Fox Pretends Their Selective Cropping Means Kerry Can't Debate

Today, Fox & Friends reached new heights -- or lows -- in the art of cropped videotape when they used an edited video of Sen. John Kerry speaking on the Senate floor to argue that this experienced lawyer doesn't know how to debate. In an effort to continue the right-wing media's ongoing attack on the START treaty, today Fox & Friends aired a few clips of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Kerry in a supposed back and forth about the New START treaty on the Senate floor yesterday. Here's what they showed from McConnell and Kerry's floor speeches:

McCONNELL [video clip]: No senator should be forced to make decisions like this so we can tick off another item on someone's political checklist before the end of the year. Yet looking back over the past two years it becomes apparent why the administration would rush this treaty. And it's in this context that we discover another important reason to oppose it. I'm referring of course of the administration's pattern of rushing to a policy judgment and then subsequently studying the problem that the policy decision was intended to address. [video break]

KERRY [video clip]: I would say to my friend from Kentucky that just because you say something doesn't make it true. [video break] The facts are that this treaty is not being rushed. [video break] [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 12/21/10]

Huh. Well, from that exchange, it does look like Kerry is a poor debater, but something looks odd here. Watch the video: doesn't it look like Kerry was about to say something else, right when Fox cuts him off?

Fair and balanced.

So far, this is just standard Fox shenanigans. But co-host Brian Kilmeade couldn't resist pushing Fox's misleadingly cropped footage a step further by pretending it told the whole story:

KILMEADE: Can I bring up a little -- can I bring up one point about the debate that stuck out with me?

DOOCY: The Kerry part? About --

KILMEADE: Didn't John Kerry go to an Ivy League school? Didn't they ever debate at all? He goes, “Just because you said it, doesn't mean it's true.” Is that the retort? It could be anything! [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 12/21/10]

Get it? Kerry's an Ivy League snob, so he should know how to do this debating thing! Ha ha, that Brian Kilmeade! But don't let his co-hosts off the hook, because of instead of gently reminding Kilmeade that neither senator's full remarks were aired, they laughed and said:

DOOCY: Sure.

GRETCHEN CARLSON: That sounds like a debate you have with your siblings. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 12/21/10]

Of course, “a debate you have with your siblings” is not what took place between McConnell and Kerry yesterday. Fortunately for the American people, you don't have to be physically present on the Senate floor to know what was said there. In fact, you don't even have to watch C-SPAN. You can check the Congressional Record, which the Library of Congress helpfully posts online. Here's a little more context around what Kerry said on the floor on December 20, printed beginning on page S10775 of the Congressional Record, after the jump:

KERRY: Mr. President, I am delighted to be able to say a few words in response to the minority leader. I have great respect for the minority leader. He and I came to the Senate together in the same class, and I appreciate the difficulties of his job and certainly the difficulties of corralling any number of the different personalities. The same is true for the majority leader. These are tough jobs.

But I say to my friend from Kentucky that just because you say something doesn't make it true. Our friends on the other side of the aisle seem to have a habit of repeating things that have been completely refuted by every fact there is. Our old friend Patrick Moynihan used to remind all of us in the Senate and in the country that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts. John Adams made that famous statement that facts are stubborn things. Mr. President, facts are stubborn things.

The facts are that this treaty is not being rushed. This treaty was delayed at the request of Republicans. This treaty was delayed 13 times separately by Senator Lugar to respect their desire to have more time to deal with the modernization issue, which the administration has completely, totally, thoroughly dealt with in good faith. I would like to know where the good faith comes from on the other side occasionally. They put extra money in. They sat and negotiated. They sent people to Arizona to brief Senator Kyl personally. For weeks, we delayed the procession of moving forward on this treaty in order to accommodate our friends on the other side of the aisle. And now, fully accommodated, with their requests entirely met, they come back and say, oh, it is being rushed.

Well, today marks our sixth day of debate on the New START treaty. That is a fact--6 days of debate on the New START treaty. Now they will come to the floor and say that we had an intervening vote here or there. Sure. That is the way the Senate works. That is the way it worked when they passed the first START treaty in 5 days. We are now spending more time on this treaty than we did on a far more complicated treaty, at a far more complicated time. The fact is that if we go through today, which we will, on this treaty, and depending what happens with cloture and when the other side decides they want to vote, we can be here for 9 days on this treaty, which is more time than we would have spent on the START treaty, START II treaty, and the Moscow Treaty. With the time it took other Senates to deal with three treaties, these folks are complaining about the time to take one treaty, and it will be more time. It is astounding to me. [Congressional Record, 12/21/10, emphasis added]

Hey, what do you know -- Kerry actually spent a lot of time explaining why he charged that “just because” McConnell argued something “doesn't make it true.” (He spent far more time rebutting McConnell's argument, actually, but for space considerations, I, too, have cropped his speech, which you can read in its entirety here.)

Lest you're tempted to dismiss Kilmeade's comments based on evidence that he might not be the brightest bulb on the curvy couch, note Kilmeade's final line during this segment, after Carlson says, “That sounds like a debate you have with your siblings”:

KILMEADE: Exactly! “I'm rubber, you're glue.” Did we have time for that, or did we have to edit that out? [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 12/21/10]

Sounds like this might not be a case of Kilmeade's cluelessness -- I think he knows exactly what Fox is up to and just doesn't care.