Fox & Friends Stays Silent About Its Anti-Obama Attack Ad Amid Criticism

Fox & Friends this morning did not address the widespread criticism of the 4-minute anti-Obama attack video it aired twice on Wednesday.

The video, which was loaded with misleading attacks on President Obama's economic record, drew widespread criticism. Baltimore Sun television critic David Zurawik wrote that "[a]ny news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core." The Associated Press described it as “a format that looked similar to a campaign advertisement.” Even conservative blogger Ed Morrissey, while noting that he wouldn't “disagree with much, if anything,” in the video, asked, “Should a news organization produce and publish attack ads like this?”

Fox has since pulled the video from its websites.

Bill Shine, Fox News executive vice president of programming, said on Wednesday: “The package that aired on 'Fox & Friends' was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show's producers.”

Washington Post media writer Erik Wemple wrote that Shine's “statement answers one question -- whether Fox News is standing by the video -- even as it raises many others.” He continued:

1) Are we supposed to believe that the producer was working on his own? The video itself reflects an enormous amount of splicing and searching and cutting and producing, a fact noted by one of the “Fox & Friends” co-anchors this morning. Oh, and it's about the president of the United States. Such an effort got around the suits?

There's another point related to the video's raw ambition. Would a producer really sink hours and hours of tedium into a package of this sort under the notion that it would displease his bosses? Or would he undertake such a heave only if he thought it would send them into fits of Foxical joy?

2) So the senior executive level never “authorized” the video. Does that mean they never viewed it? And what would they have done if they had engaged more thoroughly with the thing? Would they have killed it or just asked the producer to stick a couple of pro-Obama snippets in there for “balance”?

3) What's the interpretation of Fox News's claim to have addressed the matter “with the show's producers.” How do you address what gave rise to this video? Hey guys, next time let's disguise our intentions a little better.

Wemple went on to note that while Fox “has piled the depravity high in this episode,” it “did the right thing, however imperfectly. It bailed on a video that bore unfairness in its every second, and it did so in the course of a single day.”

As Media Matters reported Wednesday, Fox News' ad was the equivalent of nearly $100,000 of free advertising for the Republican Party.