Fox News Attacks Obama For Calling Out Media's Role In "Vulgar" Campaign Rhetoric

Fox News Attacks Obama For Calling Out Media's Role In "Vulgar" Campaign Rhetoric

››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

Fox News hosts and contributors criticized President Obama as "hypocritical" and "condescending" after he called on journalists to consider the role they play in "the divisive and often vulgar rhetoric" in the 2016 presidential election.

President Obama Urges Journalists To Consider Their Role In "The Divisive And Often Vulgar Rhetoric" Of The Election

President Obama: "It's Worth Asking Ourselves ... As Politicians Or Journalists" Contribute To "The Divisive And Often Vulgar" Campaign RhetoricIn a March 28 speech, President Obama said that "it's worth asking ourselves what each of us -- as politicians or journalists ... may have done to contribute" to the "divisive and often vulgar rhetoric" in the presidential campaign. He also urged media members to ensure that the "billions of dollars in free media" candidates receive comes with "serious accountability":

As I've said in recent weeks, I know I'm not the only one who may be more than a little dismayed about what's happening on the campaign trail right now.  The divisive and often vulgar rhetoric that's aimed at everybody, but often is focused on the vulnerable or women or minorities.   The sometimes well-intentioned but I think misguided attempts to shut down that speech.  The violent reaction that we see, as well as the deafening silence from too many of our leaders in the coarsening of the debate.  The sense that facts don't matter, that they're not relevant.  That what matters is how much attention you can generate.  A sense that this is a game as opposed to the most precious gift our Founders gave us -- this collective enterprise of self-government.

And so it's worth asking ourselves what each of us -- as politicians or journalists, but most of all, as citizens -- may have done to contribute to this atmosphere in our politics.

[...]

The number one question I am getting as I travel around the world or talk to world leaders right now is, what is happening in America -- about our politics.  And it's not because around the world people have not seen crazy politics; it is that they understand America is the place where you can't afford completely crazy politics.  For some countries where this kind of rhetoric may not have the same ramifications, people expect, they understand, they care about America, the most powerful nation on Earth, functioning effectively, and its government being able to make sound decisions.

So we are all invested in making this system work.  We are all responsible for its success.  And it's not just for the United States that this matters.  It matters for the planet.

[...]

A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone.  It is to probe and to question, and to dig deeper, and to demand more.  The electorate would be better served if that happened.  It would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can't keep. [WhiteHouse.gov, Office Of The Press Secretary, 3/28/16]

Fox Hosts Slam Obama's Comments As "Hypocritical" And "Condescending"

Brian Kilmeade: "It's Very Interesting To See [Obama] Be So Condescending." On the March 30 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade criticized Obama's comments, saying "it's very interesting to see him be so condescending" because he's "gone around the press more than any other president":

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Let's talk about the president scolding the press. No surprise here, probably, but he was speaking for Syracuse University's Toner Award. It's an award that honors someone for excellence in political reporting. So he's speaking to this big group of reporters, all these journalists in Washington, D.C., and he basically goes after the media.

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Chews them out.

EARHARDT: Chews them out.

[...]

DOOCY: So he was calling on journalists to hold people like Donald Trump more accountable. He's the last person who should be lecturing journalists. When you look at his administration and the number of his administration has set a new low on the net time that they have actually granted FOIA requests, freedom of information requests for information from the administration and they simply don't do it.

[...] 

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): So President Obama, and also I think that's interesting because a lot of people accuse the press of not properly screening the state senator, who was a two-year U.S. senator, who became the president of the United States at 48 years old. I thought the press all over, was taking abuse for that. Number two is President Obama's gone around the press more than any other president.

DOOCY: Twitter, Facebook.

KILMEADE: And he goes on The Tonight Show to announce apologies about Tom Daschle. He talks to [Zach] Galifianakis in a very pressing time about about key issues and policies he wants to push.

EARHARDT: Yeah, you're right.

KILMEADE: He's always going through social media and Twitter, rather than waiting for Josh Earnest or whoever has the job to come forward. So I think it's very interesting to see him be so condescending earlier this week. [Fox News, Fox & Friends3/30/16]

Sean Hannity Suggests Obama May Not "Have The Right To Be Critical" Of The Press "After Years Of Getting A Pass From The Fawning Media." On the March 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity, host Sean Hannity asked "after years of getting a pass from the fawning media, does the president really have a right to be critical?" Fox contributor Jedediah Bila echoed Hannity, asking how Obama is "going to lecture the media on how to do their job when he's never faced a tough question?":

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): So last night the president criticized the media for the coverage of the 2016 race and he even lectured members of the press about how to do their jobs.

[...]

But after years of getting a pass from the fawning media, does the president really have the right to be critical?

[...]

This almost angers me.

JEDEDIAH BILA: Almost?

HANNITY: Almost really infuriates me Jedediah because this guy started his political career in Bill Ayers' home, an unrepentant terrorist, sat on boards, of course went to the church of GD America. Gave speeches with Ayers. He was asked one time by George Stephanopoulos because I had Stephanopoulos on my radio program the day before. And I fed him the question. He didn't know who Bill Ayers was when I asked him. So he asked the question and he said, "oh George, he's some guy in the neighborhood."  And he's going to now lecture on the vetting of presidential candidates?

BILA: As I remember it, the hardest question he got was from Joe the Plumber. And that was a question that he wasn't prepared for, that brought that whole discussion of redistribution of wealth to the forefront. This is a guy that the media has loved.

[...] 

But does it surprise you? I mean, this is a guy who lectures us on civility while he's terribly polarizing. Now he's going to lecture the media on how to do their job when he's never faced a tough question? And when he does, heaven forbid, get a tough question every now and then, he panics or he gets upset or defensive like a child in a classroom who's been called out.

HANNITY: Yeah, the sermonizer-in-chief.  

BILA: This isn't someone who can handle difficult questions. All of a sudden he's saying he wants them? Come on, man.

HANNITY: Kristin?

KRISTIN TATE: Obama has never been vetted by the media. This man is the media's darling. And I don't know what he's talking about when he says the media should be tough on Trump. The media has been awful to Trump. You have The New York Daily News running a cover with Trump as a clown. You have people calling him a Nazi. The media has been totally tough on Trump. [Fox News, Hannity3/29/16]

Tucker Carlson: "Obviously It's Hypocritical Given The Coverage He's Received And Demanded." On the March 29 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox host Tucker Carlson criticized Obama's comments, saying "it's hypocritical given the coverage he's received and demanded." He added it was "absurd" for journalists to invite Obama to give the speech "after all he's done to them":

BRET BAIER (HOST): President Obama talking about the media and where we are. We're back with our panel. Tucker, interesting to hear him weigh in on some of this and the decisions media make.

TUCKER CARLSON: Well, obviously it's hypocritical, given the coverage he's received and demanded. It's silly, it's factually wrong. The press did not create Trump, voters did. And it's absurd that journalists would invite him to speak to them after all he's done to them. [Fox News, Special Report3/29/16]

Bret Baier: Obama Is "Slamming The Way Journalists Do Their Job While At The Same Time Exhibiting His Own Brand Of Favoritism." On the same edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier claimed "President Obama has appointed himself judge and jury of the media ... [he's] slamming the way journalists do their job while at the same time exhibiting his own brand of favoritism." [Fox News, Special Report, 3/29/16]

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