Fox News deceptively cropped a statement from Sen. Harry Reid's spokesman to support Fox's claim that Reid was facing a “political scandal.” This is only the latest episode in a long line of examples of Fox News misleadingly doctoring video in order to smear progressives.
Fox crops Reid statement to pretend he has a “political scandal”
Baier introduces report by asserting Reid is dealing with a “political scandal.” On the October 27 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier introduced a segment on the alleged misconduct of a former low-level staffer to Reid by saying, “The last thing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needed was a political scandal as he fights to hold onto his seat from Nevada. But he has one tonight.”
Report omits key portions of Reid statement. During the segment, correspondent Shannon Bream reported on allegations that a former low-level staff member of Sen. Harry Reid, Diana Tejada, was married to a Lebanese national, Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini, seven years ago in order to permit him to stay in the United States and lied to federal authorities about the marriage. Bream's report suggested that Reid's office may have known about the allegations. But in reporting Reid spokesman Jim Manley's statement, Bream eliminated the portion of Manley's remarks making clear that Tejada's actions took place before she worked for Reid and that the office had been unaware of the allegations against Tejada:
BREAM: Reid's office says, quote, “The staffer at issue is no longer with our office ... the bottom line remains that this story was a desperation measure by partisan Republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of [Sharron Angle's] campaign.”
On-screen text quoting the statement indicated with an ellipsis that the middle of the statement had been omitted.
Reid statement: “Our office was not previously aware of these allegations. ... The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong.” Manley's statement to FoxNews.com is as follows, with the portions that Special Report omitted in bold:
Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office. The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong. But the bottom line remains that this story was a desperation measure by partisan Republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of her campaign.
Fox relentlessly crops quotes and videos to advance conservative agenda
Below, Media Matters presents a non-comprehensive list of the most misleading instances in which Fox News figures aired cropped clips of progressives that were taken out of context:
Fox & Friends cherry-picked Rauf video to claim he thinks oppressive treatment of women and gays is consistent with Constitution. On the September 14 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson aired a clip of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf saying that “90 percent of sharia law is fully compatible, and not only -- not only compatible, is consistent or compatible with American constitutional law and American laws. The areas of difference are small and minor.” Carlson then asked guest Frank Gaffney, “So is the American Constitution and sharia law, are they really compatible?” Gaffney responded by ridiculing those who claim the treatement of women and gays in some Muslim countries “is consistent with the way they're treated here” as “obviously either ignorant, which seems very unlikely, or he's engaged in what they called under sharia, taqiyya, which is lying for the faith.” In fact, in his entire statement, Rauf noted that “there are aspects of shari'a law which we ourselves have trouble with” and made the point that there are similarities between the Declaration of Independence and Muslim jurists' focus on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
America Live used deceptive editing to concoct Obama/Clinton schism. On the September 8 edition of America Live, host Megyn Kelly teased a segment by asking, “Did Hillary Clinton just effectively declare her candidacy for president of the United States?” She then aired a clip of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying at an appearance that day before the Council on Foreign Relations, “I think that our rising debt levels poses a national security threat, and it poses a national security threat in two ways. It undermines our capacity to act in our own interest, and it does constrain us where constraint may be undesirable. And it also sends a message of weakness internationally.” In fact, Clinton made clear in the very next paragraph - which Kelly didn't air -- that she wasn't criticizing President Obama's deficit spending; she was criticizing President Bush's.
Hannity cut off Obama quote, suggests Obama “may want to consider hitting the history books maybe before [his] next foreign trip.” On the July 7, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity deceptively cropped President Obama's answer to a question from Fox News senior White House correspondent Major Garrett about the Cold War to suggest that Obama did not acknowledge the actions of past U.S. presidents in freeing Eastern Europe. In fact, as part of his answer, Obama stated, “I'm very proud of the traditions of Democratic and Republican presidents to lift the Iron Curtain,” a comment Hannity edited out of the clip he aired of Obama's response.
Hannity accused Obama of “attacking” Patraeus, leaving out Obama's statement that “this is not a criticism of either of you gentlemen. This is criticism of this president [Bush].” On the June 23 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity discussed Obama's decision to appoint Petraeus and said, “Here is Barack Obama attacking General Petraeus.” Hannity then played deceptively edited video of Obama's questioning of Petraeus during 2007 Senate testimony. In comments cropped out of the video, Obama made clear his criticism was directed at Bush and was “not a criticism” of Petraeus, but rather “a criticism of this president [Bush].”
Beck cut off full Obama quote, claimed “he's generalizing, profiling, and stereotyping” and that Obama thinks white executives are “racists” and “all alike.” On the June 14 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck discussedObama's alleged unwillingness to meet with Tony Hayward, then-CEO of BP. After asking “Does the fact that BP CEO is a capitalist...is that what does it? You know, when I meet with those capitalists -- he's a white CEO. Maybe that's it. He's a white CEO. White CEOs -- I don't know if you know this -- but white CEOs, they don't like to -- they don't want to pay their tax dollars and have those tax dollars go to inner-city kids. Beck then played a clip from an August 1995 interview in which Obama said, ”And I really want to emphasize the word responsibility. I think that whether you are a white executive living out in the suburbs who doesn't want to pay taxes to inner-city children to -- for them to go to school --" Beck went on to comment, “I know. Man, all those white executives, what racists they are. They're all alike, you know. Oh, they just hate those inner-city kids. Wow. Inner-city kids - that's not code languages, is it?” In reality, Obama's full statement from the 1995 interview made clear that he was actually discussing personal responsibility on the part of both blacks and whites:
"...I think that is going to be happening, and we can't ignore it. I think whether or not my children or your children will have to struggle with these same issues depends on what we do and whether we take some mutual responsibility for bridging the divisions that exist right now. And I really want to emphasize the word “responsibility. ”I think that whether you are a white executive living out in the suburbs who doesn't want to pay taxes to inner-city children to -- for them to go to school or you are a inner-city child who doesn't want to take responsibility for keeping your street safe and clean, both of those groups have to take some responsibility if we're going to get beyond the kinds of divisions that we face right now.
Beck cropped video to absurdly claim “the mask is coming off” a plot to take over the country. On the June 10 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck played a cropped video of a speech by Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins to suggest that “the mask is coming off” the left's purported plot to take over America. He played a video of Ellis-Lamkins speaking at a conference saying “When Glenn Beck started talking about me, someone said, 'Are you angry?' And what I said to him is, 'Absolutely, we have a plot to take over this country. Absolutely we do.' It's not a hidden agenda.” The full quote, however, makes it clear that Ellis-Lamkins is referring to the agenda of Green for All, that “all people deserve equality,” and not a sinister plot to take over the country, as Beck suggested. She went on to state:
ELLIS-LAMKINS: And so, you know, I thought about, well, who are we? Well, we believe that a coalition of working-class white men, people of color, environmentalists, that we're capable of change. We recognize there's honor in being a coal miner in West Virginia, and we don't blame the coal miner. But we recognize that the needs of the coal miner, of the white West Virginian coal miner, and the black woman working in Chevron in Richmond, that they have the same needs, and an agenda can meet both of their needs. That's who we are.
You know, I have a -- you know, I come out of the labor a moment so I am used to people yelling at me. And so -- members, politicians -- it doesn't hurt my feelings. So when Glenn Beck started talking about me, someone said, “Are you angry? He said you want to take over the world.” Like maybe we shouldn't talk about it for awhile. And what I said to him is, “Absolutely, we have a plot to take over this country. Absolutely, we do.”
It's not a hidden agenda. It's an agenda that says that all people deserve equality, that white coal miners in West Virginia and black women in Richmond, California, want the same thing. What they want is for us to divide ourselves. What they want is for us to say that one is better than another. That it's immigration versus coal mining, that it's this versus that. And what we say is no, because our vision of America has all of us, not some of us. That when we think about what green is, it is green for all, not for some. That's the difference.
Garrett deceptively cropped Obama remark on judicial role. On the May 1 edition of Speical Report, then-senior White House correspondent Major Garrett quoted Obama as saying that “I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes.” Garrett went on to say “that aggravates those who believe justices should follow the constitution and legislative intent.” Garrett failed to mention that immediately following the quote that Fox aired, Obama said, “I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role.”
Beck deceptively cropped Pelosi speech. On his April 7 show, Beck deceptively cropped a speech from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, airing her statement about health care reform legislation that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it,” before suggesting that what Pelosi meant was that she was deceitfully hiding what was in the health care legislation until after it passed. In fact, Pelosi said in full, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”
Hannity cropped Romer, says “it is no wonder the American people are losing trust in the president's ability to handle the economy.” On February 17, Sean Hannity said that “Christina Romer went off her talking points yet again. But this time, she contradicted herself.” He then played a clip of Romer on Good Morning America where, in response to question about whether the biggest “bang from the stimulus” had already occurred, stated “Absolutely not.” Hannity contrasted this with a video from October of 2009 where Romer said “Most analysts predict that the fiscal stimulus will have its greatest impact on growth in the second and third quarters of 2009 and by mid-2010 fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to further growth.” In fact, Romer did not contradict herself. In the February clip she was discussing employment and the effects of the stimulus on the labor market. In the October clip, she was discussing GDP growth. The Recovery Act affected these indicators in different ways, and Romer's meaning would have been clear had her words not been cut off.
Beck, Special Report cropped White House aide Anita Dunn to suggest that Mao Zedong is “her favorite political philosopher.” On the October 19, 2009 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Beck showed a clip of Dunn from a high school graduation ceremony saying “Two of my favorite political philosophers, Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa -- not often coupled with each together, but the two people that I turn to most.” Beck then went on to say “I don't think Mao should be anybo dy's favorite anything, especially not your favorite political philosopher or one that you turn to most, given that his political philosophies included shooting political opponents in the head.” On Fox News'Special Report of that same day, Brit Hume commented, “Well, she also said that this is the two people she turns to most. This doesn't sound like it was a one-off attempt to make a joke and imitate the Republican strategist Lee Atwater.” But the clip Fox aired removed the portion of her statement in which she made clear that Mao and Mother Teresa were “the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you're going to make choices” [emphasis added].
Goler took Obama out of context to suggest he wanted a health care system “like the European countries.” On the April 24, 2009 edition of Special Report, White House correspondent Wendell Goler cropped a comment by Obama and took it out of context -- effectively reversing the statement's meaning -- to falsely suggest that Obama supports creating a health care system “like the European countries.” The video aired by Fox showed the president saying “If you're going to fix it, why not do a universal health care system like the European countries?” In fact, when Obama actually said, “Now, the question is, if you're going to fix it, why not do a universal health care system like the European countries?” he was paraphrasing the question he was asked. He went on to explain why he doesn't believe that a single-payer, European-type system would be appropriate in the United States at this time.
Hannity truncated Obama quote to portray it as an example of “blame America first.” On the April 3, 2009, edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity played a clip of President Obama saying in speech that day in Strasbourg, France: “In America, there's a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America's shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” Hannity then said: “And the liberal tradition of blame America first, well, that's still alive.” Hannity later asked: “Why is there this anti-Americanism in Europe?” In fact, immediately after the part of the speech Hannity played, Obama criticized anti-Americanism in Europe as well as Europeans who “choose to blame America for much of what's bad.”
Obama stated: “But in Europe, there is an anti-Americanism that is at once casual but can also be insidious. Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what's bad.” Obama continued: “On both sides of the Atlantic, these attitudes have become all too common. They are not wise. They do not represent the truth. They threaten to widen the divide across the Atlantic and leave us both more isolated. They fail to acknowledge the fundamental truth that America cannot confront the challenges of this century alone, but that Europe cannot confront them without America.” At no point during the show did Hannity acknowledge that Obama had made these comments.