Fox hosts revive Fox-manufactured Obama “apology tour”

During President Obama's trip overseas in April, Fox News hosts, contributors, analysts, and regular guests often took Obama's remarks out of context to support their claim that he was on an “apology tour.” Fox News has trotted out the same smear for Obama's current trip abroad.

Pointing to President Obama's current overseas trip during the June 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson asserted that "[l]ast time" Obama went to Europe and the Middle East, “a lot of people said, Steve [Doocy, co-host], that he was on an apology tour of sorts.” Prominent among those “people” who characterized his April trip as “an apology tour” were many Fox News hosts, contributors, analysts, and regular guests, who often took out of context remarks Obama made during his trip to support their claim. Moreover, Fox News has trotted out its smear for Obama's current trip to Europe and the Middle East, baselessly promoting “another apology tour.”

Examples of Fox News characterizing Obama's prior overseas trip as an “apology tour” include:

  • On April 3, the Fox News website The Fox Nation featured a front-page headline reading: “Obama on Foreign Soil: 'America Has Shown Arrogance.' ” However, The Fox Nation, which linked to an April 3 U.K. Telegraph article about Obama's speech at a town hall that day in Strasbourg, France, ignored Obama's subsequent remarks in which he, in the words of the Telegraph article, “balanced this striking admission with a tough message to Europeans that blaming America was foolish.” The Telegraph then quoted Obama saying: “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.”


  • During the April 3 edition of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity played a cropped clip of remarks Obama made in an April 3 speech in Strasbourg in which Obama said “there have been times where America's shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” He then asked, “Obama apologizing for the arrogance of America?” Later in the program, Hannity stated: “America is arrogant. That's what Mr. Obama said today, doing his best Dixie Chicks impression while his new world order tour traveled across Europe.” He then aired a cropped clip of Obama stating, “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 claimed the remarks were an example of Obama “blam[ing] America first.”
  • During the April 3 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer asserted, “We're a country who went to war six times on behalf of Muslims in the last 20 years, and we're apologizing?” Host Bret Baier later asked: “Is it working -- this whole mea culpa for America thing?”
  • During the April 6 edition of his program, Hannity falsely claimed that Obama “seemingly apologiz[ed] for our engagement in the war on terror” when Obama stated during an April 6 speech before the Turkish parliament that "[t]he United States is not ... at war with Islam." However, in those same remarks, Obama also stated that “Iraq, Turkey, and the United States face a common threat from terrorism” and that “we are committed to a more focused effort to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda.”
  • During the April 6 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly said to managing editor Mary Katharine Ham: “Look, these speeches are written. He goes over them line by line. He -- Barack Obama's an academic. He knows what he's saying. Why, Mary Katharine, would he even go there?” Ham responded, “Because he thinks that being liked is the point. And I'm not sure he's working strategically towards -- ” O'Reilly then interjected, "[S]o to put America in a bad light other, people like you for doing that?" Ham replied: “Well, the Europeans do, certainly. That's part of it. And I hate to generalize here, and liberals, God bless them -- they enjoy apologizing for America, because we're powerful, because we're a leader in the world.” O'Reilly responded: “There's something to that.”
  • During the April 8 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, radio host and comedian Dennis Miller stated: “Listen, I like [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates. I like the way we're handling Iraq, which is staying in like Bush would. I like him going to the mat in Afghanistan. But we've got to quit apologizing to every B-lister in a leopard-skin fez and a doorman's outfit from the Plaza Hotel. America is a great country, and we need not constantly chide ourselves. They're the ones who whip themselves on the back, not us.”
  • During the April 8 edition of his program, Hannity asserted that Obama is “coming off a tour where he's constantly apologizing for America, referring to us as an arrogant country, dictating to the world our views, and that we're not a Christian nation.” Also during the show, Hannity claimed that “the president's been making waves with his apology tour overseas” and that Obama is “apologizing for America.” Hannity continued: “What he ought to be doing, as the president, telling America's great story that we are the champions of liberty and freedom.”
  • During the April 9 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck claimed that “Obama is apologizing to the Frenchy French for our arrogance.”

In anticipation of Obama's current overseas trip, Fox News has returned to its “apology tour” smear, again distorting remarks Obama made during his Strasbourg speech and suggesting that his second trip will be “another apology tour.” In a June 2 segment on Happening Now, co-host Jon Scott asked if “the president's upcoming trip [to Europe and the Middle East will] be what conservatives might call another apology tour,” and on-screen text aired during the segment advanced the “apology tour” smear. Additionally, supporting the baseless claim that Obama's prior trip was an “apology tour,” both Scott and co-host Jane Skinner aired cropped clips of Obama's remarks from his Strasbourg speech to falsely suggest that Obama criticized only the United States.



Additionally, during the June 3 edition of Fox & Friends, Carlson said, “President Obama is on a big trip over to the Middle East for the next couple of days. ... Last time, a lot of people said, Steve, that he was on an apology tour of sorts, so we decided to put a little bit of video tape together,” and proceeded to play a video montage including excerpts from Obama's previous foreign trips, which took Obama's Strasbourg remarks out of context. Doocy then stated, “So, what will he say during this trip? Keep it right here on Fox.”

And as of 5:26 p.m. ET on June 3, The Fox Nation featured a front-page headline, “Humiliating a Superpower? Obama's Top 10 Apologies,” which linked to a Fox Nation page that provided a link to a June 2 Heritage Foundation memo and text of that memo's first paragraph. From the memo, "Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower," as quoted by The Fox Nation:

A common theme that runs through President Obama's statements is the idea the United States must atone for its past policies, whether it is America's application of the war against Islamist terrorism or its overall foreign policy. At the core of this message is the concept that the U.S. is a flawed nation that must seek redemption by apologizing for its past “sins.”

Among the “Top 10 Apologies” outlined by Heritage were Obama's oft-misrepresented remarks in Strasbourg, which Heritage similarly cropped.