Fox's Johnson Proves Obama's Point: Fox Peddles "Inadequate Information"

››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

Fox's Peter Johnson Jr. distorted recent comments by President Obama, falsely claiming that "[i]n effect, the president is saying that the American people are a stupid, dissatisfied electorate who are poisoned and brainwashed by Fox News." But Obama said that supporters should "push back" on Fox's "inadequate information" -- a statement that is justified by Fox's regular distortions.

Fox's Johnson: Obama Said People Were Being "Brainwashed" By Fox

Johnson: "In Effect, The President Is Saying That The American People Are" Being "Brainwashed By Fox News." On the September 26 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Johnson claimed, "In effect, the president is saying that the American people are a stupid, dissatisfied electorate who are poisoned and brainwashed by Fox News." From Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): The president attacks the GOP and lashes out at Republicans -- so is the president spending more time on job creation or his re-election? Let's ask that to Fox News's own legal analyst, Peter Johnson Jr., with his take.

JOHNSON: Good morning. In effect, the president is saying that the American people are a stupid, dissatisfied electorate who are poisoned and brainwashed by Fox News and The Wall Street Journal. Are you? So that's what he's basically saying. And so, he's saying to these certain red meat audiences that I'm really disgusted by the reaction to the Republican electorate to the debate, I'm disgusted by their policies. [White House adviser] David Plouffe is talking about the tea party taking the Republican Party hostage. And so we're hearing a lot in terms of attack mode and negative comments about the American people themselves. But very little about how he's going to form consensus on job creation. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/26/11]

In Fact, Obama Told Supporters To "Push Back" On Fox's "Inadequate Information"

Obama: Supporters Should "Push Back" On "Inadequate Information" Advanced By Fox. In comments during a September 25 fundraiser -- to which Johnson presumably referred -- Obama told supporters to "push back" on the "inadequate information" being promoted by right-wing media outlets such as Fox News. From the White House:

OBAMA: And this is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country -- 2008 was an important election; 2012 is a more important election. (Applause.) Now, in order for us to be successful in this 2012 election, I'm going to need all of you.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You got it!

OBAMA: I'm going to need you to be out there talking to your friends, talking to your neighbors, talking to your co-workers. And I'm going to need you to be advocates for what we believe in. It's not enough just to support me. I need you to go out there, and if other folks have been reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page or watching FOX News, and they're full of inadequate information -- (laughter) -- I need you to push back. I need you to push back. [White House, 9/25/11]

Obama Is Right: Fox News Regularly Pushes "Inadequate" Or False Information

Fox Has Repeatedly Pushed False And Misleading Information On Obama's Economic Policies And Record. Fox regularly promotes the claim that the stimulus failed and that the Obama administration is primarily to blame for the nation's debt and economic problems. [Media Matters, 6/17/11]

For the truth about Obama's economic record, click here.

Fox Regularly Misleads On Health Care Reform, Including Pushing "Death Panel" Myth. During and after the health care reform debate, Fox News regularly promoted false and misleading attacks on Democrats' health care reform law, including promoting the myth that the bill will introduce "death panels." [Media Matters, 3/23/11]

For the truth about the health care reform law, click here.

Fox Repeatedly Hosted "Birthers" And Otherwise Cast Doubt On Obama's Birth Certificate. Fox News regularly hosted so-called "birthers" to cast doubt on Obama's nationality. Fox figures also promoted the claim that Obama had not produced a valid birth certificate. [Media Matters, 4/20/11]

For the truth about Obama's birth certificate and nationality, click here.

Fox Has Pushed The False Claim That Social Security Is A "Ponzi Scheme." Fox has continually promoted the false comparison between Social Security and Ponzi schemes. [Media Matters, 9/14/11]

For the truth about Social Security, click here.

Fox Promotes False, Misleading, And Slanted Coverage Of Immigration and Immigration Reform. Fox News has regularly promoted misleading information on immigration and immigration reform and has distorted Obama's record on border security. [Media Matters, 6/22/11]

For the truth about Obama's record on immigration and border security, click here.

Fox Regularly Attempts To Cast Doubt On Scientific Consensus Behind Climate Change. Fox News has regularly attempted to cast doubt on the scientific consensus behind climate change. [Media Matters, 6/21/11]

For the truth about climate change, click here.

Polls Have Shown That Fox Viewers Are Consistently Misinformed

Stanford University Poll: "Frequent Viewers Of Fox News Are Less Likely To Accept Scientists' Views Of Global Warming." A December 2010 report conducted by Stanford University and supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation "explores whether the flow of doubt-arousing messaging might have persuaded Americans who watch Fox News to reject the views espoused by many mainstream natural scientists on the issue." The outcome of the study was that "exposure to skeptical views about global warming can be effective at changing the opinions of viewers." The report was titled, "Frequent Viewers of Fox News Are Less Likely to Accept Scientists' Views of Global Warming." [Stanford University Research Study, December 2010]

Fox Viewers Are More Likely To Be Misinformed On Health Care Reform. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in February regarding the public's understanding of the health care reform law found: "There were also differences by where people get their information with higher shares of those who report CNN (35 percent) or MSNBC (39 percent) as their primary news source getting 7 or more right [questions on a quiz about the health care law created by Kaiser], compared to those that report mainly watching FOX News (25 percent). Again, these differences may be related to whether or not people more generally favor or oppose the law." [Kaiser Family Foundation, "Assessing Americans' Familiarity With The Health Care Law," February 2011]

For more research showing how Fox has misinformed its viewers, click here.

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