Megyn Kelly opened the October 8 edition of Fox News' America Live by attacking the Obama campaign for describing Mitt Romney's debate performance as untruthful, and contrasting it with reactions to Rep. Joe Wilson's "you lie" outburst during President Obama's 2009 speech to Congress on health care reform. But she didn't note that Wilson's accusation was actually false, while many of Romney's assertions were provably false. Kelly also absurdly equated statements on political talk shows with actions in Congress, which are governed by rules of protocol.
Appearing with Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt, Kelly compared negative Democratic reaction to Wilson's outburst to their reactions to Romney's debate performance. She then asked "what happened" to supposedly change the mood from Obama's statement at the time that political discussions should occur "without vitriol, without name-calling without the assumption of the worst in other people's motives." Stirewalt claimed that the alleged change in tone came about because of the closeness of the election, asserting without evidence that "there probably will be some backlash for the President" for asserting that Romney lied.
But the two examples are not equivalent.
Rep. Wilson yelled "you lie" when President Obama, referring to the health care reform law, asserted that "the reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally." The Senate framework for the health reform law, which formed the basis for much of Obama's remarks, stated that "no illegal immigrants will benefit from the health care tax credits." The final health care law clearly states that "Nothing in this subtitle or the amendments made by this subtitle allows Federal payments, credits, or cost-sharing reductions for individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States." Wilson's accusation against Obama was simply false.
By comparison, many of Romney's claims about Obama administration policies on issues like taxes, income, debt, green energy, health care reform, as well as claims about PBS funding and tax cuts, were all dishonest (and traceable to previous Fox News distortions).
Kelly and Stirewalt also acted as if comments from the Obama campaign on Meet The Press, Face The Nation, and in other news outlets were the equivalent of a joint session of Congress. In fact, there are rules which govern the behavior of members of Congress during such sessions, and Rep. Wilson was formally admonished by a House resolution which described the outburst as "a breach of decorum [that] degraded the proceedings of the joint session, to the discredit of the House" and resolved "that the House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of the Representative from South Carolina, Mr. Wilson."