Fox “Straight News” Division Joins Effort To Drum Up Scandal Over Routine Review Of General's Testimony
Earlier today, Fox News' opinion programming claimed the Obama administration “pressured” Air Force Gen. William Shelton “to change his testimony” about the effects of a broadband system on military GPS in order to help out a Democratic donor. Fox's opinion programming ignored the fact that coordination of Defense Department testimony is routine.
And surprise, surprise, Fox's “straight news” division did the exact same thing with this story. On Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News' Pentagon correspondent Jennifer Griffin claimed that “Republicans on Capitol Hill say that General William Shelton, the top commander at U.S. Space Command told a closed door briefing of lawmakers that the Obama administration had urged him to downplay” concerns over the broadband system.
Griffin later added: “Sources tell Fox that General Shelton was asked by the White House to say that the Pentagon would try to resolve the problems of GPS with more testing. General Shelton pushed back and Republicans are asking why the White House tried to change a U.S. general's testimony.”
But Griffin's story is laughably one-sided.
Griffin failed to mention that Defense Department testimony is routinely reviewed and coordinated with administrative agencies as the Department of Defense Office of Legislative Counsel makes clear. Moreover, the White House Office of Management and Budget has the mission of “clearing ”agency views on legislative proposals and testimony to ensure consistency in the Administration's policy positions." In other words, clearing and coordinating General Shelton's testimony is standard process.
Also missing from Griffin's report: Colonel Kathleen Cook, a spokeswoman for General Shelton, who Griffin quoted in the piece, has said: “I can assure you Gen. Shelton's testimony was his own, supported by and focused purely on documented tested results.”
Another piece of evidence missing from Griffin's report is that, according to Politico, the alleged Democratic donor at the center of the story, Philip Falcone, says: “I'm a registered Republican and have given more money to Republicans than to Democrats.”
Sadly, this is just another example of how Fox News' "straight news" division and its opinion programming are really the same thing.