Fox News anchor Bret Baier responded to a new book reporting that in 2010, President Obama criticized the network for pushing the myth that Obama "is a Muslim" by saying: "For the record, we found no examples of a host saying President Obama is a Muslim." In fact, Fox has repeatedly questioned and promoted falsehoods about Obama's faith, including pushing the false claim that Obama attended a "madrassa."
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New Book Reports That Obama Faulted Fox News For Feeding Muslim Myth
Politico: New Book Claims Obama Said In 2010, "Fed By Fox News, They Hear Obama Is A Muslim 24/7, And It Begins To Seep In." From Politico:
President Barack Obama blamed Fox News for his political woes in a private meeting with labor leaders in 2010, saying he was "losing white males" who tune into the cable outlet and "hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7," according to journalist David Corn's new book, "Showdown."
In "Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party" -- which hits bookstores on Tuesday -- the Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones chronicles the White House from the 2010 midterm elections to the start of the 2012 campaign. The book focuses on key moments of Obama's presidency, such as Osama bin Laden's assassination, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Arab Spring, the debt ceiling crisis, and the president's dealings with Congress.
Corn writes that after the midterm elections, Obama told labor leaders in December 2010 that he held Fox partly responsible for him "losing white males."
"...Fed by Fox News, they hear Obama is a Muslim 24/7, and it begins to seep in...The Republicans have been at this for 40 years. They have new resources, but the strategy is old," Corn recounted Obama as saying. [Politico, 3/19/12]
Baier Responds: "We Found No Examples Of A Host Saying President Obama Is A Muslim"
Baier: "For The Record, We Found No Examples Of A Host Saying President Obama Is A Muslim." On Special Report, Bret Baier pushed back against a new book reporting that President Obama blamed Fox News in December 2010 for spreading the myth that he is a Muslim by saying: "For the record, we found no examples of a host saying President Obama is a Muslim." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 3/19/12]
In Fact, Fox -- Including Special Report -- Has Repeatedly Questioned Obama's Faith
Special Report On Obama: "Islam Or Isn't He?" During a June 2009 segment, Special Report aired a quote by Obama foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough, in which he talked about how Obama "experienced Islam on three continents" and spent part of his childhood in Indonesia with a Muslim father. Special Report included this question above the quote: "Islam Or Isn't He?" [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 6/3/09]
Charles Krauthammer: Obama "Does Have A Muslim Upbringing ... And An Affinity for Islam As A Result." On Special Report, discussing an Obama trip to the Middle East, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer stated: "I think it's good for the president to use the fact that he does have a Muslim upbringing, relations, contacts, and an affinity for Islam as a result. That's important. He should use that in trying to warm relations with the Muslim world." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 6/3/09]
Brian Kilmeade Asks, "If [Obama] Was Worried" About People Thinking He's Muslim, "Wouldn't He Have ... Kept His Name As Barry And Not Barack?" On the August 30, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade reacted to news that "24 percent of this country thinks the president is a Muslim" by asking, "If he was worried about that, wouldn't he have changed -- kept his name as Barry and not Barack?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/30/10]
Fox Contributor Steve Hayes: "It's Hard To Sort Of Unwind" Idea Obama Is A Muslim "Now." From the August 20, 2010 edition of Fox News' Special Report:
CHRIS WALLACE (guest host): Meanwhile, the White House on Martha's Vineyard, Steve, dealing today with the fallout from these new polls indicating that a growing number of people think Obama is a Muslim, not a Christian. How do you think they're handling damage control on that issue, which is invented, and the issue of their own making, which is the president's comments on the mosque?
STEVE HAYES: Well, I think they're struggling to find the right line. They want to be sensitive, and the president spent a lot of time with outreach to what he calls the Muslim world. I think given the fact that they've done that for 18 months, it's hard to sort of unwind it now. But I agree with what Charles said last night. We're likely to see him going to church a lot more. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 8/20/10]
Hume Falsely Claimed Obama's Half-Brother Said Obama Had A "Muslim Background." On the June 16, 2008, edition of Special Report, then-host Brit Hume stated that Malik Obama, Barack Obama's half-brother, "tells The Jerusalem Post that 'if elected his brother will be a good president for the Jewish people, despite his Muslim background.'" [Fox News, Special Report, 6/16/08]
- Hume Issued On-Air Correction For False Claim. From the June 24, 2008, edition of Special Report:
HUME: And finally, last week, we quoted The Jerusalem Post in the story about Barack Obama's half-brother Malik Obama. The Post reported that in an interview with Israeli Army Radio, Malik Obama said his brother would be a good president despite his Muslim background. It now turns out that the Post did not quite understand what Malik Obama was saying in the interview and paraphrased him incorrectly. Malik Obama did not say that his older brother has a Muslim background. The Jerusalem Post has since removed the story from its website, and we regret the error. [Fox News, Special Report, 6/24/08]
On Fox, Donald Trump Claimed Obama's Birth Certificate "Maybe ... Says He Is A Muslim." On The O'Reilly Factor, frequent guest Donald Trump said:
TRUMP: Listen, I have a birth certificate. I have my birth certificate. And in fact, they said the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough. So I actually got the one from the Health Department, which is the perfect one. Because they were saying the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough, so I got the other. People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn't born in this country, it's one of the great scams of all time. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/30/11]
Fox Nation Promoted Trump's Claim That Obama May Be A Muslim. Fox Nation promoted Trump's claims that Obama may be a Muslim, writing: "Trump On Obama: 'Maybe He's a Muslim.' "
[Fox Nation, 3/30/11]
Fox Guest Suggested Obama Is Secretly Muslim. Fox & Friends hosted controversial Pastor Robert Jeffress, who said:
JEFFRESS: Steve, let's look at what really is going on here. On the one hand, we have a president who never met a Muslim holiday he didn't like, or at least wasn't willing to issue a proclamation for, and on the other hand, here he is refusing to acknowledge publicly the most important event in Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And yet the White House is wondering, why do 20 percent of Americans think the president is a Muslim? Well, as my kids would say, duh. I mean, it's actions like these that really make people wonder what it is the president really believes. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 4/26/11]
Fox Has Repeatedly Questioned Obama's Christian Faith
Fox Hosted "Conservative Comedian" Who Claimed Obama Is "Faking" Being Christian. Fox & Friends hosted "conservative comedian" Brad Stine, who said of the president: "If Santorum doesn't want to question his Christianity, I will, because he's not really part of that." Stine continued, "why can't Obama be slammed for faking [Christianity]?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/20/12]
On Fox, Lars Larson Claimed Obama "Bows Down To Leaders Of ... Muslim Countries And Then He Disses Easter In His Own Country." On Fox News' America Live, guest host Shannon Bream stated: "The president and White House often seem very frustrated about these polling numbers that come out that show a significant amount of Americans question the president's faith and wonder whether he's truly Muslim, even though he says again and again he is a Christian." She then asked: "So is it fair for the White House to take a little heat that he didn't step up and be more vocal on Easter?" Radio host Lars Larson stated that Obama "is paying more attention" to Muslim holidays. Larson also said:
LARSON: The president of the United States is the public face of this country. This country has a deep tradition in Christianity, although it's a pluralistic country that welcomes all. And yet, why is it that the president somehow seems to forget about the highest Christian holiday and remembers all the rest of them, including made-up phony, baloney ones like Kwanzaa. Now, that's I think just wrong. This president and the fact that his spokesman comes out and laughs it off as, oh, this isn't a big deal -- it is a big deal when the president of the United States fails to recognize this major Christian holiday but seems to remember all the rest of them.
I'm with Juan. I mean, the fact is, is that we joke a lot about whether or not the president chose a whole lot of deference to Muslims and seems to forget Christians. And of course his own path -- past is with a church that seemed to be, you know, focused around hating America. But all that aside, the president should've recognized Easter like he recognizes other holidays, or don't recognize any of them at all. He's not doing a good job as the public face of America, as usual.
LARSON: The president goes over and bows down to leaders of foreign -- of Muslim countries and then he disses Easter in his own country. That's just not reasonable. [Fox News, America Live, 4/26/11]
Hannity: "I'm Not Questioning His Religion, But People" Asked Why Obama Wouldn't Issue Easter Proclamation. Discussing why "the White House doesn't release an Easter proclamation despite several proclamations for holidays of other religions," Sean Hannity stated, "I'm not questioning his religion, but people said, 'Why wouldn't he do it on this?' " [Fox News, Hannity, 4/25/11]
Hannity Guest Suggested Obama Doesn't Have "A Personal Relationship With God." Responding to Obama's statement that he receives a daily devotional on his BlackBerry containing "a passage, Scripture, in some cases quotes from other faiths to reflect on," Hannity guest, author Richard Miniter, said, "Sean, the big question is, what are the other faiths? Is he talking about Islam? ... Every president has had a personal relationship with God. And for him to say, well, some days it's Buddha, some days it's Jesus, it's kind of strange." After Kristen Powers noted that President Bush didn't go to church, Hannity stated, "I know for a fact that he had Bible study often. And the thing -- he wasn't receiving, you know, devotional, daily devotionals, as you point out, from one faith after another." [Fox News, Hannity, 2/2/10]
Fox Contributor Morris: Obama's Interpretation Of His Faith Is "Not How The Average Christian In The United States" Would Put It. On September 29, 2010, Fox News' America's Newsroom hosted Father Jonathan Morris -- a Catholic priest and Fox News contributor -- to analyze Obama's statements about why he became a Christian. Morris stated:
MORRIS: You know, not too bad. Charitably interpreted, pretty good. But it's not how the average Christian in the United States would answer that question. "I'm a Christian by choice." "It was the precepts of Christianity -- of Jesus Christ that attracted me." The precepts. That's not how the average Christian would respond. Christianity for most Christians who have it as a big part of their life, it's a falling in love not with precepts. Who's going to fall in love with the Ten Commandments? It's the falling in love with -- or the getting to know personally -- a person named Jesus of Nazareth.
MORRIS: The fact that he has not chosen a church after two years in Washington also says something. Does it mean he's a bad Christian? Far be it for me to say that. It says something. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 9/29/10]
Fox Nation Promoted Coulter's Claim That Obama Is An Atheist. On September 1, 2010, Fox Nation promoted a column by Ann Coulter claiming that Obama is an atheist, using the headline: "Obama Is Not A Muslim, But...." [Fox Nation, 9/1/10]
Former Fox Host Glenn Beck: Obama's Comments On His Christian Faith Are "Not Something That Most Christians Recognize." From the August 29, 2010, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:
BECK: What does the president believe? Four different speeches since he's been president, he has told -- and mainly students -- that your salvation is directly tied to the collective salvation. That -- that's not something that most Christians recognize.
I don't -- I'm not demonizing it. I disagree with it. The pope has said -- he's actually demonized it. People aren't recognizing his version of Christianity, just like -- and 48 percent of the African American community doesn't recognize it either, by the way. They didn't recognize it with Jeremiah Wright. They don't recognize it now. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 8/29/10]
Beck On Obama's Beliefs: "That's Not The Church That Jesus Taught About." From the August 24, 2010, edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
BECK: He said, quote, "So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where there's obviously a lot of eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. Between the ages of 6 and 10, my father was from Kenya and though he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. I probably have to say, intellectually, I have drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith."
Well, OK, and now, we're confused why people are confused what he is? Where did he come from? We have Christian, eastern religion influences, Kenyan, agnosticism, Judaism and Islam. But America is expected to be solidly convinced he's a Christian.
BECK: So you top everything else off with, 'There are many paths to the same place.' Well, many Christians will say that's not true. That's not the church that Jesus taught about. That is the church that Oprah teaches about. And by the way, why wouldn't it be? Oprah Winfrey attended Reverend Wright's church for years. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 8/24/10]
During '08 Campaign, Fox News Promoted Smear That Obama Was Raised In A "Madrassa"
Fox & Friends Pushed False Smear That Obama Attended A "Madrassa." On the January 19, 2007, editions of Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade, along with co-hosts Steve Doocy and Gretchen Carlson, spent several segments advancing a false report that then-Sen. Barack Obama was raised a Muslim and attended a madrassa, or Islamic school, as a child in Indonesia. At one point, Doocy asked: "When people find out this stuff, they're going to go, 'Why didn't anybody ever mention that that man right there was raised as -- spent the first decade of his life raised by his Muslim father as a Muslim and was educated in a madrassa?' " [Fox News, Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends, 1/19/07]
- Fox & Friends Had To "Clarify" Their Remarks. On the January 22, 2007, edition of Fox & Friends First, Doocy said he had to "clarify" the show's reporting on the fabricated madrassa story, stating that "Mr. Obama's people called and they said that that is absolutely false. They said the idea that Barack Obama went to a radical Muslim school is completely ridiculous." [Fox News, Fox & Friends First, 1/22/07]
On Fox News, Coulter Repeatedly Claimed Obama "Attended Madrassas." On the December 28, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor and the December 30, 2009, edition of Glenn Beck, conservative columnist Ann Coulter said Obama attended madrassas as a child. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/28/09; Glenn Beck, 12/30/09]
For more Fox attacks on Obama's faith, click here