Fox News Hides The Truth On Romney's “Apology Tour” Myth

Fox News provided one-sided coverage to support Mitt Romney's debate claim that President Obama began his presidency with “an apology tour.” The lie, which was  manufactured by Fox, has been debunked by fact-checkers and reporters numerous times, including repeated “pants on fire” ratings by PolitiFact.

During the October 22 debate, Mitt Romney said that President Obama began his administration with “an apology tour of going to various nations in the Middle East and criticizing America,” a claim he has used throughout his campaign. Romney went on to suggest that other countries saw this as a sign of weakness. During the October 23 edition of America's Newsroom, Fox highlighted the remarks and turned to Romney supporters John Bolton and Jack Keane to discuss the accusation. Fox News' one-sided analysis of Romney's claim lacked any mention of fact-checkers disputing the charge or even Obama's response to the attack during the debate. 

Following Romney's claim during the debate, Obama called his remarks “the biggest whopper that's been told during the course of this campaign” and correctly pointed out that fact checkers and reporters have disagreed with Romney's claim.

Fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked this claim in the past. More recently, a post today by CNN fact-checkers offered a similar explanation of Obama's comments saying:

“Obama did indeed mention past U.S. flaws in speeches. But in those addresses, Obama never uttered an apology for the United States. Those statements were snippets, part of larger and grander narratives about repairing ties, building friendship and working together.”

During a October 23 broadcast on Bloomberg TV, chief Washington correspondent Peter Cook fact-checked Romney's claim and found that President Obama had not gone on “an apology tour” and that Romney “doesn't pass the fact-checking test here.” An August 31 post on labeled Romney's claim “pants on fire.” From the fact-check:

[A] review of Obama's foreign travels and remarks during his early presidency showed no evidence to support such a blunt and disparaging claim. (In later years, we found two formal apologies, but they were not at the start of his presidency and not part of a tour.)

While Obama's speeches contained some criticisms of past U.S. actions, he typically combined those passages with praise for the United States and its ideals, and he frequently mentioned how other countries had erred as well. We found not a single, full-throated apology in the bunch."

Media Matters intern Brian Rabitz contributed to this post.