For a show that often likes to misinform their audience in favor of the right, the morning following President Obama's 2011 State of the Union Address proved no different for Fox & Friends. Besides telling their viewers what to think about the president's speech and redefining the word "investment," they went as far as to declare that the president's jokes “fell flat,” and, as evidence, aired video clips in which they replaced the audience laughter and applause in response to the president's jokes with cricket sound effects. They manipulate, you decide.
Fox & Friends began their Wednesday broadcast with an overview of the speech, in which host Steve Doocy “reported” so “you” could “decide:”
DOOCY: I'll be honest. I thought it was dull. I thought it was kind of rambling and boring as well."
Shortly after this, Fox & Friends hosted Republican pollster Frank Luntz to hype his State of the Union focus group. Luntz led the segment by saying the following:
LUNTZ: In normal years, the State of the Union Address is about the president, and what he has to say. But the response from Paul Ryan, the Congressman from Wisconsin was so positive, that I want to show you what the American People had to say.
Luntz went on to ask the panel of 29 viewers, “What was it about Paul Ryan that absolutely stood out to you?” A similar question was not asked about the President's speech, and, likewise, if members of the panel felt the President's speech made more of an impact than Ryan's, they certainly were not asked to comment.
Luntz then asked the panel, “How many of you could see Paul Ryan as a presidential candidate,” and followed by asking, “How many of you would like to see him run for President of the United States?” He then concluded his segment with these words of wisdom: “Barack Obama was the focus, but Paul Ryan seems to be the star.”
See? Fair and balanced.
During the State of the Union address, President Obama made a few small jokes which were met by members of Congress with laughter and applause. Here are some of them:
OBAMA: Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying - without the pat-down.
OBAMA: We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked. [The State of the Union Address, 1/25/2011 via ABC News]
As you can hear, both quips were met not only with laughter, but also with applause during the live broadcast of the speech. This wasn't good enough for Fox & Friends. A little over an hour into today's broadcast, Fox & Friends aired a segment in which co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and brought up the president's jokes, which, he stated, “fell a little short.” As proof, Kilmeade aired video clips of Obama's jokes, in which the laughter had been either reduced in volume so much that it could barely be heard over the sound effects, or it had been removed entirely for effect. In both instances, sound effects of crickets chirping were edited over the audience reactions. After the clip ended, Kilmeade declared that after one of the president's jokes, Vice President Joe Biden merely had a “sympathetic grin” on his face, as if he pitied the president for his terrible comedy. In fact, Biden was laughing. So was Speaker of the House John Boehner, who was sitting next to him. So was the gallery. But in Fox's world, it was dead silent after Obama's remarks.
As if this weren't bad enough, Fox & Friends re-aired segment later in the show, just in case you missed it the first time.
Whether it's words or sound effects, the misinformation on Fox & Friends runs rampant. The question is, are they even trying to be “fair and balanced” anymore?