The “Fair and Balanced” slogan of Fox News long ago became a punchline; it’s generally agreed by everyone that Fox is overwhelmingly hostile to Democrats and overly solicitous to Republicans. But even by the quasi-journalistic standards of Fox, this morning’s four-minute hit piece on Obama was remarkable.
The ad — er, news piece, which Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy said was “weeks” in the making, runs four minutes, and is full of the ominous music, slick editing, and negative news reports that are the hallmark of today’s negative hit pieces.
“Let’s talk a little bit about what the campaign slogan used to be for President Obama when he was a candidate, remember it was ‘hope and change,’” said Fox and Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, introducing the piece. “So we decided to take a look back at the president’s first term to see if it lived up to ‘hope and change.’”
The piece features stock footage of panhandlers, food stamps, and people waiting in line for jobs, and hits Obama on everything from higher gas prices to the national debt.
It goes without saying that not all these attacks are based in reality (for one example, gas prices are down in recent months and hit their all-time high just prior to the 2008 economic collapse). But that’s not even the point. The point is that even if every point made by Fox was true, its presentation was designed more for a Two Minutes’ Hate (okay, Four Minutes’ Hate) than for the edification of the viewer.
Even reliably conservative outlets questioned the video. Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey asked rhetorically if others were “uncomfortable” with the video, and added, “If anyone wanted to look for evidence that the overall Fox News organization intends to campaign against Obama rather than cover the campaign, this video would be difficult to refute as evidence for that claim.”
Even Fox itself tried to distance itself from the item, pulling it from its website. Fox would have good reason to be concerned; as Media Matters reported, the advertorial would appear to violate Fox’s own ethics policy. (Yes, Fox News has an ethics policy. Really.) Fox Executive Vice President of Programming Bill Shine issued a statement to TV Newser, stating that the video “was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network.” He added that the matter had been “addressed with the show’s producers.”
Of course, the show’s producers had spent weeks working on the ad — er, piece — and obviously didn’t think that it would draw the slightest concern from anyone at the network.
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