney. According to his bio for Premiere Speakers Bureau, Sammon "has a knack for taking audiences behind the scenes of the West Wing, where he regularly interviews the President and political operatives such as Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney."
Sammon's publisher: "No other journalist has interviewed" Bush more often than Sammon. According to promotional materials for his 2006 book, Strategery, "No other journalist has interviewed the president more times than Sammon." Promotional materials for his books tout his "exclusive interviews" and "extraordinary" and "unprecedented access" to Bush and his administration.
Washington Examiner: Sammon "has interviewed the commander-in-chief more times than any other journalist." According to his bio for The Washington Examiner, where Sammon was White House correspondent from 2006 to 2008, Sammon, "nicknamed 'Superstretch' by President Bush, has interviewed the commander-in-chief more times than any other journalist."
Sammon used that access to write fawning books about Bush campaigns, administration
At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election. Sammon is the author of the At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election (Regnery Publishing, 2001). According to Amazon.com, the book's inside flap reads in part:
Al Gore was furious. He wasn't supposed to lose.
Drawing on exhaustive, on-the-scene reporting and exclusive interviews with the key players - including President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney - Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon has written the definitive account of the most contentious presidential election in U.S. history.
At Any Cost is a breathtaking examination of Vice President Al Gore's audacious and unprecedented effort to overturn the presidential election. Desperate to forestall the spectacular collapse of his political career and determined to inflict as much damage as possible on Bush, Gore pulled out all the stops in an extraordinary, thirty-six day campaign of scorched-earth political warfare that propelled the nation to the brink of a constitutional crisis.
At Any Cost is a gripping, must-read account of the biggest attempted larceny in the history of American politics.
Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism From Inside the Bush White House. Sammon is the author of Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism-From Inside the Bush White House (Regnery Publishing, 2002). Regnery's promotional materials state of the book:
The First Book Ever on George W. Bush's Presidency...
How Bush Led America Through "the Middle Hour of our Grief"
The Democrats underestimated him. The media ridiculed him. But when terror struck on September 11, 2001, George Bush proved what kind of man he truly is. And, as Bill Sammon recounts in his new book, that was just the beginning.
In Fighting Back, you get the first book ever on George W. Bush's presidency --and the first comprehensive look at how Bush is leading the war on terror. From the moment when Andy Card whispered into his President's ear "Mr. President, America is under attack," best-selling author Bill Sammon brings us an eye-witness account of that historic day, and the days that follow.
Fighting Back gives you an extraordinarily dramatic, blow-by-blow account of a President thrust into a new kind of war. It describes history in the making, and the emergence of a great leader.
Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias, and the Bush Haters. Sammon is author of Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias, and the Bush Haters (HarperCollins, 2005). The publisher's promotional materials state of the book:
"They misunderestimated me," George W. Bush famously remarked on the eve of his historic presidency. Fractured syntax aside, Bush was right: his detractors misunderstood his appeal to the American public, and underestimated his considerable political skills. In this compelling new book, Bill Sammon reveals how the president is turning these misperceptions to his advantage in the looming showdown with John Kerry and the Bush haters.
As senior White House correspondent for the Washington Times, Sammon has been granted extraordinary access to the president and his closest confidants, from political gurus Karl Rove and Andy Card to foreign policy advisers Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The result is a compelling chronicle of the second eighteen months of George W. Bush's term, as the administration's focus shifts from al Qaeda and Afghanistan to Iraq and the 2004 election. Sammon's on-the-scene reporting and exclusive interviews with the president and his top advisers reveal how the White House is implementing the most profound shift in U.S. foreign policy in more than half a century, prompting an eminent Democratic historian to rank Bush alongside John Quincy Adams and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of America's "grand" strategists.
Misunderestimated also meticulously tracks the rise of the Bush haters, a disturbing political phenomenon that colors everything from the war on terrorism to the presidential campaign. The impact extends to the press, which Sammon exposes for racing to brand Operation Iraqi Freedom another Vietnam "quagmire" less than eighteen months after making the same blunder during the Afghan war.
Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media. Sammon is the author of Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media (Regnery Publishing, 2006). Regnery's promotional materials state of the book:
Strategery chronicles the perpetually "misunderestimated" president as he vanquishes John Kerry and then embarks on a breathtakingly audacious second-term agenda. He vows to rein in the judicial activism of a runaway Supreme Court, defeat the "Bush haters" who blame him for Hurricane Katrina, and, in his spare time, end tyranny around the globe. Strategery is a remarkably vivid portrait of the president as he is seldom seen.
Strategery is the third installment in a multi-volume set of New York Times bestsellers chronicling this unlikely yet historic presidency, written with verve and piercing insight by Bill Sammon, who has been granted unprecedented access to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Karl Rove, and other senior White House officials.
The Evangelical President: George Bush's Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World. Sammon is the author of The Evangelical President: George Bush's Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World (Regnery Publishing, 2007). Regnery's promotional materials state of the book:
Look at the polls today and you might think President Bush is a failure. The media is relentlessly hostile to him. His party lost both houses of Congress in the 2006 election. And yet...and yet, his presidency could be one of the most important in modern times. George W. Bush not only faced an unprecedented attack on the American homeland, but he also responded with an ambitious effort to remake the world --an effort being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq and in smaller skirmishes around the globe, an effort that for all its setbacks still might succeed, with revolutionary consequences.
But through it all, Sammon shows that President Bush took the high road, fighting to spread moral democracy around the world while the low-minded press focused on Vice President Cheney's accidental shooting of a friend while hunting and Virginia senator George Allen's use of the word macaca on the campaign trail
The Evangelical President is an unforgettable glimpse of a president at war, supported by an evangelical belief that tyranny should be overthrown, democracy supported, and America defended, combined with a steely stubbornness to see those goals through.
President of the Sammon book club: Sean Hannity
"I highly recommend" At Any Cost. Also during the May 9, 2001, interview, referencing an anecdote Sammon reported in At Any Cost, Sean Hannity said, "That is a great part of your book, and how you went out and got a story that nobody else did," adding, "Good stuff." He also said of the book, "I highly recommend it."
Misunderestimated "is a terrific book, and I hope everyone goes out and gets it." During a May 12, 2004, interview on Hannity & Colmes (accessed from Nexis), Hannity credited Sammon with getting "more access and later access" for Misunderestimated than Bob Woodward, adding "I love the fact that you get this access that you do. I mean, it's pretty amazing for you." Hannity later said of Misunderestimated: "I learned more about the president from this book. This is a terrific book, and I hope everyone goes out and gets it."
"I got to give you credit" for Strategery; "I can't put the book down!" Interviewing Sammon on the February 27, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity said of Strategery, "Well, you've done some great reporting. I love the first part of this book." He later added: "You know, I got to give you credit. I can't put the book down! ... I'm getting so much out of it. You had more access, I think, than anybody I know with the president of the United States. And I don't know anybody who he's been more forthcoming with than you."
The Evangelical President is "a great read, and I hope everyone gets it." On the September 25, 2007, edition of Hannity & Colmes (accessed from Nexis), Hannity said to Sammon of The Evangelical President, "I've got to tell you, once again you have more time with the president. I get more insight out of who he is from your books. Congratulations, once again to you." He added of the book, "It really is a great read, and I hope everybody gets it. Beacause you have all this time with him, which is unprecedented."
Critics: Sammon is "friendly" to Bush, told White House "side of the story"
Press to Sammon on "one-sided" At Any Cost: "[D]id the Republican National Committee ask you to write this book?" Interviewing Sammon on the May 28, 2001, edition of CNN's Crossfire, Bill Press asked regarding At Any Cost (accessed from Nexis):
I just want you to relax, because no one will accuse you of being balanced in your book or of treating both sides the same.
Seriously, I have read -- I'm a junky about political campaigns. I've read most books about political campaigns starting with Teddy White, "Making of the President 1960." I've never read one that is so blatantly one-sided as your book. I have to ask you: did the Republican National Committee ask you to write this book?
Sammon replied that they had not, saying that he includes "some things in the book that are not too favorable to Republicans" while acknowledging that Gore is the book's "antagonist."
Colmes asks Sammon if he had a "predisposition" in writing At Any Cost. Interviewing Sammon on the May 9, 2001, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes (accessed from Nexis), Alan Colmes asked, "I wonder if you came to this with a predisposition one way or the other. Was it your idea -- I mean, you said you talked to Bush and Cheney. Did you try to talk to Gore and Lieberman?" Sammon said he gave "a fair shot to all sides," and said his book is "not about ideology."
Press asks if Sammon was "used by the White House to write a puff piece" in Fighting Back. On the October 11, 2002, edition of CNN's Buchanan & Press (accessed from Nexis), Press asked Sammon: "You brag in the book about having unprecedented access to the president. You write a very positive story about his leadership in the war on terror. Do you feel that maybe you were used by the White House to write a puff piece and tell their side of the story?" Sammon replied that he had written a "very balanced book."
Colmes: Bush "knows you're going to be friendly to him. ... You're friendly to him in" Strategery. Also on the February 27, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Colmes suggested Sammon got so much access to Bush for Misunderestimated and Strategery because Bush "knows you're going to be friendly to him. You were friendly to him in the first book. You're friendly to him in this book." Sammon replied that he doesn't "pull any punches."
Reviewers: Sammon books are "conservative polemic" that show his "disgust" with Gore and "admiration" of Bush
Wash. Times review: At Any Cost shows Sammon's "disgust with" Al Gore. In a June 26, 2001, review (accessed from Nexis) of At Any Cost for The Washington Times - where Sammon was White House correspondent at the time - William Murchison referenced Sammon's "outrage at the effrontery of Mr. Gore's strategy" during the 2000 recount. Murchison also writes that "Mr. Sammon's disgust with Mr. Gore takes a back seat only to his disgust with his own illustrious profession."
Plain Dealer review: At Any Cost is "a conservative polemic," a "mean-spirited political assessment." In June 24, 2001, review (accessed from Nexis) of At Any Cost for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sammon's former employer, Dylan Foley writes: "Bluntly put, 'At Any Cost' is a conservative polemic in which Sammon uses his reporting skills to advance his thesis that Al Gore and the Gore campaign used fraud and deceit to try to snatch the presidency from George W. Bush. The book is a mix of good journalism and mean-spirited political assessment of the Florida vote-counting scandals." He concludes: "In a college course 20 years from now, 'At Any Cost' would deserve a place on the syllabus as a conservative view of the Florida disgrace. It's a well-written book by an established journalist that would be an enjoyable book for conservative true believers."
Wash. Times review: In Fighting Back, Sammon "makes no secret of his admiration of the president." In an October 27, 2002, review (accessed from Nexis) of Fighting Back for The Washington Times, Roger Fontaine writes that in the book, Sammon, "makes no secret of his admiration of the president -- which is fine -- there is plenty of the opposite from other journalists and pundits who don't fare too well in this account."
Sammon's publisher exists to promote the conservative movement
Regnery states they are "central to the conservative movement today." According to their website, "When the Henry Regnery Company first opened its doors in 1947, its mission was to contribute to the rebuilding of Western civilization after World War II, publishing serious works of cultural recovery, including, as it turned out, establishing and sustaining the postwar conservative intellectual movement in America." They tout the "classics of modern American conservatism they have published, and conclude:
The conservative movement has grown, over the last 62 years, from a few intellectuals, economists, editorial writers, and authors to become the most vibrant political and intellectual movement that the country has ever known. Regnery Publishing is as central to the conservative movement today, as it was nearly sixty two years ago when Henry Regnery helped start it.
Regnery describes itself as "the nation's preeminent conservative publisher." A letter from Regnery president and publisher Marji Ross, posted on Regnery's website, describes the company as "the nation's preeminent conservative publisher." The website also states that Regnery "is as central to the conservative movement today, as it was nearly sixty two years ago when Henry Regnery helped start it." Regnery is "a subsidiary of Eagle Publishing, considered by many America's leading conservative publishing company."
Regnery publishes a "Who's Who" of the conservative movement. Regnery authors include: Haley Barbour, Bill Bennett, Tony Blankley, Pat Buchanan, Jerome Corsi, Ann Coulter, Erick Erickson, Steve Forbes, Maggie Gallagher, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert, Laura Ingraham, Terence Jeffrey, Wayne LaPierre, G. Gordon Liddy, Rich Lowry, Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, Mitt Romney, Peter Sprigg, Marc Thiessen, and Emmett Tyrrell.
Sammon defended Tea Party from media "hate"
Sammon: "The mainstream media hates the Tea Party movement" because it is "a big threat." On the February 7 edition of Fox News Sunday, discussing the National Tea Party Convention, Sammon said (accessed from Nexis): "the mainstream media hates the Tea Party movement almost as much as it hates Sarah Palin. And the reason is simple. That's because both are a threat. Palin is a threat down the road, whether it be in 2012 or beyond. The Tea Party is a threat because it is galvanizing Republicans." Sammon added: "So Tea Partiers are a big threat to the press. And that's why you're seeing so much of this Tea Party derangement syndrome, just like you saw the Palin derangement syndrome."
Todd: "[A]bsurd attack" "hurts journalism on every network." In a February 7 tweet, Todd responded: "Come on Bill Sammon, an absurd attack and you know it: that 'MSM' hates tea party movement? Please. Didn't expect a shot like that from u." In a February 9 interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Todd said that Sammon made an "unbelievable comment coming from a news executive," adding that the "crazy accusation" "only denigrates all of us" and "hurts journalism on every network."
Calderone: Sammon's "unsubstantiated claims of bias" that was "insulting." On February 7, then-Politico media reporter Michael Calderone characterized Sammon's statement as "unsubstantiated claims of bias" and "blanket criticism of the press" for which Sammon had "offered no examples." He also wrote: "It's insulting for a top news executive to say that mainstream media reporters on the ground in Nashville -- most likely just trying to cover the speeches, listen to what attendees are thinking, and look at where the movement may be headed -- are motivated by hatred."
VandeHei: "Bill Sammon should not have made that comment." In an interview on the February 8 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Politico executive editor Jim VandeHei said of Sammon (accessed from Nexis), "Bill Sammon should not have made that comment. He's running the - he's running your news division. ... He thinks all reporters, he thinks Chuck Todd, he thinks other White House reporters, other political reporters hate the Tea Party movement and hate Sarah Palin? He has no clue. He can't even -- you won't be able to prove that charge to begin with. And I think that most political reporters are looking at this as students of politics."
Sammon previously wrote for conservative Wash. Times and Wash. Examiner
Before joining Fox News, Sammon was the senior White House correspondent for the Washington Examiner, where he worked from April 2006 to August 2008. From 1997 to 2006, Sammon worked in a similar capacity for The Washington Times.
Wash. Times founded as conservative paper. A May 1982 New York Times article stated that the inaugural edition of The Washington Times contained an editorial by then-editor and publisher James Whelan stating that the newspaper would embrace "a conservatism we believe as relevant and vital to the solution of man's problems today as it was in the mind and struggles of Edmund Burke two centuries ago." The Washington Post reported in 2002 that Rev. Sun Myung Moon founded The Washington Times "to combat communism and be a conservative alternative to what he perceived as the liberal bias of The Washington Post," quoting then-editor in chief Wesley Pruden as saying, "We're conservative on the editorial page and in story selection, but we do not strive to write conservative stories." In a December 3, 2009, Post article, Howard Kurtz wrote that the paper "gained a strong foothold in a politically obsessed city as a conservative alternative to much of the mainstream media," and that under Pruden and his predecessor, "the Times pursued a right-leaning path."
Examiner gives its owner "a megaphone for his right-wing views," hosts numerous conservative writers. An October 16, 2009, Politico article on Examiner owner Philip Anschutz stated that the paper has "given him a megaphone for his right-wing views on taxes, national security and President Barack Obama that the 130 or so companies he owns have not provided him." The Politico continued:
He started the Examiner in early 2005 as local competition to The Washington Post, but with a clear ideological stamp. When it came to the editorial page, Anschutz's instructions were explicit -- he "wanted nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers," said one former employee.
And recently the paper's politics have become more pronounced while adding a stable of writers plucked from conservative outlets and think tanks, including chief political correspondent Byron York (National Review), senior political analyst Michael Barone (American Enterprise Institute, Fox News) and investigative reporter David Freddoso (National Review, author of "The Case Against Barack Obama").
[Stephen] Smith, executive editor since 2007, said that despite having conservative columnists, the Examiner "plays is straight" when it comes to the day's news. "If you're a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, you're probably not going to get up on your hind legs and applaud us," Smith said. "If you are a centrist or a little bit right of center and feel frustrated with the Post -- and we all know people who feel frustrated with the Post, as good as it is -- I think we're an appealing alternative."
Still, many of those conservative staffers also write news stories, and the Examiner's management comes with pretty clear political beliefs. Chris Stirewalt, the paper's political editor, and Matthew Sheffield, managing editor for the website, are both conservatives -- the latter also serving as executive editor of NewsBusters, a site that bills itself as "the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias."
Fox's Washington bureau under Bill Sammon: Home to false stories, smears, and cheerleading for the GOP
Since Bill Sammon took over as Fox News Washington managing editor on February 26, 2009, Fox News correspondents and shows based out of Washington, DC, have run with false stories as well as smears of Democrats and progressives and blatant cheerleading for the Republican Party. Among the most egregious:
Goler reverses meaning of Obama quote to falsely suggest he supports European-style health care. On the April 24, 2009, edition of Special Report, White House correspondent Wendell Goler cropped a comment by Obama and took it out of context -- effectively reversing the statement's meaning -- to falsely suggest that Obama supports creating a health care system "like the European countries." Goler claimed that Obama "doesn't want to do it halfway" on health care, and then aired a clip from a March 26 online town hall event of Obama saying, "If you're going to fix it, why not do a universal health-care system like the European countries?" Following the clip, Goler reported: "His critics worry universal health care would mean government-run health care." In fact, Obama actually said, "Now, the question is, if you're going to fix it, why not do a universal health-care system like the European countries?" [emphasis added] In doing so, Obama was paraphrasing the town hall question he had been asked -- "Why can we not have a universal health-care system, like many European countries, where people are treated based on needs rather than financial resources?" -- before explaining why he opposed such a system.
Fox's Garrett deceptively cropped Obama remark on judicial role. On the May 1, 2009, edition of Special Report, correspondent Major Garrett aired a clip in which Obama said of the qualities he would seek in a Supreme Court justice: "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes." Garrett then said: "That aggravates those who believe justices should follow the Constitution and legislative intent." But Garrett omitted Obama's very next sentence, in which he stated: "I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role."
"Death book" distortions abound on Fox News Sunday. On the August 23, 2009, edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace hosted former Bush administration aide Jim Towey to discuss his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "The Death Book for Veterans," and in doing so promoted numerous distortions about an end-of-life educational booklet used by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In addition to forwarding the smear that the booklet is a "death book," Wallace promoted Towey's distortion that the booklet encourages veterans to "pull the plug" -- it doesn't -- Wallace and Towey both suggested that the Bush administration suspended use of the booklet -- it didn't -- and Wallace claimed that a VHA document requires doctors to direct veterans to the booklet -- it doesn't.
Wallace tries and fails to salvage serial liar O'Keefe's credibility. On September 27, 2009, Wallace helped conservative videographer James O'Keefe defend his dwindling credibility by advancing several of O'Keefe's claims without noting that they are contradicted by readily available evidence. Wallace suggested that O'Keefe "denies reports" by Media Matters that O'Keefe, in Wallace's words, "got any money from conservative backers" -- without noting that the evidence Media Matters highlighted consisted of public statements by conservatives that they had funded O'Keefe in the past or planned to raise money for O'Keefe and his partner, Hannah Giles, in the future.
Since the time of Wallace's interview, O'Keefe has pleaded guilty to a federal crime and reportedly planned to "seduce" and publically humiliate a CNN reporter. Furthermore, it has become clear that O'Keefe advanced the lie that he dressed as a pimp when entering ACORN offices around the country.
Wilson falsely claims that Education Department official Jennings "admitted" that "he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man." On the October 6, 2009, edition of Special Report, correspondent Brian Wilson stated: "School safety czar Kevin Jennings is currently under fire because he admitted that in 1988, when he was a high school teacher, he failed to alert authorities when a 15-year-old boy told him he was involved in a sexual relationship with an older man. One member of the House believes Jennings would not have his current job if czars were required to face Senate confirmation hearings." Wilson repeated the 15-year old age claim even though FoxNews.com previously acknowledged that the student was of legal age -- 16 years old -- at the time.
Special Report runs with ridiculous suggestion that White House Christmas tree promoted Mao. On December 22, 2009, Baier reported that there were "some interesting ornaments" on the White House Christmas tree. He later added: "They include the communist leader Mao; drag queen -- celebrity queen -- Hedda Lettuce, who boasts on her Web site about her ornament being featured in the White House; and Mt. Rushmore with a familiar face [President Obama] added." The story was first reported by fact-free smearer Andrew Breitbart. In fact, there were more than 800 ornaments on that tree, and as Baier noted immediately afterwards, "The First Lady's office says local community groups were asked to decorate hundreds of ornaments but that they are unaware of these specific decorations."
Moreover, as the Los Angeles Times' Culture Monster blog explained, the image of Mao adorning one ornament was actually "one of a very large series of silkscreen paintings and prints [Andy Warhol] made of Mao. Warhol's parody transformed the leader of the world's most populous nation into a vapid superstar -- the most famous of the famous."
Special Report redefines "nuclear option" to suggest Democrats are hypocrites. On February 24, Baier said that the Senate process of budget reconciliation "was once called the nuclear option" and then aired clips of what he claimed were Democrats criticizing the "nuclear option" "when Republicans were using it." In fact, the term "nuclear option" was coined by former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), one of the leading advocates of the proposal to change the Senate rules on filibusters for judicial nominations. After Republican strategists deemed the term a political liability, Republican senators began to attribute it to Democrats. As Media Matters for America noted, at the time, many in the news media followed suit, repeating the Republicans' false attribution of the term to the Democrats.
Special Report declares Tea Party Express to be the "21st Century version" of the Boston Tea Party. On April 14, Bret Baier and correspondent Molly Line hyped a Tea Party Express event in Boston featuring Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. Baier called it the "21st Century version" of the Boston Tea Party and Line said: "When angry colonials disguised as Indians dumped tea into Boston Harbor in 1773, it helped spark the American Revolution. And today, the Tea Party Express roared into Beantown, hoping to ignite a second revolution."
Special Report allows GOP Sen. DeMint to direct viewers to his PAC's fundraising site. On the September 15 edition of Special Report, Washington, D.C.,-based correspondent James Rosen aired a pre-taped interview with tea party kingmaker Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). One of the quotes Rosen aired from DeMint was DeMint saying "people can come to senateconservatives.com" - a website for DeMint's political action committee -- "and give directly to candidates."
Fox News Sunday doesn't disclose that "Power Player of the Week" is on News Corp.'s payroll. On the September 26 edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace named Republican Governors Association executive director Nick Ayers the "Power Player of the Week." Wallace referenced the success the RGA has had in raising funds to elect Republican governors in 2010, but did not note that Fox News parent company News Corp. had donated $1 million to the RGA earlier that year.
Special Report repeatedly did segments on U.S. Chamber of Commerce without disclosing News Corp.'s $1 million donation to it. In an October 7 report on questions over whether the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been using foreign donations to finance campaign ads, correspondent Molly Hennenberg noted that News Corp., the parent of Fox News, had made a $1 million donation to the chamber. Since then, Special Report ran at least six segments on the Chamber, without disclosing News Corp.'s donation.