Fox & Friends this morning reacted to a new effort by the White House to respond to reports that the White House had created an online rapid response team to debunk falsehoods about the administration, among other things, by doing what they do best: freaking out. Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that White House staffer Jesse Lee would be filling a new position "for helping coordinate rapid response to unfavorable stories and fostering and improving relations with the progressive online community." Huffington Post further reported that "the White House will be adopting a more aggressive engagement in the online world in the months ahead." Fox, the leading cable news source for anti-Obama smears, did not care for this development. Observe:
So to Karl Rove, arguably the king of smear campaigns, the Obama administration's attempt to push back on the many lies and distortions about him, his administration and his record is tantamount to "the most vicious, negative, re-election campaign that we've seen." Forgive me for laughing.
Ironically, in reporting on Lee's new post, Fox justified the position's entire existence.
First of all, Fox aired this on-screen text during the segment:
But Lee is not a "czar"; he's the Director of Progressive Media & Online Response. Labeling anyone who works for the president as a "czar," then conducting a campaign to make people scared of them, is a classic Fox News smear.
But more importantly, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade got this all wrong. They don't seem to understand that the purpose of the Director of Progressive Media is not to fight smears from the progressive media. It's to fight smears from places like Fox News. As this segment and hundreds before it have shown, Fox has dedicated themselves to attacking the president for everything he does, and smearing both him and the members of his administration.
Also, the creation of this position is hardly surprising. After all, in 2008 the Obama campaign had an online team dedicated to pushing back against smears against Obama -- like, for instance, smears that he was not born in the United States or was educated in a madrassa or was best friends with Bill Ayers. Guess where those rumors were floated? On Fox.
If Fox was really concerned about Obama needing to appoint a full-time staffer to fight smears, maybe they should spend less time inventing them.