Fox News' Kelly misquoted Edwards to suggest he cited Hilton affair in "two Americas" comments

››› ››› ANDREW IRONSIDE

Discussing Paris Hilton's jail sentence, Greg Kelly stated: "[A]ccording to John Edwards, this kind of drives home his point about two Americas. He said this on the campaign trail: 'I still believe,' he said, 'with regard to Paris Hilton, that we have two Americas.' " In fact, Edwards said: "I still do believe, without regard to Paris Hilton, that we have two Americas."

Discussing celebrity heiress Paris Hilton's jail sentence on the June 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday, host Greg Kelly stated: "[A]ccording to [Democratic presidential candidate] John Edwards, this kind of drives home his point about two Americas. He said this on the campaign trail: 'I still believe,' he said, 'with regard to Paris Hilton, that we have two Americas.' " Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton responded: "[I]f by ... two Americas, you mean the America of multimillionaire trial lawyers who put their money in overseas hedge funds and get $400 haircuts and charge it to their campaign, I agree. There are two Americas." However, Kelly misquoted Edwards' comments from a June 7 press conference. As video shown during the June 8 edition of MSNBC's Hardball clearly shows, Edwards said: "I still do believe, without regard to Paris Hilton, that we have two Americas." [Emphasis added]

Moreover, contrary to Kelly's suggestion that Edwards drew a parallel between the Hilton story and his message about economic inequality in America, Edwards was actually responding to a reporter's question linking the two. Indeed, the reporter asked: "Senator, you speak all the time about two Americas, can you just tell us briefly, you know, what you think the message sends that Paris Hilton got out of jail after three days, when she was originally supposed to spend 45 days in jail?" In his answer, Edwards said that he was "going to stay out of the Paris Hilton story" and stated twice that his comments were "without regard to Paris Hilton."

From a transcript of the June 7 press conference posted on the New York Times political weblog The Caucus:

Reporter: Senator, you speak all the time about two Americas, can you just tell us briefly, you know, what you think the message sends that Paris Hilton got out of jail after three days, when she was originally supposed to spend 45 days in jail?

Mr. Edwards: Um, I'm gonna stay out of the Paris Hilton story. Although I saw it seems to be completely dominating the news, I had the television on just before I came down. Uh, I still do believe, without regard to Paris Hilton, that, uh, we have two Americas and I think what's important is, it's obvious that the problem exists.

The issue is what are we going to do to create one America with universal health care, with more economic equality, having, raising the minimum wage, access to decent housing, access to college for kids who can't afford it? Those are the tools, some of the tools, that allow us to close the gap that exists in America today between those who are doing well and everything else. I think the next president of the United States is going to have a huge responsibility. Last. It's not healthy for our economy, it's not healthy for our democracy, and I think we need to do something about it -- without regard to Paris Hilton.

Similarly, as Media Matters for America noted, on the June 8 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto falsely asserted that Edwards "used" the Hilton story "in part of his campaign comments, talking about the dichotomy between the rich and the poor."

From the June 10 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends Sunday:

KELLY: Well, Jim [Pinkerton], you know -- well, let's see what John Edwards said this -- according to John Edwards, this kind of drives home his point about two Americas. He said this on the campaign trail: "I still believe," he said, "with regard to Paris Hilton, that we have two Americas." This kind of underscores his theme. You buy that, Ellen [Ratner]?

RATNER: I absolutely buy it. And, in fact, there was some guy on the execution chair saying, "Capital punishment. Those who have the capital don't do the punishment." I think that there is no question that she got special treatment. But I want to say something else, which is that I think that she should have gotten treatment. And all people in her condition ought to be getting treatment, not jail.

KELLY: Jim?

PINKERTON: Well, I mean, if by John Edwards being two Americas, you mean the America of multimillionaire trial lawyers who put their money in overseas hedge funds and get $400 haircuts and charge it to their campaign, I agree. There are two Americas.

From the June 8 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

CHRIS MATTHEWS (host): So, are the rich and the powerful above the law? Presidential candidate John Edwards was asked about the Paris Hilton affair today.

[begin video clip]

EDWARDS: I'm going to stay out of the Paris Hilton story. Although I saw it seems to be completely dominating the news. I had the television on just before I came down. I still do believe, without regard to Paris Hilton, that we have two Americas, and I think what's important is obvious -- it's obvious that the problem exists. The issue is what are we going to do to create one America with universal health care, with more economic equality, having a -- raising the minimum wage, access to decent housing, access to college for kids who can't afford it?

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Greg Kelly
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
John Edwards, 2008 Elections
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