During the November 8 edition of Fox News Watch -- Fox News' media criticism and analysis program -- host Jon Scott repeated the fake story that President Obama watched an HBO documentary about himself on November 3 instead of election returns. However, Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett said on November 4 that the story -- which Fox News started -- was incorrect and apologized for what he said was his "mistake."
November 4: MacCallum starts fake story that Obama watched HBO documentary about himself instead of election returns
During the November 4 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Martha MacCallum started the fake story that Obama watched an HBO special about himself instead of the November 3 election returns:
MacCALLUM: Robert Gibbs, the press secretary, has been speaking with some reporters and he was asked, "So why didn't the president watch (the returns) last night?" And Robert Gibbs said, "Well, he was actually watching, you know, the HBO special about his year-long campaign and how it all went." So he was watching that last night. He says he was monitoring the returns as they came in, but [co-host] Bill [Hemmer], you know, we know that Michelle and the girls went to the Miley Cyrus concert last night. So he's all alone in that big house, right? Nothing to do but sit back and watch -- reminisce about the long campaign and watch HBO and the special."
The fake story was then picked up by Rush Limbaugh, who claimed that "[i]f a documentary could get anal poisoning, this one could."
Garrett: "I misheard Robert Gibbs. ... My mistake"
From the November 4 edition of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith:
GARRETT: At 10 o'clock this morning, Martha MacCallum reported that the president last night didn't watch election returns but watched the HBO movie. That's because I misheard Robert Gibbs in the gaggle. The White House says he was probably watching the Bulls-Bucks basketball game, not the HBO movie. My mistake.
Fox News Watch on November 8: Obama "was watching the HBO documentary"
On Fox's media criticism show, Scott advanced Fox's fake story. On the November 8 edition of Fox News Watch -- billed by Fox News as "Media analysts cover the coverage of the week's biggest stories" -- Scott claimed that instead of watching election returns, Obama was "watching the HBO documentary. ... Now, maybe that's the one thing that could pull him away from -- from election returns." From Fox News Watch:
JAMES PINKERTON: Reporters are supposed to identify and put thing into an historical context. And the fact remains that since the Virginia governor's race has gone the opposite way of the White House for, like, 36 years in a row, that tells you pretty decisively that the voters in Virginia are reacting against who's ever in the White House. This time, it's Obama.
SCOTT: S.E., we are -- we heard from Robert Gibbs, the presidential spokesman, on Wednesday. He came out and said, "Oh, the president wasn't really paying attention to these returns. He was watching the HBO documentary" --
S.E. CUPP: I'm sorry. I can't even -- I can't even contain myself.
SCOTT: Now, maybe that's the one thing that could pull him away from -- from election returns.
CUPP: The spin job was laughable. I mean, really laughable. I get it. I mean, that's what you have to do in politics. They really had no choice.
Fox News contributors react to fake story with laughter. While Scott forwarded the fake story, panelists on the show -- Ellis Henican, Kirsten Powers, S.E. Cupp, and James Pinkerton -- laughed hysterically at Gibbs' purported remark: