Fox & Friends distorted Obama's words to claim he's against the "American dream"

››› ››› DIANNA PARKER

Reporting on President Obama's financial reform speech, Fox & Friends repeatedly distorted his remarks to suggest that he is opposed to capitalism and "the American dream." In fact, Obama repeatedly stressed that he "believe[d] in the power of the free market."

Fox News distorts Obama's words to suggest he's anti-capitalist and "squashing your dreams"

Doocy: Obama "apparently has a problem with the great American dream" and "with money." In two teases, co-host Steve Doocy aired a clip of Obama saying at an April 28 rally in Quincy, Illinois: "We're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." Doocy commented that Obama "apparently has a problem with the great American dream" and "with money." He added: "What's that point? Perhaps we should just spread the wealth around a little bit?"

Fox & Friends: Obama is "squashing your dreams." During the teases, an on-screen graphic appeared that said Obama is "squashing your dreams":

squashdreams

Carlson hosted Ayn Rand biographer to claim that unlike Obama, Rand believed "money was productivity and creativity and honorable enterprise." During the segment, co-host Gretchen Carlson played the clip of Obama's comments and said: "Made enough money? Well, in 1957, author Ayn Rand, she wrote this: 'Let me give you a tip on a clue to men's characters. The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it. Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter.' " The biographer, Anne C. Heller, said that Rand believed "money was productivity and creativity and honorable enterprise" and that it "creat[es] a vast energy circuit that makes us all wealthier and doing all that without violence or dishonorability." Heller added that Rand would have been against Wall Street reform because she "was against government regulation from beginning to end." From the segment:

CARLSON: So is this the world that Rand was trying to warn us about, Anne?

HELLER: Absolutely, it is. For her, enough money was a contradiction in terms, because money was productivity and creativity and honorable enterprise.

CARLSON: So she said money is not the root of all evil. Money is the root of all good.

HELLER: The root of all good, because it's our way of trading with each other, creating a vast energy circuit that makes us all wealthier and doing all that without violence or dishonorability.

CARLSON: You became interested in writing this book about her -- by the way it's the first full-length biography not written by one of her followers.

HELLER: True.

CARLSON: What was it that made you want to focus, because so much has been focused now in the last six months on Atlas Shrugged?

HELLER: It's true. When I first started writing this book, nobody was talking about Atlas Shrugged. But in times of big government and government expansion, Rand rises to the surface, and she's doing that again now.

CARLSON: What would her view have been about the way in which Wall Street has transformed?

HELLER: When she was writing, banks and stock exchanges were -- their purpose was to feed money into the most -- the smartest, most innovative enterprises in America in the '40s and '50s. Now, she certainly wouldn't have approved of gambling with money. She saw it as a productive tool.

CARLSON: Would she have been in favor of what's being proposed now on Capitol Hill as far as financial overhaul?

HELLER: Absolutely not. She was against government regulation from beginning to end. She was for a purely laissez-faire government.

CARLSON: In fact, you say if the government tells you you've made enough money, chances are it's because they want excess for themselves.

HELLER: Yes, that's right.

CARLSON: What do you mean by that?

HELLER: Well, I mean, she said whenever somebody asks you to sacrifice for the state or for some other cause, you can be sure that that person wants to be the state or the other cause himself. In other words, nobody tells you to give something up unless he's going to benefit from it. So I think she would think that the government probably wants that excess money.

Fox chyron asks if Obama's comments are an "attack on capitalism." Later in the show, the following on-screen text aired:

fox screen grab

The full context of Obama's comments made clear Obama supported the "free market" and was criticizing "institutions that operated irresponsibly"

Obama: [P]art of the American way is you can just keep on making" money "if you're providing a good product" or service. In the portion of Obama's speech Fox & Friends did not air, immediately after he said: "I want to be clear, we're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money," Obama added: "But part of the American way is you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or you're providing a good service. We don't want people to stop fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow the economy."

Obama: "I believe in the power of the free market," and financial "institutions that operated irresponsibly ... threaten the whole economy." Obama went on to say: "I believe in the power of the free market. And I believe in a strong financial system. ... So there's nothing wrong with a financial system that helps the economy expand. And there are a lot of good people in the financial industry who are doing things the right way. ... But some of these institutions that operated irresponsibly, they're not just threatening themselves -- they threaten the whole economy. And they threaten your dreams, your prospects, everything that you worked so hard to build." From a White House transcript of Obama's remarks:

OBAMA: And in case you're wondering, let me just take a minute to explain why it's important to you. The crisis we went through, it wasn't part of the normal economic cycle. What happened was you had some people -- not all people -- there's some very decent people here who are in the financial sector -- but you had some people on Wall Street who took these unbelievable risks with other people's money.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Damn. (Laughter.)

OBAMA: They made bets. They were making bets on what was going to happen in the housing market, and they would create these derivatives and all these instruments that nobody understood. But it was basically operating like a big casino. And it was producing big profits and big bonuses for them, but it was all built on shaky economics and some of these subprime loans that had been given out. And because we did not have common-sense rules in place, those irresponsible practices came awfully close to bringing down our entire economy and millions of dreams along with it.

We had a system where some on Wall Street could take these risks without fear of failure, because they keep the profits when it was working, and as soon as it went south, they expected you to cover their losses. So it was one of those heads, they tail -- tails, you lose.

So they failed to consider that behind every dollar that they traded, all that leverage they were generating, acting like it was Monopoly money, there were real families out who were trying to finance a home, or pay for their child's college, or open a business, or save for retirement. So what's working fine for them wasn't working for ordinary Americans. And we've learned that clearly. It doesn't work out fine for the country. It's got to change. (Applause.)

Now, what we're doing -- I want to be clear, we're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money. (Laughter.) But part of the American way is you can just keep on making it if you're providing a good product or you're providing a good service. We don't want people to stop fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow the economy.

I've said this before. I've said this on Wall Street just last week. I believe in the power of the free market. And I believe in a strong financial system. And when it's working right, financial institutions, they help make possible families buying homes, and businesses growing, and new ideas taking flight. An entrepreneur may have a great idea, but he may need to borrow some money to make it happen. It would be hard for a lot of us to buy a house -- our first house, at least, if we weren't able to take out a mortgage.

So there's nothing wrong with a financial system that helps the economy expand. And there are a lot of good people in the financial industry who are doing things the right way. And it's in our interest when those firms are strong and when they're healthy.

But some of these institutions that operated irresponsibly, they're not just threatening themselves -- they threaten the whole economy. And they threaten your dreams, your prospects, everything that you worked so hard to build.

So we just want them to operate in a way that's fair and honest and in the open, so that we don't have to go through what we've already gone through. (Applause.) We want to make sure the financial system doesn't just work for Wall Street, but it works for Main Street, too. It works for Quincy. It works for Mount Pleasant. It works for Macon and Fort Madison. (Applause.)

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Barack Obama
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