Fox News celebrated the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum by lionizing his administration and employing myths and falsehoods to defend his legacy. Fox News also conducted softball interviews with Bush (by his "biggest fan") and his former officials to rehab his image.
Bush's "Biggest Fan" Perino Conducted "Tear-Filled Tribute" Interview With Former Boss
Perino Served As Bush's White House Press Secretary Before Working For Fox News. Perino, now a host of Fox News' The Five, previously served in the Bush White House. [FoxNews.com, accessed 4/26/13]
Fox News Promotes Perino Interview As A "Tear-Filled Tribute." A Fox News website provides this description of Perino viewing clips of her interview on The Five: "Dana couldn't hold back the tears as she watched video of a specific part of the interview in which she and the former commander in chief share an embrace." [FoxNewsInsider.com, 4/25/13]
Perino Explains Goal Of Her Interview: "I Want People To Get To Know President Bush The Way That I Knew Him, As A Leader ... In Some Ways Like A Second Father To Me, A Very Good Friend." Perino also told Fox News host Megyn Kelly that the interview was "the honor of my life."
[Fox News, America Live, 4/25/13]
Perino Conducted Softball Interview With Bush. Questions and comments from Perino during her interview with Bush, conducted at his presidential library, included:
- "Who is your biggest fan? ... It's me."
- "I see you still have a clean desk, which is a good policy to have."
- "The last day of your presidency ... you said something I thought maybe you could repeat. It was about coming into office on the first day, wanting to make sure that when you left, that you could look yourself In the mirror and say, 'I stuck to my principles.'"
- "I'm going to ask you about the [George Washington] portrait. ... There's also other paintings here of Texas life."
- "A lot of people will be asking you again, 'What will your legacy be?'" [Fox News, The Five, 4/25/13]
Perino To Bush: Working For You Was The "Best Thing Of My Life, By Far." [Fox News, The Five, 4/25/13]
Fox News Uses Myths And Falsehoods To Defend Bush Legacy, Lavishes Praise On Former President
Brit Hume: "Bush Succeeded In Keeping The Homeland Safe From Terror Attacks After 9-11." Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume, who anchored Special Report for most of Bush's term, said that the public may now be increasingly "grateful" to Bush for keeping the country safe after the September 11 attacks and claimed that "Bush succeeded in keeping the homeland safe from terror attacks after 9-11." Hume ignored that there were several terrorist attacks in the country after 9-11, which occurred on Bush's watch. [Fox News, Special Report, 4/24/13; Media Matters, 5/3/10]
Eric Bolling: Bush A "Great President" Who "Kept Us Safe" From 9/12/01 Until Obama Administration. From Fox News' The Five:
BOLLING: Look, over the years, I have been fairly tough on -- I think he's a great president, a great person, great family. I don't necessarily agree with some of the things he did. You know, some of the Medicare part D stuff, all the bailouts, some of the spending initiative. But I will tell one thing, from 9/12/01 until the time President Obama raised his right hand January of '09, the man kept us safe. And there -- you certainly can't say that since President Obama has taken the oath of office.
[Fox News, The Five, 4/23/13, via Media Matters]
Fox News Latino Publishes Op-Ed From Rosario Marin Claiming "Most People Forget That We Were In A Full Recession When President Bush Came Into Office." Former Bush Treasury Secretary Rosario Marin wrote that the country should have "gratitude" "in their hearts" for Bush. Marin claimed that "most people forget that we were in a full recession when President Bush came into office" and his economic policies saved the country.
Most people forget that we were in a full recession when President Bush came into office. His economic policies, especially the tax cuts, ensured that the recession was short-lived and that after 9-11 we did not go into a double-dip recession. As a member of the economic team I remember vividly going around the country explaining his tax-cuts package. America welcomed the tax cuts, and economic growth was restored. Once again it was his clear and unambiguous decision-making process that enabled him to succeed.
The same can be said about his policies on education, healthcare, Medicare, Immigration and freedom abroad. He was and still is a man of deep and strong convictions. His core principles are unchangeable. They are rooted on a basic but profound respect for our constitution. [Fox News Latino, 4/24/13]
Contrary to Marin's claim that Bush entered office with "a full recession," the National Bureau of Economic Research has stated that the economy had been expanding for 10 years then entered a recession in March 2001. Additionally, economists have found the Bush tax cuts did little to help the economy, while also producing substantial debt. [Media Matters, 5/1/04; Media Matters, 12/21/11; FactCheck.org,10/12/04; Media Matters, 7/11/12]
Dana Perino Publishes "My Favorite Memories Of President George W. Bush" Op-Ed On FoxNews.com. Perino's piece included such recollections as Bush "sharing his peanut butter and honey sandwiches with me"; learning how "President Bush strongly, ably and graciously defended America"; and how Bush "used to catch my eye during policy meetings and tip me a wink with a little smile as we had noticed when Vice President Cheney had been 'resting his eyes.'" [FoxNews.com, 4/23/13]
Lanny Davis Op-Ed Defends Bush From "Liberal" Critics. Fox News published an op-ed from Fox News contributor Lanny Davis with the headline, "Democrat reveals 3 things liberals don't get about George W. Bush." The piece admonished Democrats for attacking Bush "in harsh and personal terms," defended Bush from the charge that he lied about WMD in Iraq, and praised some of his "compassionate conservative" policies. [FoxNews.com, 4/25/13]
Fox Features Softball Interviews With Former Bush Officials
Fox & Friends Asks Bush Chiefs Of Staff If They Feel "Vindicated." Fox & Friends hosted former Joshua Bolten and Andy Card, who both served as Bush chiefs of staff, to tout the Bush record. Doocy asked them if they felt "vindicated" by President Obama because he "stuck with a lot of the Bush policies." During the segment, Card claimed that President Bush "probably has the best track record of any modern president in terms of fiscal discipline." Fox & Friends didn't note Bush's record of increasing debt and deficit spending, or the cost of the Iraq war.
Ed Gillespie: Bush Helped The Economy Grow Despite "Inheriting A Recession." America's Newsroom's Bill Hemmer interviewed former Bush counselor Ed Gillespie, who touted Bush's record as president on issues like national security and the economy. Gillespie claimed that Bush "inherit[ed] a recession." Hemmer did not challenge Bush's record. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 4/25/13]
Karl Rove: People Are Looking Back At Bush And Deciding "The Things He Did Were Right." Previewing the library opening on Fox News, former Bush deputy chief of staff and current Fox News contributor Karl Rove defended President Bush's legacy on issues such as the economy, his leadership, and Iraq. Rove said Bush "won the [Iraq] war" while Obama has squandered the peace, and added that people are looking back at his presidency and deciding that Bush was "right." [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 4/23/12, via Media Matters]
White House Photographer Eric Draper Praises Bush's Relationship With World Leaders. Happening Now hosted Eric Draper, a former special assistant to the president and Bush's chief photographer, to discuss his photographs. Draper praised Bush's personal relationships with foreign leaders. [Fox News, Happening Now, 4/24/13]