Fox News this morning deceptively edited President Obama's remarks to make it seem as though he was claiming that small business owners do not deserve any credit for their own success. But Obama's actual remarks show that he attributed the success of small businesses to both the individual drive of small business owners, and to the benefit provided by influences such as great teachers, and government-created infrastructure.
President Obama, during a July 13 appearance in Roanoke, VA, argued that while small business owners' individual talents and drive allow them to attain their own portion of the American dream, credit for such attainment is not theirs alone. Obama pointed out that the success of small businesses can also be attributed to outside influences such as “a great teacher somewhere in your life” and investment “in roads and bridges.”
But on the July 16 edition of Fox & Friends, the co-hosts cropped the clip of Obama's appearance to make it appear as though he was making a different point. The clip featured Obama saying:
OBAMA: If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen.
The point is that, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
Gretchen Carlson reacted by calling the grossly misleading clip “most startling,” before hosting a small business owner who switched her political allegiance from Obama in 2008 to GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in 2012.
Had Fox & Friends provided a more complete accounting of Obama's comments regarding small business and success, Fox & Friends' attempt to gin up outrage would've made even less sense. Take a look. What Fox & Friends provided in their clip is bolded below.
OBAMA: [L]ook, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the GI Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together.
Selectively editing Obama comments is just par for the course for Fox & Friends, a practice that has been widely mocked. This particular instance of selective editing is a part of Fox's regular practice of accusing Obama of attacking small business.
However, this erasure of Obama's crediting both “individual initiative” and the help of outside forces is particularly hypocritical given other Fox opinions on how government spending can help foster individual prosperity.
In a segment during the June 24, edition of Fox and Friends Sunday, co-hosts Clayton Morris and Alisyn Camerota expressed disgust at the notion that some wealthy Americans were denouncing their citizenship to avoid paying taxes on their wealth. Morris asserted that such people should, “get out of here” arguing they “made all this money on the backs of the infrastructure, taxpayers that got you there, the roads that taxpayers pay so you can drive back and forth to work to get rich on a regular basis.”
Camerota added “are they just greedy? I mean, are they just -- after this country allowed you the entrepreneurial spirit, the freedom to make all this money, now you're going to leave it?”
Perhaps, Fox & Friends erased Obama's assertions because they, like Morris, know that infrastructure and other spending, supported by the average tax payers, paves the way for success. Unfortunately, that truth doesn't allow for the sustained rage Fox & Friends regularly attempts to engender.