Fox's Obama "socialism" smear comes straight from the top

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In an interview, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes referred to President Obama's policies as "socialism." Ailes' opinion is shared by his Fox News employees, who regularly characterize President Obama and his administration as "socialist."

Ailes smears Obama's "socialism"

Ailes: Obama was "told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left." From Howard Kurtz' November 17 Daily Beast article:

"The president has not been very successful," the Fox News chairman says in a lengthy interview. "He just got kicked from Mumbai to South Korea, and he came home and attacked Republicans for it. He had to be told by the French and the Germans that his socialism was too far left for them to deal with."

The 70-year-old Ailes, dressed in a lavender shirt and tie, goes on in this vein, saying the network isn't singling out Obama for criticism but that its style "tends to be more direct" in challenging presidents. Then he offers this observation about Obama:

"He just has a different belief system than most Americans."

That seems a rather loaded phrase--different belief system--even if you strongly disagree with most of Obama's policies. It fits the view of those who are trying to paint the president as being outside the mainstream. But from the big second-floor office at Fox's Midtown Manhattan headquarters, it's the rest of the media that are using a distorted lens.

Gibbs responds: Ailes comments not "surprising" given Fox's programming

Gibbs: "if you watch most of the programming on that channel, I don't think you would find" Ailes' comments "surprising." Politico reported later on November 17:

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes's criticisms of President Obama aren't "surprising" and are similar to the views expressed on the channel, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday.

"I think if you watch most of the programming on that channel, I don't think you would find many of those comments surprising," Gibbs told reporters at the White House.

Fox News regularly attacks Obama and his administration as "socialist"

All of the following examples (accessed via Nexis) are from the last three months alone.

O'Reilly: Democrats push "quasi-socialistic agenda." On the November 5 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly said: "[I]f the far left elements continue to control the Democratic Party, the president doomed. Most Americans reject the quasi-socialistic agenda they put out, but people like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank will never admit that and so tension remains inside the Democratic Party."

Hannity: Obama has done "so much damage with his failed socialist policies" On the October 26 edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity said: "I remember when I interviewed Rush [Limbaugh] at the beginning of the Obama presidency and he said I want him to fail. It made all that news. You know what, I don't want his policies to succeed. I want him out of -- I want him to be a one term president because he's doing so much damage with his failed socialist policies."

Hannity hosted Kurtz to discuss his Obama socialism smear book. On the October 18 edition of his Fox News program, Hannity hosted Stanley Kurtz to discuss Kurtz's book, Radical in Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism. Hannity opened the interview by saying, "Now it is interesting because when conservatives such as myself and others pointed out that we felt Barack Obama had radical ties and socialist, radical views, we were laughed at, made fun of." Hannity then asked Kurtz, "Were we right?" Kurtz replied, "When I started researching Barack Obama's history after two years probing the archives, I realized that you and all the people who said he was socialist were absolutely right," adding, "Really the book that I've written vindicates what you have been saying for the last three years."

Beck: Obama "has aligned himself with these radical socialists." On the September 29 edition of his Fox News show, Beck said, "The president has aligned himself with these radical socialists. Fact. They're radical Marxist. They're militant communists. Fact." He later added, "[T]he fact is, you cannot be with radical socialist, communists and be also, you know, mom and Chevrolet and apple pie and baseball, you -- you can't. It's one or the other. That's the fact."

Beck: Obama was "left of the socialists" in the Senate. On his September 28 Fox News show, Beck said there was "strong evidence" during the 2008 election that Obama was "a socialist," adding that Obama was the "most liberal senator in 2007... past the socialist, left of the socialists. That's pretty good hint that this guy is a radical." Beck later addressed Obama: "So, what is it? Are you a socialist or not? Will you denounce socialism as a failure that it is -- or not?"

Beck directs audience to his website to "see the top 20 examples of Obama socialist ties." On the September 20 edition of his Fox News show, Beck said, "I need you to see the top 20 examples of Obama socialist ties. Go to and see it there."

Morris: Obama is "proposing socialist-style programs in the United States." On the September 17 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, political analyst Dick Morris explained high favorability ratings for Obama in Europe by saying, "They want to preserve those benefits. And as long as the United States is a free-wheeling capitalist, free-market economy, they can't, because the capital will leave Europe and go to America. So when Obama proposing socialist-style programs in the United States, they're happy because it means they can get away with them in their own country."

Varney calls Obama's economic polices "socialism" and "un-American." On the September 3 edition of Hannity, Stuart Varney claimed that "[w]e've had an 18-month experiment with American socialism" and that "we do not like it, we want to reverse it." He also claimed that the economic policies enacted in the past 18 months were "un-American."

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