Fox's Four-Year Campaign To Make Obama A One-Term President


Since the election of President Obama in 2008, Fox News has engaged in an ongoing and escalating campaign to prevent him from winning a second term. At all levels, the network has continued to violate ethical standards by promoting any and all causes that further its goal of making Obama a one-term president.

After Obama's Election, Fox News Declared Itself "The Voice Of The Opposition"

Fox Parent Company Donated Millions To Republican Causes

Fox Figures Aggressively Supported GOP Candidates And Organizations

Fox Played Key Role In Shaping And Promoting The GOP Presidential Primary

Fox Aggressively Supported The Anti-Obama Tea Party Movement

Fox Provided Republicans With In-Kind Donations of Airtime

Fox Continues To Employ Prominent GOP Fundraiser Karl Rove Despite Ethical Conflict

Fox Newsers And Executives Tried To Influence GOP Elections And Causes

Fox Executives Pushed Fox News' Anti-Obama Messaging Coverage Against Obama

After Obama's Election, Fox News Declared Itself "The Voice Of The Opposition"

Roger Ailes On Obama's Election: "I See This As The Alamo." A March 6, 2009, Los Angeles Times article reported that, in a meeting with former Fox News host Glenn Beck, Fox News CEO Roger Ailes declared that his network would challenge the Obama administration, reportedly saying "I see this as the Alamo." From The Los Angeles Times:

Before Glenn Beck started his new show on Fox News in January, he sat down with Roger Ailes, the network's chief executive, to make sure they were on the same page.

"I wanted to meet with Roger and tell him, 'You may not want to put me on the air. I believe we are in dire trouble, and I will never shut up,' " said the conservative radio host.

But before Beck could say anything, Ailes shared a message of his own: The country faced tough times, he said, and Fox News was one of the only news outlets willing to challenge the new administration.

"I see this as the Alamo," Ailes said, according to Beck. "If I just had somebody who was willing to sit on the other side of the camera until the last shot is fired, we'd be fine." [Los Angeles Times, 3/6/09]

Fox Senior VP Bill Shine: Fox News Is "The Voice Of The Opposition" To Obama. A March 23, 2009, National Public Radio report quoted Bill Shine, Fox News' senior vice president for programming, as describing the network as "the voice of the opposition on some issues" to "this particular group of people in power right now." From NPR:

"There were a couple of people who basically wrote about our demise come last November [and] December and were, I guess, rooting for us to go away," said Bill Shine, senior vice president for programming at the Fox News Channel. "With this particular group of people in power right now, and the honeymoon they've had from other members of the media, does it make it a little bit easier for us to be the voice of opposition on some issues?" [NPR, 3/23/09]

Fox Took "A Hard Right Turn After Obama's Election." In a September 25, 2011, article in Newsweek, media critic Howard Kurtz reported that, according to executives at Fox, the "entire network took a hard right turn after Obama's election." From Newsweek:

He calls it a "course correction," quietly adopted at Fox over the last year. Glenn Beck's inflammatory rhetoric -- his ranting about Obama being a racist -- "became a bit of a branding issue for us" before the hot-button host left in July, Ailes says. So too did Sarah Palin's being widely promoted as the GOP's potential savior -- in large measure through her lucrative platform at Fox. Privately, Fox executives say the entire network took a hard right turn after Obama's election, but, as the Tea Party's popularity fades, is edging back toward the mainstream. [Newsweek9/25/11, via Daily Beast]

Fox Parent Company Donated Millions To Republican Causes

News Corp. Donated $1 Million To GOP Governors Group, Citing Their Support For RGA's "Pro-Business Agenda." In 2010, News Corporation donated $1 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the GOP organization that helps coordinate Republican gubernatorial campaigns and pays for independent ads in support of their candidates. In a quote to Politico, a News Corp. spokesman justified their donation by saying, "News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA's pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy."[Media Matters8/16/10]

News Corp. Later Gave $250,000 More To RGA. Later in 2010, News Corp. subsidiary News America Inc. donated an additional $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association. The added donation brought News Corp.'s total contribution for the year to $1.25 million. [The New York Times10/16/10]

News Corp. Donated $1 Million To Pro-GOP Chamber Of Commerce. In 2010, News Corp. also donated $1 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business lobby that, according to Politico, "has been running an aggressive campaign in support of the Republican effort to retake Congress." [Politico9/30/10]

Fox Figures Aggressively Supported GOP Candidates And Organizations

Fox News Figures Supported Republican Candidates And Organizations During Midterms. During the 2009-2010 election cycle, more than 30 Fox News personalities endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances. The Republican support was given to more than 300 different races or party organizations in at least 47 states. [Media Matters, 10/27/12]

Republicans Routinely Touted Fox News In Campaigning. Media Matters found that Republicans routinely touted the Fox News affiliation of their supporters. For example, on his September 13, 2010, Fox News program Hannity, host Sean Hannity told North Carolina congressional candidate Ilario Pantano that "you belong in Congress, I'm very impressed." In an email, Pantano highlighted the Fox News exchange to raise campaign funds. The campaign also issued a press release calling Hannity's praise a "significant achievement." [Media Matters, 9/17/10]

Fox Played Key Role In Shaping And Promoting The GOP Presidential Primary

New York Magazine: Ailes Was "A Crucial Constituency" For Potential GOP Candidates. A May 22, 2011, New York magazine profile of Roger Ailes noted that the Fox News executive held significant influence in the GOP presidential primary. The article quoted an anonymous member of the GOP who explained "you can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger." From New York magazine:

The truth is, for all the antics that often appear on his network, there is a seriousness that underlies Ailes's own politics. He still speaks almost daily with George H. W. Bush, one of the GOP's last great moderates, and a war hero, which especially impresses Ailes.

All the 2012 candidates know that Ailes is a crucial constituency. "You can't run for the Republican nomination without talking to Roger," one GOPer told me. "Every single candidate has consulted with Roger." But he hasn't found any of them, including the adults in the room--Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney--compelling. "He finds flaws in every one," says a person familiar with his thinking. [New York magazine, 5/22/11]

Fox Gave GOP Candidates 89 Hours Of Airtime Over 7-Month Period In 2011-2012. Between June 1, 2011, and January 22, 2012, Fox News, Fox Business, and Fox News Sunday gave declared and potential Republican presidential candidates a total of 89 hours and 40 minutes over 716 appearances. Newt Gingrich got the most total amount of airtime during that span, with more than 12 hours, while Gingrich and Rick Santorum made the most appearances with 85 each. [Media Matters1/26/12]

Fox Promoted "The Hannity Primary." In May 2011, A Fox News commercial touted host Sean Hannity's "special series on the GOP's presidential picks," calling it "The Hannity Primary." Hannity described how it worked: "We'll give each candidate a half-hour right here on this show to share his or her views with you, our audience." [Fox News, Your World With Neil Cavuto5/25/11; Fox News, Hannity5/27/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Huckabee: "If You Want To Talk To Voters In The Republican Primary, You Do O'Reilly, You Do Fox News." Discussing the Republican primary with Bill O'Reilly, Fox News host Mike Huckabee, said, "If you want to talk to voters in the Republican primary, you do O'Reilly, you do Fox News." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor10/14/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Morris: "You Don't Win Iowa In Iowa. You Win It On This Couch. You Win It On Fox News" And "In The Debates." Discussing the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses on Fox & Friends, Dick Morris said: "This is the phenomenon of this year's election. You don't win Iowa in Iowa. You win it on this couch. You win it on Fox News. You win it in the debates." Co-host Steve Doocy responded: "That could make this [couch] the most powerful piece of furniture in America." [Fox News, Fox & Friends12/7/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Morris Pocketed Money From Cain In The Morning, Defended Him On Fox At Night. Hours before a October 2011 Fox News appearance in which he defended presidential candidate Herman Cain, Dick Morris sent out two emails to his list "paid for" by Cain's campaign: a direct fundraising appeal from Cain, and a promotion of a softball interview between Morris and Cain. Morris later admitted on Fox that he has taken money from several Republican presidential candidates. [Media Matters11/1/11; Fox News, Hannity12/5/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Aggressively Supported The Anti-Obama Tea Party Movement

Tea Party Express Founder: "There Would Not Have Been A Tea Party Without Fox." A May 22 New York magazine profile on Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, headlined, "The Elephant in the Green Room," featured a quote from Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo. Russo stated: "There would not have been a tea party without Fox." [New York5/22/11]

GOP Consultant Highlighted Possible Friendly Coverage From "Fox News Commentators" In Proposing Tea Party Express Bus Tour. Following the April 15, 2009, Tea Parties, Joe Wierzbicki, a senior associate with the GOP consulting firm Russo Marsh, proposed creating the Tea Party Express bus tour in order to "give a boost to our PAC and position us as a growing force/leading force as the 2010 elections come into focus." Wierzbicki also wrote in the original memo proposing the creation of the Tea Party Express that the effort could get "some mentions and possibly even promotion from conservative/pro-tea party bloggers, talk radio hosts, Fox News commentators, etc..." [Media Matters11/2/10]

Media Matters Report Found Fox Aired At Least 20 Segments And 73 Promos On Tea Party Protests In Lead Up To 2009 Tax Day Protests. In April 2009, Media Matters reported that Fox News had frequently aired segments not only covering tea party protests but encouraging viewers to get involved. An April 15, 2009, study found that from April 6-13, Fox had aired 20 segments and 73 in-show and commercial promotions on the tea party protests scheduled for April 15. Many of those segments aired during one of Fox's supposedly objective news shows, America's Newsroom. [Media Matters, 4/8/09, 4/15/09]

Fox News Hosts Attended "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." In the days leading up to the "Tax Day" protests, Fox repeatedly aired on-screen text describing protests Fox news hosts would be attending as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." [Media Matters4/9/09]

Fox's Tax Day Coverage Promoted Protesters' Cause, Urged Viewer Involvement. As Media Matters has previously documented, Fox News and Fox Business also hyped the tea party during its coverage of the "Tax Day" protests on April 15, 2009. Hosts and guests on several shows, including the supposedly objective Happening Now and America's Newsroom, promoted the protesters' cause and urged viewers to join the protests and visit tea party websites. [Media Matters4/16/09]

Fox News "Hop[ped]" Aboard Tea Party Express With Rampant Promotions, Live Coverage. On August 28, 2009, Fox News devoted live coverage and publicity to the kickoff of the Tea Party Express. Fox News' coverage followed numerous promotions of the tour on Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Nation, and [Media Matters, 8/28/09]

Fox News' Embedded Reporter Jenkins Touted Tea Party Express. Despite his claim to be "simply reporting" on 2009 Tea Party Express rallies, Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins, who traveled with the cross-country bus tour, repeatedly expressed support for the protesters, whom he referred to as "the America that Washington forgot." [Media Matters9/2/09]

Tea Party Express Highlighted Fox News Coverage To Raise Money. In another fundraising email to supporters, the Tea Party Express highlighted Fox News' coverage while soliciting donations, writing that "CNN and Fox News have confirmed they will be covering the launch of the 'Tea Party Express II: Countdown to Judgment Day' -- and other national networks are arranging to cover the tour as well." [Media Matters,10/20/09]

"Back By Popular Demand": Fox News Promoted Tea Party Express II. During the October 25, 2009, edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday, co-host Dave Briggs hosted then-Tea Party Express co-chairman Mark Williams and tea party activist Lloyd Marcus, introducing them by stating: "Well, the bus tour that took the country by storm is back by popular demand. The Tea Party Express kicks off its second national tour today in San Diego, California." Briggs invited Williams -- who was a known birther -- to plug the organization's website and closed the interview by a playing portion of Marcus' "Tea Party Anthem." [Media Matters, 10/25/09]

Fox Nation Promoted The "Tea Party Express II." Fox Nation promoted the Tea Party Express II, asking readers, "Will You Join the Tea Party Express II?" Fox Nation also advertised the tour's start date and planned stops. [Media Matters, 10/13/09]

Tea Party Express Praised "Great Television News Coverage" From Fox News And CNN. In an email to supporters, the Tea Party Express praised "some of the great television news coverage this effort has received. Media coverage is an important aspect of the Tea Party Express tours -- it's all about getting our message out to millions of Americans -- to inform them that there is an active political resistance against the socialist agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid." [Media Matters, 11/17/09]

Fox Highlighted "Major Grassroots Support" Of Fox-Promoted Tea Party Express II. In October 2009, Fox Nation and Fox News both promoted the kickoff of the "Bigger & Better" Tea Party Express II. Tea Party Express' Mark Williams appeared on the November 12, 2009, edition of Fox & Friends to discuss the conclusion of the Tea Party Express II tour. Co-host Gretchen Carlson noted that the tour "focused on small town U.S.A.," while Steve Doocy lauded the tour for its "major grassroots support." [Media Matters11/2/10]

Fox Provided Unending Coverage Of Tea Party Express III Kickoff Rally, Along With Its Keynote Speaker. Fox News provided all-day coverage of the March 27, 2010, kickoff rally for the Tea Party Express III bus tour, with the network's hosts and on-site reporter Casey Stegall frequently praising the rally's participants. At one point, Fox aired a graphic of the bus over the text, "Conservative Woodstock?" Fox provided live coverage of the event's keynote address -- given by Sarah Palin. [Media Matters,11/2/10]

Fox News Hosts Participated In More Than A Dozen Tea Party Events. Fox News hosts participated in more than a dozen tea party events during the week of April 15, 2010. [Media Matters4/15/10]

"Party On!" Fox Relentlessly Promoted October 2010 Tea Party Express Tour IV. Fox News and Fox Business relentlessly promoted the Tea Party Express fourth bus tour, devoting numerous segments to the launch of its October 2010 tour, as well as hosting its chairman for softball interviews. [Media Matters,10/19/10]

Fox Provided Republicans With In-Kind Donations of Airtime

Fox & Friends Produced And Aired Campaign-Style Attack Ad Against Obama. On the May 30 edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts aired a four-minute segment, which was produced by the show, that attacked Obama by playing lines from speeches mixed with commentary from unidentified speakers and graphics purporting to show that Obama has broken his promises. The ad was estimated to be the equivalent of nearly $100,000 in free advertising for the GOP. [Media Matters, 5/30/12; Media Matters, 5/30/12]

Potential 2012 GOP Candidates Received $54.7 Million In Free Advertising in 2010 Alone. Five Republican considered at the time to be potential 2012 presidential candidates -- Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, John Bolton, and Rick Santorum -- served as Fox News contributors or hosts in 2010, appearing on the network for more than 85 hours during the year. Media Matters for America estimated that time to be worth approximately $54.7 million in free advertising. [Media Matters1/24/11]

Fox News Personalities Supported GOP In 600-Plus Instances During 2010 Midterms. During the 2009-2010 election cycle, more than 30 Fox News personalities endorsed, raised money, or campaigned for Republican candidates or organizations in more than 600 instances. Fox News personalities and hosts also helped start pro-Republican organizations, which raised tens of millions of dollars. [Media Matters10/27/10]

Fox News Promoted GOP 2012 Candidate Gingrich's Website. During an interview with then-Republican presidential candidate and former Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich on Fox News' Your World, on-screen text on the bottom of the screen flashed the URL of Gingrich's official campaign site. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 6/27/11, via Media Matters]

Fox Gave Iowa GOP Chairman Free Airtime To Speak Directly To Fox Viewers Before Returning To Fox's GOP Debate. Following a commercial break during a Fox News-sponsored Republican presidential debate, Fox aired a nearly minute-long video of Iowa Republican Party chairman Matt Strawn addressing viewers about the Iowa caucuses. [Fox News, 8/11/11, via Media Matters]

Dick Morris Auctioned Tour Of Fox News At GOP Fundraiser. During a Florida Republican fundraiser, party activists bid on the chance to take a guided tour of Fox News' New York studios with Fox employee Dick Morris. Fox later "reprimanded" Morris for the auction. [Media Matters3/19/12]

Fox Continues To Employ Prominent GOP Fundraiser Karl Rove Despite Ethical Conflict

Karl Rove Fundraises And Advises For Anti-Democrat Super PACs. Karl Rove, a former senior advisor to President Bush, continues to be both a Fox News contributor and  a major adviser and fundraiser for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS. In 2010, The New York Times reported that Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads spent "well over $50 million combined this year, a sizable part of it from undisclosed donors" to "continue advertising against Democrats." [The New York Times, 11/1/10]  

Fox News Regularly Fails To Disclose Rove's Involvement In Races He Discusses On The Air. Fox News hosts have regularly failed to disclose Rove's involvement in political races he discusses on-air. In June, On the Record host Greta Van Susteren did not reveal Rove's involvement in the campaign of GOP senate candidate Deb Fischer. Rove promoted Fischer and attacked her opponent, Democratic candidate Bob Kerrey, while failing to note that Crossroads GPS had spent $30,000 on a radio ad campaign which criticized Kerrey for many of the same issues Rove mentioned on Fox. [Media Matters, 6/26/12]

Fox News Has Promoted Crossroads' Ads, At Times Without Disclosing Conflict. Fox News has promoted anti-Obama ads by American Crossroads, such as one that was released on April 26. The ad, which attacked Obama as the "celebrity president" was promoted by Fox Nation, The Five, Special Report, The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Fox & Friends. Many of the programs which touted the ad failed to disclose that Rove is a Fox News employee. [Media Matters, 4/27/12]

Fox Newsers And Executives Tried To Influence GOP Elections And Causes

Ailes Reportedly "Fell Hard" For Christie And Asked Him To Run For President

New York Magazine: Ailes Encouraged Christie To Run For President. A May 22, 2011, article in New York magazine reported that Fox News CEO Roger Ailes encouraged New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to run for president. From New York magazine:

A few months ago, Ailes called Chris Christie and encouraged him to jump into the race. Last summer, he'd invited Christie to dinner at his upstate compound along with Rush Limbaugh, and like much of the GOP Establishment, he fell hard for Christie, who nevertheless politely turned down Ailes's calls to run. Ailes had also hoped that David Petraeus would run for president, but Petraeus too has decided to sit this election out, choosing to stay on the counterterrorism front lines as the head of Barack Obama's CIA. [New York5/22/11]

Fox Figures Also Encouraged Christie To Run

Fox's Doocy: "Some" Say Christie Would "Make A Great President." On the September 7, 2010 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy asked Christie what he would "do immediately" if elected president after claiming that "some have suggested you would make a great president." [Fox News, Fox & Friends9/7/10, via Media Matters]

Sean Hannity Promoted Christie, Then Asked If He'll Run For President. On the June 30, 2010, edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity claimed Christie was "taking on the special interests, he's standing up to the unions, and he's doing something very rare in politics these days. He's actually following through on the promises he's made on the campaign trail that helped get him elected." Later in the program, Hannity asked Christie several times whether he would consider running for president.  [Fox News, Hannity6/30/10, via Media Matters]

Glenn Beck: Christie Is "One Of The Only Guys" I Would "Vote For For President." On the August 10, 2010, edition of Fox & Friends, then-Fox News host Glenn Beck called Christie "one of the only guys I see that I would today vote for for president." From Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): All these governors are standing up, Democrats and Republicans, saying, "We can't afford the pension situation." So you're telling me that a politician with the courage to stand up and say, "That doesn't work," can get elected and re-elected?

GLENN BECK: Chris Christie. Chris Christie. Chris Christie. Chris Christie is a guy -- Chris Christie is one of the only guys I see that I would today vote for for president of the United States. This guy has courage beyond belief. [Fox News, Fox & Friends8/10/10, via Media Matters]

Fox Figures Provided Christie Almost 37 Minutes Of Airtime In Run-Up To His 2009 Election

  • Christie On Fox News. Christie appeared on the October 26, 2009, edition of Hannity, the October 27, 2009, edition of Fox & Friends, and the November 2, 2009, edition of Your World with Neil Cavuto, for a total of 18 minutes 47 seconds. [Media Matters11/2/09]
  • Christie On Fox News Host's Radio Show. Christie appeared on the October 27, 2009, and November 2, 2009, editions of Fox News host Sean Hannity's radio show for a total of 18 minutes 6 seconds. [Media Matters11/2/09]

Murdoch Gave Paul Ryan "A Strong Nudge" Onto The GOP Ticket

Howard Kurtz: "Murdoch Gets His Man" With Ryan Pick. In an August 12 Daily Beast post, media critic Howard Kurtz reported that through "a combination of private persuasion, newspaper crusading, and Twitter talk" Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch gave Ryan a "strong nudge" onto the GOP ticket." From The Daily Beast:

It would be too much to say that Rupert Murdoch pushed Paul Ryan onto the Republican presidential ticket. But he certainly gave the conservative congressman a strong nudge.

The media mogul used a combination of private persuasion, newspaper crusading, and Twitter talk to urge Mitt Romney's campaign to shake things up. And soon after Romney unveiled his running mate on Saturday morning, Murdoch posted a 140-character message of approval:

"Thank God! Now we might have a real election on the great issues of the day. Paul Ryan almost perfect choice." [The Daily Beast, 8/12/12]

Fox Figures Spent Years Praising Ryan As A "Star" And "Genius"

Fox's Goldberg And Krauthammer Pushed Paul Ryan For President. On the May 23, 2011, edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News contributors Jonah Goldberg and Charles Krauthammer attempted to "nudge Paul Ryan into getting into the race" by claiming he was "the one man who could make the argument which will be the central argument of the campaign" which is "the scope of government." [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 5/23/11, via Media Matters]

Fox's Bill Hemmer: Ryan Releasing Budget Plan "Is Going To Go Down As The Single Most Important Event In Government History In Our Lifetimes." On the March 21 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends, Fox host Bill Hemmer said: "I think what happened yesterday is going to go down as the single most important event in government history in our lifetimes, and that is when Paul Ryan came out with his budget plan":

HEMMER: I think what happened yesterday is going to go down as the single most important event in government history in our lifetimes, and that is when Paul Ryan came out with his budget plan. And I'm not suggesting it's going to pass, but what I am saying is a year from now or five years from now or, god forbid, 10 years from now, when we address the problems that he talked about yesterday, there's going to be hell to pay in this country, and we're going to have to make enormous sacrifices. [Fox News Radio, Kilmeade & Friends3/21/12, via Media Matters]

Fox Host Kilmeade Praised Ryan's "Courage" In Releasing A "Forward-Leaning Budget Proposal." On the March 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade declared, of Ryan's budget proposal, "I've got to give Paul Ryan a 'C' for courage." From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: I've got to give Paul Ryan a 'C' for courage, and [Rep.] Dave Camp has a C in his last name already so I'm not going to give it to him. But together they went out and put together a forward-leaning - a forward-leaning budget proposal, which I'm sure is going to get people on the other side saying, "Look how mean they are, and look how partisan they are." But what I think he's doing - and you know would better than me, [guest co-host] Melissa [Francis] - but he's attacking the major problems that are facing this country, entitlements, and he's also attacking Medicare and our tax structure. [Fox News, Fox & Friends3/20/12, via Media Matters]

Fox Executives Pushed Fox News' Anti-Obama Messaging Coverage Against Obama

Fox Execs Attach "Socialism" Smear To Obama

Ailes: Obama Was "Told By The French And The Germans That His Socialism Was Too Far Left." In a November 17, 2010, Daily Beast article, Howard Kurtz quotes Ailes describing Obama's "socialism" as "too far left" for the French and Germans. From the Daily Beast:

"The president has not been very successful," the Fox News chairman says in a lengthy interview. "He just got kicked from Mumbai to South Korea, and he came home and attacked Republicans for it. He had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with."

The 70-year-old Ailes, dressed in a lavender shirt and tie, goes on in this vein, saying the network isn't singling out Obama for criticism but that its style "tends to be more direct" in challenging presidents. Then he offers this observation about Obama:

"He just has a different belief system than most Americans."

That seems a rather loaded phrase--different belief system--even if you strongly disagree with most of Obama's policies. It fits the view of those who are trying to paint the president as being outside the mainstream. But from the big second-floor office at Fox's Midtown Manhattan headquarters, it's the rest of the media that are using a distorted lens. [The Daily Beast, 11/16/10]

Days Before '08 Election, Fox Executive Bill Sammon Tied Obama To Socialism. In the final days before the 2008 election, Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon used his position at Fox to engage in a campaign linking then-Sen. Barack Obama to "socialism" and "Marxists." On October 27, 2008, Sammon sent an email to colleagues highlighting "Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists" in his 1995 autobiography. Sammon subsequently appeared on multiple Fox programs -- and penned an article for -- promoting Obama's ties to "Marxists." [Media Matters, 2/1/11]

Sammon Engaged In "Speculation About Whether Barack Obama Really Advocated Socialism" Even Though He "Privately" Thought That Was "Far-Fetched." During a speech on a high-priced cruise, Sammon admitted he promoted the idea that Barack Obama "really advocated socialism" on Fox News prior to the 2008 election, even though he "privately" found the concept "far-fetched." [Media Matters, 3/29/11]

Fox Pushed Sammon's "Socialism" Smear

Media Matters' Report: Fox Linked Obama To Socialism At Least 35 Times In Run-Up To 2008 Election. In the nine days between Sammon's email and the November 4, 2008, election, Fox employees linked Obama to socialism, Marxism, or communism at least 35 times on air. In some cases, Fox employees directly said or suggested that Obama was linked to socialism; in other cases, they gratuitously mentioned accusations made by "Joe the Plumber" or others. [Media Matters3/29/11]

For other examples of Fox calling Obama a socialist following Sammon's directives, click hereherehere, and here.  

Sammon Directed Staff To Avoid Using "Public Option" Phrase 

Sammon Directed News Staff Not To Use Phrase "Public Option." At the height of the health care reform debate in 2009, Sammon sent a memo to Fox News' journalists directing them not to use the phrase "public option," but instead "government option" and similar phrases. Sammon's directive echoed advice from top Republican pollster Frank Luntz on how the GOP could turn public opinion against Democrats' reform efforts. Luntz argued that "if you call it a 'public option,' the American people are split," but that "if you call it the 'government option,' the public is overwhelmingly against it." Luntz explained that the program would be "sponsored by the government" and falsely claimed that it would also be "paid for by the government." [Media Matters, 12/9/10]

Fox Figures Adopted Sammon's Guidelines On Health Care Reform

Fox Journalists Immediately Halted All References To "Public Option" Following Sammon Memo. Sammon's email appears to have had an impact. On the October 27, 2009 edition of Special Report -- unlike on the previous night's broadcast -- Fox journalists made no references to the "public option" without using versions of the pre-approved qualifiers outlined in Sammon's and Clemente's emails. Host Bret Baier instead referred to it as "government-run health insurance" or a "government-run health insurance option" -- precisely echoing the first wording choice laid out by Sammon. On the same show, Fox correspondent Jim Angle referred to "a government insurance plan, the so-called public option"; "a government insurance option"; and "a government insurance plan." [Media Matters12/9/10]

Sammon Called On Staff To Question Climate Science 

Sammon Ordered News Staff To Cast Doubt On Established Climate Science. In an email sent to the network's journalists during global climate talks in 2009, Sammon directed Fox News staff to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." He went on to explain that "it is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies." Sammon's directive was issued less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record." Contrary to Sammon's email, the National Climatic Data Center explains that the warming trend "is apparent in all of the independent methods of calculating global temperature change" and "is also confirmed by other independent observations." [Media Matters, 12/15/10]

Fox Ramped Up Its Support Of Climate Denialism

Fox Began Questioning Climate Science In Wake Of Sammon's Emails. On the same day that Sammon sent the memo to Fox journalists urging them to question climate science data, Special Report with Bret Baier featured a report by Goler (who accurately reported the climate data earlier in the day) on the Copenhagen conference. Anchor Bret Baier introduced the report by saying that as "climategate-fueled skeptics continued to impugn global warming science, researchers today issued new and even more dire warnings about the possible effects of a warmer planet." Goler's report featured a clip of Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Association explaining the recent finding that 2000-2009 "is likely to be the warmest on the record." Appearing to echo Sammon's orders, Goler immediately followed this by saying that "skeptics say the recordkeeping began about the time a cold period was ending in the mid-1800s and what looks like an increase may just be part of a longer cycle." That night, on the same Special Report broadcast, correspondent James Rosen advanced the wildly misleading claim that climate scientists "destroyed more than 150 years' worth of raw climate data." [Media Matters, 12/15/10]

For more examples of Fox inaccurately questioning climate science data following Sammon's memo, click here and here.

Posted In
Government, The Presidency & White House
Fox News Channel
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.