FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 29, 2011
Jess Levin (202) 772-8162
Media Matters Uncovers Audio of Network VP Bragging About Engaging In "Mischievous" Behavior Days Before The 2008 Election
Washington, DC -- Today, Media Matters for America released audio of Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon boasting that he lied repeatedly during the closing days of the 2008 presidential campaign when speculating on air "about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism." Sammon bragged about his "mischievous" on-air behavior while acknowledging that "privately" he believed the socialism allegation was "rather far-fetched."
"A top Fox News executive has admitted on tape to repeatedly and deliberately misleading viewers," said Ari Rabin-Havt, Executive Vice President at Media Matters. "This violates the basic and most essential role of a news organization -- that of keeping the public honestly informed."
Rabin-Havt added: "If Fox wants to continue to insist that a difference exists between their news and opinion programming, they can start by firing Bill Sammon."
Sammon made his startling admission during an August 2, 2009 speech onboard a 12-day cruise sponsored by the conservative Hillsdale College.
"Last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to quote, 'spread the wealth around,' " said Sammon in his speech."At that time, I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched."
Indeed, in the weeks leading up to the 2008 election, Sammon repeatedly used his Fox position to engage in a campaign to tie Obama to "Marxists" and "socialism." A Media Matters review found that Sammon - then the network's Washington deputy managing editor - linked Obama's "spread the wealth around" remark to socialism in four separate Fox appearances in October 2008.
Sammon's "mischief" wasn't limited to his on-air appearances. As an email -- leaked exclusively to Media Matters by a Fox News source -- demonstrates, Sammon also pushed his Fox News colleagues to play the socialism card, highlighting what he described as "Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists" in his 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father.