Fox Spent Four Hours Trying To Explain Away Obama's “Acts Of Terror” Comments

In the second presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley corrected Mitt Romney after he falsely claimed that President Obama had waited 14 days to describe the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as an act of terror. In the two days after the debate, Fox News aired 55 segments, totaling more than four hours, that attempted to portray Obama's reference to “acts of terror” as a general statement or as referring to another incident.

CNN's Crowley Corrects Romney's Claim That Obama Waited Two Weeks To Call The Attack Terrorism

October 16: Crowley Notes Obama's Reference To “Acts Of Terror” In Rose Garden Address. During the second presidential debate, Romney attempted to dispute Obama's claim that he referred to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as an “act of terror.” CNN host and debate moderator Candy Crowley responded by pointing out that Obama did call the attack an act of terror. From the debate:

ROMNEY: I -- I think interesting the president just said something which -- which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.

OBAMA: That's what I said.

ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.

It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?

OBAMA: Please proceed, governor.

ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CROWLEY: It -- it -- it -- he did in fact, sir. So let me -- let me call it an act of terror...

OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?

CROWLEY: He -- he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take -- it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that. [Second Presidential Debate, 10/16/12 via The Washington Post]

Crowley Was Correct That Obama Called The Attack An Act Of Terror

Obama's Rose Garden Address: “No Acts Of Terror Will Ever Shake The Resolve Of This Great Nation.” On September 12, the day after the attack, President Obama addressed the nation from the White House Rose Garden. In his remarks, he said that no “acts of terror” would shake the country's resolve and then mentioned the four Americans who were killed in the attack:

OBAMA: As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done. [White House, 9/12/12]

On September 13, Obama Again Referred To The Attack As An “Act Of Terror.” At a campaign event in Golden, Colorado on September 13, Obama again described the Benghazi attack as an “act of terror”:

OBAMA: So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice.  (Applause.)  I want people around the world to hear me:  To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.  No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.  (Applause.) [White House, 9/13/12]

At A Second Event On September 13, Obama Said Of Benghazi: “No Act Of Terror Will Dim The Light” Of American Values. Later on September 13, at an event in Las Vegas, Nevada, Obama again called the attack an “act of terror”:

OBAMA: As for the ones we lost last night:  I want to assure you, we will bring their killers to justice. And we want to send a message all around the world -- anybody who would do us harm:  No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America." [White House, 9/13/12]

Fox Spent Four Hours In Two Days Attempting To Discredit Obama's Accurate Claim

On October 17 And October 18, Fox Spent Over Four Hours Attacking Obama's Accurate Claim. Media Matters reviewed Fox's coverage of the debate on October 17 and 18 and found that Fox devoted four hours and seven minutes to attacking Obama's statement. On October 17 alone, Fox spent more than two hours and 34 minutes attempting to challenge the accuracy of Obama's statement. Fox's “straight news” programs, America's Newsroom, Happening Now, Special Report, and Fox Report, accounted for one hour and 22 minutes. Fox's “opinion” shows accounted for an additional two hours and 44 minutes. Over the two days, Fox devoted 55 segments to attacking the president's accurate claim. Fox & Friends alone devoted 11 segments to the attack.

Media Matters interns Brian Rabitz and Alessandra DiMonda contributed to this report