The four minute anti-Obama attack ad aired by Fox News this morning was the equivalent of $96,000 of free advertising for the Republican Party. Sources confirm to Media Matters that at the current rate of $6,000 for a 30-second ad on Fox and Friends, the cost of airing two four-minute attack ads would cost an outside group $96,000*. Fox News aired their ad at 6:45 a.m. and 8:07 a.m. during that program.
Fox is also promoting the ad at the top of their Fox Nation website as "Must-See Fox Video."
The ad has received widespread criticism. Released the day after Mitt Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination, the ad resurrects several false and misleading economic attacks on Obama and may also violate News Corp.'s own internal ethics policy.
Conservative blogger Ed Morrisey of HotAir.com wrote, "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."
Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik described the ad as "shamelessly political" and said, "Any news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core."
Dylan Byers of Politico added, "For all its blatantly conservative programming, Fox News does a pretty incredible job of swearing up and down that it's non-partisan. But it's kind of impossible to see how you walk this one back."
Mediaite's Noah Rothman noted that the ad "bore striking resemblance to a Republican party web ad."
In 2010, Fox gave potential Republican presidential candidates the equivalent of $54.7 million in free advertising while they appeared as hosts or contributors employed by the network for more than 85 hours.