Fox News accused President Obama of “doubling down” on comments they helped characterize as “insulting” to business owners, but in doing so, Fox itself doubled down on its campaign to strip Obama's statements out of context to further a political agenda.
Obama spoke at a campaign event and pointed out how benefits such as American infrastructure factor in the success of small businesses. Fox deceptively edited the president's remarks to accuse him of telling small business owners that if they have a business, “you didn't build that.”
This morning, Fox returned to the scandal they helped to manufacture, reporting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Obama's comments “insulting” to business owners. Fox then turned its sights on another campaign event and accused President Obama of “doubling down.” Here's the portion of the remarks that Fox chose to play as evidence:
OBAMA: We did not build this country on our own. We built it together. And if Mr. Romney doesn't understand that, then he doesn't understand what it takes to grow this economy in the 21st century for everybody.
But the only way these comments can be portrayed as doubling down on an insult to business owners is to completely strip them of context. In the portion of Obama's speech that Fox chose to ignore, it's clear that he explicitly touted the “drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses” as crucial to “what makes us such a robust dynamic economy.” Here is what Obama actually said:
OBAMA: As I said, I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success. And by the way, that's why I've cut taxes on small businesses 18 times since I've been President. (Applause.) I believe the ability for somebody who is willing to work hard, and sweat and sacrifice to turn their idea into a profitable business, that's what makes us such a robust, dynamic economy. We prize that.
But I also believe that if you talk to any business owner -- small or large -- they'll tell you what also helps them succeed alongside their hard work, their initiative, their great ideas, is the ability to hire workers with the right skills and the right education.
What helps them succeed is the ability to ship and sell their products on new roads and bridges and ports and wireless networks. What helps them succeed is having access to cutting-edge technology, which like the Internet often starts with publicly funded research and development. (Applause.) And what helps them succeed is a strong and growing middle class, so they've got a broader base of customers.
Fox is no stranger to the regular practice of accusing Obama of attacking small business.