People who watch Fox News closely are familiar with the fact that Fox has been misleading viewers with deceptively edited videos for years. On the June 26 edition of Special Report, Fox aired an edited clip of President Obama that is interesting because it is symbolic of the whole story Fox is trying to tell about the 2012 presidential election.
During a report about the campaign, correspondent Ed Henry noted that some Democrats are not planning to attend this summer's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Then, he aired an edited clip of President Obama's speech at a June 26 campaign event in Atlanta:
HENRY: [Sen. Claire] McCaskill is the ninth no-show so far among officeholders across the country, including Pennsylvania Congressman Mark Critz. Critz's office bluntly notes internal polls show in his district, the president is down double digits to presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
OBAMA: They'll say, you know, the economy is bad, and it's Obama's fault. [break] And because times are tough and because they're spending these ungodly sums, you know, it's going to be close.
HENRY: While the president did not complain about big money last time, when he enjoyed a massive edge over Republican John McCain, his campaign aides privately say Romney may raise $100 million this month alone, which is why the president today penned a fundraising letter warning supporters, "I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign." [emphasis added]
The White House transcript of the event in Atlanta reveals what Fox News didn't think was worthy of inclusion in its report (in bold):
OBAMA: [T]his is still going to be a close election because the economy is still tough and folks are still frustrated. And what that means is that you're going to have more money spent in this election than ever before by the other side on negative ads. And their message will be simple. They'll say, the economy is bad and it's Obama's fault. (Laughter.) They suffer a little bit of amnesia so they don't remember -- (applause) -- all the stuff that happened before I was sworn into office, but that's going to be their message.
And because times are tough, and because they're spending these ungodly sums, it's going to be close.
Fox is doing its best to sweep away this very fact: that the economy was in a time of historic trouble before Obama took office.
Following the Obama administration's announcement that it will grant certain undocumented immigrants the chance to be exempted from deportation, Fox News claimed President Obama had issued the decision as an executive order, implying he did so to circumvent Congress. In fact, the change is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion that is consistent with the current law and has decades of precedent.
In recent interviews, President Clinton and former White House economic adviser Larry Summers agreed with President Obama that Congress should not extend the Bush tax cuts for wealthy households. But Fox News distorted their comments to falsely claim that Clinton and Summers are in favor of extending them for all households, and thus are "at odds" with Obama.
While numerous news outlets have already issued corrections for misrepresenting comments economist Larry Summers, a former Obama economic adviser, made about extending the Bush tax cuts, Fox News is still pretending that Summers said something he didn't.
During an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning, Summers warned that "we've got to make sure that we don't take the gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year," adding, "That's got to be the top priority. We've got to make sure that we keep providing energy to the economy."
The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and others took those comments to mean that Summers had endorsed extending the Bush tax cuts. In fact, as both outlets later admitted, Summers said no such thing.
In fact, the misrepresentation is particularly glaring considering that immediately after his comments about "making sure there's the energy to keep the economy growing," Summers specifically alluded to the fact that the wealthy should pay their fair share of taxes. From the MSNBC interview:
MIKA BRZEZINSKI (co-host): Larry Summers, let's start with you. You heard Bill Clinton talking about the tax cuts. We had terrible unemployment numbers coming out last week. What would you advise the president to do at this point?
SUMMERS: Look, the real risk to this economy is on the side of slowdowns, certainly not on the side of overheating. And that means we've got to make sure that we don't take the gasoline out of the tank at the end of this year. That's got to be the top priority. We've got to make sure that we keep providing energy to the economy.
And the areas where we've done that, like manufacturing with the support for the automobile industry, we haven't had great results but we've had much better results. In the areas where we weren't able to do what we wanted to do, areas like preserving jobs for teachers, areas like construction and investment and maintenance of the country's infrastructure, you look at the employment report, and we've really got terrible results.
So the key priority has got to be, for the short run, making sure there's the energy to keep the economy growing 'cause we're not going to do anything about the deficit unless we do that.
Several media outlets have distorted comments by an EPA official, falsely suggesting that he said "oil companies should be crucified." In fact, the official was using an analogy, which he has since apologized for, to describe a common approach to regulatory enforcement: making examples out of those who break the law.
When the Obama administration announced in February that it would require most employers to offer health insurance that covers contraception, right-wing media reacted with an uproar. Many conservative pundits distorted the ruling to claim that "American taxpayers" would be responsible for paying for all women's birth control. For instance, on his March 2 show, Bill O'Reilly said that "we know that we can get the birth control pills for free, because the government is going to send it to us, and that's just the way it is." Watch:
On the April 5 edition of Fox's flagship news show Special Report, correspondent Ed Henry used the same false talking point while reporting on an upcoming women's conference at the White House:
HENRY: [A]ides say Friday's conference will help showcase the president also has a strong wife and two daughters -- and a real record that includes signing pay equity legislation, a health care bill that will give over 20 million women preventive care like mammograms, plus a fight with the Catholic Church that highlighted his support for free contraception.
(UPDATE 3/2 5:18PM An Editor's Note now appended to the Politico story says it "mischaracterized the testimony of Energy Secreatry Steven Chu." The headline, lede, and body of the story have been corrected.)
A Politico story fueling misguided attacks on Energy Secretary Steven Chu is not borne out by what actually occurred. The article titled, "Chu: DOE working to wean U.S. off oil, not lower prices," claimed:
The Energy Department isn't working to lower gasoline prices directly, Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker scolded him for his now-infamous 2008 comment that gas prices in the U.S. should be as high as in Europe.
But this report is based on an assumption made by Politico reporter Alex Guillen about how Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) was going to finish a question. If that wasn't bad enough, Politico doubled down with another article today about Newt Gingrich -- who cited Guillen's story -- calling for Chu to be fired for the remarks. (UPDATE 3/2 6:00PM Politico has also corrected this article.)
Here's what actually happened in the hearing (fuller video and transcript below):
REP. NUNNELEE: But is the overall goal to get our price--
CHU: No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil to -- to build and strengthen our economy and to decrease our dependency on oil.
But here's Politico's version of what happened:
"But is the overall goal to get our price" of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.
"No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy," Chu replied.
Guillen built his story on what he assumed Nunnelee was asking and gave no indication that the question was, in fact, ambiguous. There is good reason to believe that Chu thought Nunnelee was actually asking, "Is the overall goal to get our price up to European levels," since this was Nunnelee's previous question:
NUNNELEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Secretary for being here. Before you were nominated, you were quoted as saying, quote, "Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." I can't look at motivations. I have to look at results. And under this administration, the price of gasoline is doubled. While bumping $4 a gallon in North Mississippi, today the price of gasoline in Europe is about $8 a gallon, and the people of North Mississippi can't be here.
So, I have to be here and be their voice for them. And I have to tell you that $8 a gallon gasoline makes them afraid. It's a cruel tax on the people of North Mississippi as they try to go back and forth to work. It's a cloud hanging over economic development and job creation, and it appears to me this administration continues to drag its feet on oil exploration on fossil fuel development and recovery. How do you respond to that?
For the press, it was too good to be true -- and it was. The news media was eating up anything it could find about Solyndra when Bloomberg ran a September 28 report headlined "Solyndra Plant Had Whistling Robots, Spa Showers" focused on the amenities of Solyndra's facility including "robots that whistled Disney tunes." Fifteen paragraphs in, Bloomberg eventually explained:
Robots that resembled "a big freezer with wheels" maneuvered around the factory transporting panels from one machine to another, said George Garma, 49, a former Solyndra equipment maintenance technician from Fremont. The Disney tunes alerted workers to the robots' presence.
Or, as Politifact recently reported, the "robots" were "automated guided vehicles" designed to transport materials -- a common technology used since the 1950's -- and the "whistling" was preloaded music played to alert workers that the vehicles were nearby for safety reasons. The automated vehicles were not lavish expenses, but standard technology that reduced labor costs. Music is used instead of beeping, which "can drive workers nuts -- and sometimes they tune it out, presenting a safety hazard," according to Politifact.
But Greenwire and CNN's American Morning didn't see fit to explain any of that. Neither, of course, did Fox News in its coverage of the "singing robots" on Your World, On The Record, and Special Report. Andrew Napolitano declared on his Fox Business show that Solyndra executives "entertain themselves with robots whistling Disney tunes in the hallways." I could be entertained by this for hours:
From the October 13 edition of Fox News' America Live:
Loading the player reg...
From the September 19 edition of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith:
Loading the player reg...
After Fox News aired a doctored version of Teamsters president James Hoffa's Labor Day speech, the right-wing media pointed to the clearly edited video to accuse Hoffa of encouraging violence against conservatives. In fact, unaltered video -- video aired by Fox hours after the clearly edited version had been heavily promoted throughout the conservative media -- shows that Hoffa was encouraging the crowd to vote against Republicans in the 2012 election.
Led by journalists at Fox News, media figures have mocked the Obama administration for using the phrase "federal family" to refer to federal agencies involved in Hurricane Irene relief efforts, suggesting that the administration invented the phrase as a "euphemism" for "federal government." However, "federal family" is not a new phrase; it dates back to at least George H.W. Bush's administration and was regularly used by members of George W. Bush's administration when discussing disaster relief.
Fox News has repeatedly played up the national debt as the "number one issue" facing the country, despite statements from economists that unemployment is a more pressing problem. Now, in the aftermath of a default crisis that was manufactured by conservatives, Fox is criticizing Obama for "pivoting" back to jobs, suggesting that he has not been sufficiently focused on the issue in the past.
Ed Henry is reportedly moving from CNN to Fox News to become the network's Chief White House correspondent. When asked by Media Matters, Henry declined to comment on Bill Sammon, Fox News' Washington managing editor.
Last year, CNN came under criticism for hiring conservative blogger Erick Erickson, who described Michelle Obama as a "Marxist harpy wife" and Supreme Court justice David Souter a "goat fucking child molester." Henry defended the hiring, writing on his Twitter account:
For those Tweeting CNN shouldn't have hired @ewerickson as a contributor, seriously do you think a network should NOT have diverse voices?
CNN reporter Ed Henry, a board member of the correspondents group, said he backs Fox. "When CNN bid for the front row in 2007, Fox could have challenged it and had a knock-down, drag-out fight like the one we might have this time. But they did the gentlemanly thing and said CNN had more seniority. I've got to honor that commitment."
In 2005, Henry described a Democratic proposal for withdrawal from Iraq as what "some have referred to" as "the cut-and-run provision," a phrase that echoed a Republican talking point about the conflict.
Henry falsely claimed in 2006 that Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) had received campaign contributions from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his wife.
Henry was one of the attendees at a much-criticized beach party held by the White House for members of the press. He defended himself against criticisms of a conflict of interest, saying his critics didn't have a sense of humor.
From the January 2 edition of CNN's State of the Union:
Loading the player reg...