Fox News is blaming fact-checkers for Mitt Romney's loss in the presidential election, claiming that they tilted the race in President Obama's favor. Fox repeatedly attacked fact-checkers for debunking many of Romney's falsehoods during the campaign -- following the Romney camp's dismissal of fact checks as biased.
Fox: "Partisan" Fact-Checkers Drove Obama Win
Steve Doocy: Biased Fact-Checkers Allowed Obama Team To Put Out "Flat-Out Lies." On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy claimed that fact-checkers with a "political agenda," "allowed the president's team to put out some ads that were absolutely false":
DOOCY: You look at throughout the summer months, Mr. Romney did not respond to the hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of Mitt Romney is a plutocrat ad. But then there were all these scenarios put out by Obama's side that were just flat out lies -- Mitt Romney's going to take away women's birth control, not allow immigrants to wind up with green cards, no Pell grants for college kids. That picture even turned out to be, well, bogus.
DOOCY: Too bad there's not a judge when it comes to some of these political ads, Frank, because for a while you thought, that thing is coming from a fact-checker. Well, the fact-checkers in this case, we've looked back, and you know, some of them had a political agenda, so you couldn't really trust them. And so that allowed the president's team to put out some ads that were absolutely false. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 11/7/12]
Fox News Op-Ed Claimed Media "Pound[ed] Romney With Partisan Fact Checking." In a FoxNews.com column, Media Research Center research director Rich Noyes highlighted what he described as "five ways the media elite tipped the public relations scales in favor of the liberal Obama and against the conservative challenger Mitt Romney," including "pounding Romney with partisan fact checking":
Reviewing the 2012 presidential campaign, here are five ways the media elite tipped the public relations scales in favor of the liberal Obama and against the conservative challenger Mitt Romney:
2. Pounding Romney With Partisan Fact Checking: There's nothing wrong with holding politicians accountable for the honesty of their TV ads and stump speeches, but this year the self-appointed media fact-checkers attacked Republicans as liars for statements that were accurate.
The same thing happened when Mitt Romney talked about Obama's "apology tour" during the final presidential debate. While in 2009 Obama had, in fact, criticized the United States as "arrogant," "derisive" and having "too often... set [our] principles aside," the networks said to call it an "apology tour" was "false" because, as CNN's John Berman tenuously insisted, "even if he was critical of past U.S. foreign policy, he issued no apologies." [FoxNews.com, 11/7/12, emphasis in original]
Fox Nation: "BIAS ALERT: 5 Ways The MSM Tipped The Scales For Obama." Fox Nation linked to Noyes' FoxNews.com column decrying "partisan fact checking" with the headline "BIAS ALERT: 5 Ways The MSM Tipped The Scales For Obama":
[Fox Nation, 11/7/12]
During Campaign, Romney Camp Dismissed Fact-Checkers
Romney Surrogate: "We're Not Going [To] Let Our Campaign Be Dictated By Fact-Checkers." During an ABC News/Yahoo! News event at the Republican National Convention, Romney pollster Neil Newhouse suggested fact-checkers were biased and stated: "We're not going [to] let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." From ABCNews.com:
O'Connor said she thought their ad "Right Choice" attacking Obama on welfare reform has been the most effective so far, despite its being given "Four Pinnochios" by a Washington Post fact check.
Newhouse brushed off the fact check as par for the course in political campaigns.
"People are always going to get Pinocchios for this stuff," Newhouse said. "We stand behind those ads and behind the facts in those ads."
Newhouse suggested the problem was with the fact-checkers, not the facts themselves: "Fact-checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs and you know what? We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." [ABCNews.com, 8/28/12]
Romney's "Post-Truth" Campaign Rested On "Foundation Of Lies"
Wash. Post's Greg Sargent: "Romney's Entire Bid For The Presidency Rests On A Foundation Of Evasions And Lies." In a November 5 blog post, The Washington Post's Greg Sargent described Romney as a "post truth" candidate running a "post truth" campaign and wrote that "Romney's entire bid for the presidency rests on a foundation of evasions and lies":
Not long ago, Jay Rosen memorably dubbed Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency a "post truth" campaign. Within 48 hours, we may find out whether a "post truth" candidate can be elected president.
If there is one constant to this campaign, it's that Romney has startled many observers by operating from the basic premise that there is literally no set of boundaries he needs to follow when it comes to the veracity of his assertions, the transparency he provides about his fundraising and finances, and the specificity of his plans for the country. On the dishonesty front, this has grown more pronounced in recent days, with Romney's embrace of the Jeep-to-China lie as a closing argument in Ohio and his absurd attacks on Obama for urging people to vote.
But the key to this is how elemental it has long been to his campaign. Romney's entire bid for the presidency rests on a foundation of evasions and lies. [The Washington Post, 11/5/12]
U.S. News & World Report: Romney's Campaign "Has Displayed A Special Level Of Shamelessness In Its Ads And Attacks Since Its Very First One." In an August 8 post, U.S. News and World Report's Robert Schlesinger explained that Romney's campaign "has displayed a special level of shamelessness in its ads and attacks since its very first one." From Schlesinger post, headlined "Lies, Damned Lies, and Mitt Romney's Ads":
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has displayed a special level of shamelessness in its ads and attacks since its very first one, when it ran a clip of Barack Obama saying "if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose" -- a clip from 2008 when Obama was quoting an aide to then GOP nominee Sen. John McCain. His campaign has also taken other Obama quotes out of context ("you didn't build that" and "it worked") to portray the president as having said things he flatly didn't say. More recently they accused the Obama campaign of trying to curtail the voting rights of members of the military (a thoroughly debunked accusation -- USA Today, for example, called it "a falsehood").
The Romney campaign's gambit plays on two things: One is the instinct on the part of the press to treat such disputes as he-said-he-said in the name of objectivity (hence much coverage of the welfare ad as being Team Romney charge followed by Team Obama retort with little discussion of the facts).
But underlying the cynical belief that they can game the press is an even more contemptuous and condescending belief in the basic laziness and stupidity of the American people. The Romney campaign knew that its welfare ad would be roundly blasted by the portion of the media that does fact-checking. But they're counting on voters to absorb the charge and not pay attention to the details or follow closely enough to get the facts. [U.S. News and World Report, 8/8/12]
NY Times Contributor Kevin Kruse: Romney Campaign's "Fundamental Disdain For Facts Is Something Wholly New." New York Times contributor Kevin M. Kruse wrote that nothing in Obama's campaign or in past campaigns "has equaled the efforts of the Romney campaign" in the "realm" of "dissembling and distortion":
PolitiFact has chronicled 19 "pants on fire" lies by Mr. Romney and 7 by Mr. Obama since 2007, but Mr. Romney's whoppers have been qualitatively far worse: the "apology tour," the "government takeover of health care," the "$4,000 tax hike on middle class families," the gutting of welfare-to-work rules, the shipment by Chrysler of jobs from Ohio to China. Said one of his pollsters, Neil Newhouse, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers."
To be sure, the Obama campaign has certainly had its own share of dissembling and distortion, including about Mr. Romney's positions on abortion and foreign aid. But nothing in it -- or in past campaigns, for that matter -- has equaled the efforts of the Romney campaign in this realm. Its fundamental disdain for facts is something wholly new.
The voters, of course, may well recoil against these cynical manipulations at the polls. But win or lose, the Romney campaign has placed a big and historic bet on the proposition that facts can be ignored, more or less, with impunity. [The New York Times, 11/5/12]
Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi: Romney "Liberated" Himself From Facts. In an October 19 post, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi wrote that "Romney has almost seemed liberated, spouting line after line of breathless, ecstatic inventions -- things that are, if not lies exactly, at the very least just simply made up out of thin air, and seemingly on the spot, too":
From the start of the first debate, Romney has almost seemed liberated, spouting line after line of breathless, ecstatic inventions - things that are, if not lies exactly, at the very least just simply made up out of thin air, and seemingly on the spot, too. The business about the $25,000 "bucket" of deductions which he prefaced, with seemingly half of America watching, with the phrase, "Let's pick a number": awesome. Then there was the jobs plan that creates 12 million jobs, another number seemingly plucked out of the ether: it turned out that when asked to justify the number, the Romney campaign cited three studies, none of which came anywhere near justifying claims of a 12 million-job increase.
Romney's realized that numbers don't matter, and past facts don't even matter that much: he's run all fall on completely made-up, mathematically-incoherent jobs and tax plans, and not only is he not suffering, he's made it all the way to a statistical tie with the president (or even a lead, if you believe the Gallup polls), and the presidency is in sight. He's finally released the burden of all those internal contradictions, and the inventions and devious distortions are coming so fast and so furious now, it's energized him psychologically, and he seems to be taking flight before our eyes. [Rolling Stone, 10/19/12]
NY Times' Charles Blow: "Romney Is One Of The Most Dishonest, Duplicitous Candidates To Ever Seek The Presidency." In his November 2 column, The New York Times' Charles Blow listed four reasons why Romney's campaign was unraveling, including that "Romney is one of the most dishonest, duplicitous candidates to ever seek the presidency." [The New York Times, 11/2/12, emphasis original]
Fox Contributor Angela McGlowan: Romney Campaign "Made A Mistake" In Running Misleading Jeep Ad. During the November 7 edition of Fox News' America's Election Headquarters, contributor Angela McGlowan said that Romney "made a mistake" in running campaign ads falsely claiming Chrysler is sending a Jeep production line from the United States to China:
McGLOWAN: As for Ohio, the Mitt Romney campaign made a mistake in running that commercial that the Obama administration was going to move jobs from Ohio to China. And then they had to pull that ad, remember, dealing with the auto bailout. And I think that really hurt him in the end and Ohio as well. [Fox News, America's Election Headquarters, 11/7/12]
For the truth about Romney's inaccurate Jeep-to-China ad campaign, click here.
Fox Has Repeatedly Attacked Fact-Checkers For Correcting Romney Falsehoods
Fox Attacked Those Who Questioned Truth Of Romney's Debate Claims. After fact-checkers noted that Romney made several false claims during the October 3 presidential debate, right-wing media, including Fox, responded by attacking those who questioned the truth of Romney's claims. In more than 30 segments, Fox News personalities and right-wing media figures like Rush Limbaugh complained about those pointing out Romney's falsehoods, saying they were part of a "character assassination" campaign. [Media Matters, 10/10/12]