A Fox News graphic today suggested that President Obama is guilty of “dereliction of duty” in his response to the Gulf oil spill, but Fox didn't give viewers the entire story in the segment that reached that conclusion.
On Fox & Friends Saturday, co-hosts Alisyn Camerota, Clayton Morris, and Dave Briggs interviewed Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who complained that Obama has been “detached from the situation” in the Gulf. Scalise went on to state:
SCALISE: I called the president last Friday when our governor and one of the parish presidents from another district, but somebody who I'm good friends with -- I've been talking with -- they weren't getting the answer they need on this barrier plan to protect the coast from the oil that was coming. Now, of course by the time we were even able to get any word out of the [Army] Corps [of Engineers], the oil had already started coming into the marsh, and we still didn't have any approval of the plan. And so I called the president and I said we need to talk to the president and we need to get this issue resolved.
He later added that Obama “was standing in our way with our local leaders' plan to protect the coast from having the oil come into the marsh. So, you know, we have real issues we need resolved.”
During Scalise's remarks, an on-screen graphic stated: “Dereliction of Duty? Lawmaker Blasts President Over Spill Response.”
Camerota went on to ask Scalise a question about a photograph of BP employees cleaning up oil that had come ashore. But while the graphic suggested that Obama has been “derelict” with regard to Louisiana's plan to build sand barriers to protect its coastline, neither Camerota nor her co-hosts made any mention that the federal government has approved funding for the first of the six proposed barriers or that the delays in the approval had been due to concerns expressed by the Army Corps of Engineers about the plan.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on May 27 that Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen had “approved a proposal to build a 6-foot-high sand berm just south of Scofield Island as a temporary barrier to keep oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from reaching wetlands in Barataria Bay." The New York Times reported that the Coast Guard would require BP to pay for the first barrier. The Times further reported that “Louisiana is free to start work immediately on the other five barriers, but with no guarantee it will be reimbursed for the effort.”
Questions about the impact of the barriers on neighboring Mississippi had originally delayed approval of the plan. The Associated Press reported on May 26 that the Army Corps released documents that day that “signaled support for parts of the state plan, including berms that would be built onto existing barrier islands,” but stated that parts of the plan “could inadvertently alter tides and end up driving oil east -- into Mississippi Sound, the Biloxi Marshes and Lake Borgne.”
If Fox News is going to suggest that the president has been “derelict” in his response to the oil spill, it should give its viewers the full story.