Fox Talks Over Coverage of Obama's Speech To Veterans On Disability Claims

Fox News aired only muted footage of President Obama's speech promising to help veterans and ease the backlog of veterans' disability claims, enabling Fox figures to criticize the claims backlog without actually listening to the president's efforts to correct the problem.

Obama spoke before the Disabled American Veterans' convention in Orlando, Florida, on August 10, where he addressed the “unacceptable” backlog in applications to receive disability benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The president promised veterans that although there remains much progress to be made, the backlog has been reduced by nearly 20 percent in the last several months. During the speech, Obama also discussed his proposals to give veterans greater access to education and job opportunities.

On America's News HQ, host Uma Pemmaraju interrupted an on-going interview with Fox contributor and former senator Scott Brown in order “to take our viewers out to Florida, where President Obama is speaking to a crowd of veterans, disabled and other veterans there.” However, rather than allowing viewers to hear Obama's actual address, the two spoke over the president in order to give their own opinion on veterans' benefits claims. Pemmaraju gave a summary of Obama's “expected” comments and offered Brown a platform to disagree, saying, “Now the administration is claiming that there's been a 20 percent reduction in the backlog, but as far as I understand it, Senator, you find fault with that.” 

While Scott responded, Fox aired a split-screen of Obama's remarks at very low volume. Then Pemmaraju told viewers, “If they want to see the president's entire speech, we're going to be streaming that speech right now on” Pemmaraju and Brown went on to criticize the claims backlog and call on the administration to do more to solve the problem, a promise Obama was currently making in his speech.  

Fox has a habit of cutting away early from the president's speeches -- the network left live coverage of Obama's July economic speech to disclose the royal baby name, cut away from Obama's live remarks in Berlin to cover tea party protests, and left live coverage of Obama's June climate change speech in order to host a climate change denier.

Fox's disregard for the president's addresses is also reflected in their coverage of his recent economic speeches, which received less than eight minutes of total airtime.