This post includes an update with new information at the bottom.
As Fox News discussed the report that Mitt Romney forcibly cut a high school classmate's hair, the channel's hosts steered conversation toward President Obama admitting to drug use in his memoir, Dreams From My Father.
But Fox could not confine itself to reliving the details of a book published 17 years ago -- its hosts baselessly suggested that Obama had dealt drugs.
During the May 10 edition of The Five, co-hosts Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld had this exchange:
BOLLING: What would you call a guy who not only used cocaine, but dealt cocaine in high school and/or college? What would you call that kind of guy?
GUTFELD: The president.
BOLLING: Besides “president.”
Later, Bolling appeared on Hannity to discuss the Romney story, and he made his accusation more explicit, saying “I think” Obama has “actually even admitted” to “selling drugs.”
SEAN HANNITY: It's -- the biggest campaign donor in 2008 was the media, Eric. What about this issue? Now, he said I was in a daze for years in high school playing basketball. I drank heavily. Used drugs -- plural. He's admitted to cocaine use. And I don't remember many questions about the specifics of his drug use. Where did he get the drugs? Who did he do drugs with? How did he get off drugs? How deep did this go? What drugs did he use? Is that fair?
BOLLING: That's more than fair, and I think he's actually even admitted to buying or selling drugs, as well, which makes it a little bit different.
Hannity's memory about coverage of Obama's drug use is poor. In February 2008, The New York Times published a 1,700-word article on its front page about Obama's drug use, specifically as it related to what he wrote in Dreams From My Father.
The article involved “more than three dozen interviews” with “friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental,” and they yielded a picture of “someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.”
Contrary to Fox's baseless allegation that Obama was a drug dealer, the Times article quoted Obama's half sister saying that he “wasn't a drug addict or dealer.”
Hannity's suggestion that a great deal of uncertainty surrounds Obama's drug use echoes a false claim in The Obama Nation, the book published by birther conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi in 2008.
Corsi wrote that Obama “has yet to answer questions” concerning whether “he stopped using marijuana and cocaine completely in college, or whether his drug use extended into his law school days or beyond.” In fact, Obama wrote in Dreams that he “stopped getting high” shortly after moving to New York City to attend Columbia University as an undergraduate.
It would not be credible for Fox News to portray this as an isolated incident. Bolling has connected Obama to selling cocaine in the past:
Other Fox figures have also made references to Obama and drugs:
UPDATE: At 10:09 this morning, Eric Bolling wrote on his Twitter feed: “Said yesterday that I thought the President had admitted to buying or selling drugs. I was wrong. And I apologize to him for my mistake”: