On its Fox Nation website, Fox accused the Obama administration of "pressur[ing]" the Ford Motor Co. to pull a television ad promoting the fact that the company didn't take advantage of the auto bailout. However, Ford and the White House have both denied the allegation, with Ford saying it pulled the ad because the ad's campaign had ended.
Fox Nation Claimed White House "Pressure" Responsible For Pulling Of Ford Ad
Fox Nation: "WH Pressures Ford To Pull Bailout Ad." Fox Nation linked to a Detroit News column that alleged that the ad was "pulled in response to White House questions," but also reported that "[t]here was not any pressure to take down the ad." Nevertheless, Fox Nation linked to the column using the headline, "WH Pressures Ford to Pull Bailout":
[Fox Nation, 9/27/11]
Detroit News Column Denied Any "Pressure" From White House
Detroit News Column: "There Was Not Any Pressure To Take Down The Ad." In his Detroit News column about the Ford ad, Daniel Howes wrote that "Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early '09 and again when the ad flap arose." He later repeated his unsourced claim, writing that the ad was "pulled in response to White House questions." However, Howes also included this quote:
"This thing is highly charged," says an industry source familiar with the situation. Ford "never meant it to be an attack on the policy. There was not any pressure to take down the ad." [The Detroit News, 9/27/11]
Ford, White House Disputed Allegations Of "Pressure" As Well
Ford: "We Did Not Pull The Ad Due To Pressure." In a post on its Twitter feed, Ford called the claim that the ad "had to be pulled" "completely misinformed," adding, "we did not pull the ad due to pressure. the ad ran 4 weeks which is what the campaign called for":
Ford: "This Is Ford's Decision, And Part Of Our Usual Practice." In his Washington Post piece about the "pressure" allegations, Greg Sargent quoted Ford spokeswoman Meghan Keck saying, "The ad was replaced with another ad, which is our usual practice when an ad runs its course. There was no pressure from the White House or the administration. This is Ford's decision, and part of our usual practice. This is one ad in a series that features real Ford customers talking in their own words." [The Washington Post, 9/27/11]
White House: "The Detroit News Story Is Not True." In his story, Sargent also quoted from a statement by White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer: "The Detroit News story is not true." [The Washington Post, 9/27/11]
Indeed, Ford Ad Has Been Publicly Available Since At Least May
Townhall's Guy Benson: "YouTube Video Was Uploaded In May." In a September 16 blog post titled, "Awesome: New Ford Ad Slams Auto Bailouts," Townhall blogger Guy Benson wrote, "I say 'new' because US News and World Report picked up on it today, but I see the youtube video was uploaded in May -- so there's a chance this spot has been airing for months." [Townhall, 9/16/11]
One YouTube Video Of Ad Shows Upload Date As September 6. A video of the Ford ad uploaded to YouTube by user "yossariantv" shows the upload date as September 6, exactly four weeks ago. "Yossariantv" wrote on the upload day, "Saw this ad from Ford running during PTI today." [YouTube, 9/6/11]
Ford Has Repeatedly Promoted The Fact That It Didn't Rely On Auto Bailout
Ford CEO Mulally: "I Think We're Very Much Respected For ... Not Asking For Taxpayer Money." In a January 2010 article, The Hill reported:
Ford is reaping the benefits that go with being the only U.S. automaker not to take a bailout.
A little more than a year after the Big Three CEOs came to Washington for help, Ford has increased its share of the U.S. market, seen its stock increase six-fold over the last year and is hiring workers in a recession.
While General Motors was stigmatized as "government motors," Ford's data shows its brand reputation at a high level.
The company thinks this will also benefit it in Washington.
"I think we're very much respected for ... running a healthy business and not asking for taxpayer money," Ford CEO Alan Mulally told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. [The Hill, 1/27/10]
Mulally: "Advantages Of ... Not Taking Taxpayer Money" "Outweigh" Disadvantages. In a November 2009 Detroit News article, Ford CEO Alan Mulally was reported as saying, "Clearly, we are paying a little more interest because of our higher debt. ... But the advantages of being an independent business and not taking taxpayer money so much outweigh the little bit of disadvantage from higher payments." [The Detroit News, 11/3/09, via Nexis]
Ford Executive: "We've Also Gotten The Benefit Of Customers Saying ... 'We Feel Good About Ford Because You Are Doing This On Your Own.' " A November 2009 Detroit News article reported:
A year ago, Ford's share of the U.S. light vehicle market was 12.4 percent. Now, it stands at 14.6 percent. More importantly, Ford made those gains without resorting to big incentives. As GM and Chrysler slashed sticker prices and increased rebates, Ford cut back on incentives and raised the price of some of its most popular vehicles. As a result, the company increased its net pricing -- what consumers pay for vehicles, minus any incentives -- by $3.8 billion at the end of September.
"The momentum that we've gained is primarily around the products that we've introduced into the marketplace because, at the end of the day, customers are coming in to buy a product. They're not coming in because a company either did or did not take (taxpayer) money," said Ford Americas President Mark Fields. "At the same time, we've also gotten the benefit of customers saying, 'You know what, we feel good about Ford because you are doing this on your own.'" [The Detroit News, 11/25/09, via Nexis]
Fox Hosts, Guests Regularly Accuse Obama Administration Of Bullying And Intimidation
Fox Business Host Stuart Varney Suggested S&P President's Departure Was Result Of Obama Administration "Bullying." Fox Business host Varney claimed that S&P president Deven Sharma had been pushed out by the Obama administration:
DOOCY: Is it payback? Stuart Varney joins us right now. Stuart, I've heard two stories. One is that they had initiated the investigation before the downgrade and that one suggests after.
VARNEY: Yes, look, is this a case of bullying? Is this a case of pushing the guy out the door? Is this a case of revenge because you don't like what he did to America's triple A credit rating?
VARNEY: Look, if you want to get private enterprise moving -- if you want to get private, the private sector to hire people and expand the economy, how do you do that if you're the administration? Do you bully them? Do you go after them? Do you seek revenge? Do you call them names? Do you tax them? Do you regulate them? Do you go after them like this? No, you don't. This is not a very good way for the administration to set about rejuvenating the economy. I think it is a case of revenge. I think it is a case of bullying the guys who downgraded you. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/23/11]
Monica Crowley: Obama Administration Intimidates Political Opponents. In response to an online campaign to fight smears from the White House, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley claimed the Obama administration "has done the Chicago way all along," which involves "intimidating political opponents":
CROWLEY: The point is that this White House has done the Chicago way all along. I mean, from the 2008 elections straight through the White House years, and now as they gear up for 2012. And the Chicago way basically involves intimidating -- browbeating and intimidating political opponents until they withdraw weakened and destroyed. [Fox News, America Live, 5/21/11]
Rove Accused Obama Of Engaging in "Intimidation" Tactics Like "A Third World Dictator." In a Wall Street Journal column titled, "It's Only Called the Bully Pulpit," Fox News contributor Karl Rove wrote:
Before his health-care bill passed, Mr. Obama sent a tough letter to health-insurance CEOs and then castigated them 22 times in a follow-up prime-time televised speech. This is behavior worthy of a Third World dictator-not the head of a vibrant democracy.
But it is the president's intimidation that is most troubling. Mr. Obama has the disturbing tendency to question the motives of those who disagree with him, often making them the objects of ad hominem attacks. His motives, on the other hand, are pure.
Mr. Obama often makes it seem illegitimate to challenge his views, and he isn't content to argue issues on the merits. Instead, he wants to make opponents into pariahs. And it's not just business executives who are on the receiving end. We've also seen this pattern with the administration's attacks on the tea party movement and those who attended town-hall meetings last summer on health care.
This is a bad habit-and a dangerous one. The presidency is a very powerful office, and presidents need to be careful not to use it to silence dissenting voices. [The Wall Street Journal, 4/29/10]
Michelle Malkin: "Thug In Chief" Had "Its Government Boots On The Necks Of American Small Business Owners." Fox contributor Michelle Malkin called Obama the "thug in chief" and accused the administration of having "government boots on the necks of American small business owners":
MALKIN: [Obama] told the Republicans, wagging his finger, stop holding workers hostage to politics. Look in the mirror, thug in chief, because that's exactly what you're doing with schemes like this. I mean, it's the Obama administration that has its government boots on the necks of American small business owners. [Fox News, Hannity, 7/21/10]
Napolitano Accused Obama Administration Of "A Classic Shakedown." Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano claimed that the BP escrow account fund designed to aid Gulf residents affected by the oil spill resulted from a White House "shakedown," stating:
NAPOLITANO: The government doesn't have the right -- we don't know what happened in the Oval Office, but you guys reported, and the vice president did not deny, that he walked in and basically said give us the $20 billion or we will take it from you. That is a classic shakedown. The threat to do something that you don't have the right to do. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/18/10]