Fox's Week-Long Attempt To Distract From Romney's Attack On The 47 Percent

››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

After GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney disparaged 47 percent of Americans, Fox News spent several days attacking Obama with a series of misleading and false attacks.

Monday

MOTHER JONES RELEASED VIDEO OF ROMNEY DISPARAGING 47 PERCENT OF AMERICANS

Mother Jones Reported On Video Of Romney Saying 47 Percent Of Americans Are "Dependent On Government" And See Themselves As Victims. In a September 17 post, Mother Jones reported that Romney disparaged those who don't pay federal income taxes and receive government benefits in front of an audience of wealthy donors. Mother Jones quoted Romney as saying:

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what...These are people who pay no income tax.

[...]

[M]y job is, is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. [Mother Jones, 9/17/12]

FOX'S INITIAL REACTION: IGNORE THE VIDEO

Fox Ignored Romney 47 Percent Video. It took Fox six hours after Mother Jones' 4 pm ET release of selections of Romney at a Boca Raton fundraiser to address the statement. Fox addressed the issue by showing a Romney press conference defending his remarks. [Media Matters, 9/18/12]

Tuesday

FOX HYPED NON-CONTROVERSIAL OBAMA REMARKS ON ENSURING PEOPLE GET A FAIR SHOT

Fox Hosts and Guests Hyped Non-Controversial Obama Remarks To Portray Him As A Socialist. On September 18, Fox host Sean Hannity and frequent Fox guest Donald Trump both hyped a remark Obama made in 1998, in which Obama says "I actually believe in redistribution." [Media Matters, 9/19/12]

In The Actual Video, Obama Discussed The Government's Role In Creating A Society In Which Everyone Has A Fair Chance At Success. In the video, Obama said that he believes in redistribution "at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot." Moreover, in an extended version of the video, Obama spoke positively about competition and the marketplace. [Media Matters, 9/20/12]

For more on how Obama's 1998 remarks were non-controversial, click here and here.

FOX HOST ATTACKED OBAMA BY ADVANCING OBAMA-MUSLIM MYTH

Fox's Bolling: Obama "Answers To The Quran First And The Constitution Second." On September 18, Fox host Eric Bolling claimed that Obama "answers to the Quran first and to the Constitution second." He later purported to clarify his remarks, saying he meant Obama should be more concerned with free speech than with appeasing Muslims. Bolling made the comment while discussing the fact that federal authorities had questioned Nakoula Besseley Nakoula, the man purported to be behind the anti-Muslim film that reportedly sparked the recent demonstrations in the Middle East. [Media Matters, 9/18/12]

For more on Fox's role in crafting the Obama-Muslim myth, click here and here.

Wednesday

FOX FALSELY SUGGESTED WHITE HOUSE WAS "CHANGING THE STORY" ON LIBYA CONSULATE ATTACK INVESTIGATION

Fox's Carlson Falsely Suggested Administration Officials Had Issued Contradictory Comments On The Attack On A U.S. Consulate In Libya. On September 19, Fox host Gretchen Carlson suggested that the White House was not "sticking to [its] story" about the Libya attacks because U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice believed the Libya attacks were "not planned" and "spontaneous," while White House Press Secretary Jay Carney noted that the FBI is investigating if the attacks were planned terrorism. [Media Matters, 9/19/12]

But Carney And Rice Both Said That The Administration Is Investigating Whether The Libya Attack Was Related To Terrorism. In the comments to which Carlson referred, Rice actually said that early signs did not point to a "premeditated attack," but the FBI is "obviously investigating this very closely." Similarly, Carney said that there was no evidence that the attack was premeditated, but "the FBI is investigating and that investigation will follow the facts where ever they lead." [Media Matters, 9/19/12]

For more on how statements made regarding the US consulate attack were consistent, click here.

FOX BASELESSLY CLAIMED OBAMA WILL RELEASE CONVICTED TERRORIST

Fox Legal Analyst Pushed Rumor That The State Department Was "Giving Consideration To Allowing The Blind Sheikh To Return Home To Egypt." On Fox and Friends, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. pushed the idea that the State Department was considering a release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is commonly known as the Blind Sheikh:

CARLSON: The conservative website Breitbart.com reports that the U.S. State Department could be currently in negotiations with the Egyptians to transfer one of their citizens, a terrorist, back home. That man, you've seen before, known as the Blind Sheikh serving a life sentence for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

[...]

JOHNSON: So have we sowed the seeds of our own prosecutions? It's outrageous on the face of it that people in America would be prosecuted in Egypt for making a movie, no matter how offensive the movie, and then be subject to the death penalty in Egypt. So, when you put these two stories together, even giving consideration to allowing the Blind Sheikh to return home to Egypt after being part of that terror, which was the run-up to 9-11 and then at the same time have Americans subject to the death penalty in Egypt for making a movie in the United states, it shows how topsy-turvy the world has become and how, unfortunately, ineffective our foreign policy is at this point. [Fox News, Fox and Friends, 9/19/12, via Media Matters]

But The Administration Has Called This Rumor "Utter Garbage." In a statement to The Blaze, Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd strongly denied suggestions that Abdel-Rahman might be released or transferred:

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, has responded to TheBlaze:

"The assertion that the Blind Sheikh may be transferred to Egypt is utter garbage. The Blind Sheikh is not being transferred to Egypt nor is he being released.  He is serving life sentence in federal prison.  Suggestions that there are discussions to transfer or release him are absolute garbage and completely false." [The Blaze, 9/17/12]

For more on right-wing media conspiracy theories that the Obama administration is going to release the Blind Sheikh, click here and here.

Thursday

FOX EXPRESSED MISPLACED OUTRAGE OVER OBAMA CAMPAIGN POSTER

Fox's Kilmeade Attacked The Obama Campaign For Using Flag Imagery In A Campaign Poster. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, echoing right-wing blogs, claimed Obama "is redesigning the American flag with an 'O', I guess to get re-elected." From Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: So long stars and stripes. The president is redesigning the American flag with an "O," I guess to get re-elected.

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Oh boy. [Media Matters, 9/20/12]

But An Abraham Lincoln Campaign Banner Used Similar Flag Imagery. An 1860 presidential campaign banner includes a portrait of Lincoln's face in the field of blue usually featuring stars, as well as writing in the white stripes. [Library of Congress, accessed 9/20/12]

FOX FALSELY CLAIMED OBAMA MET WITH PIRATE INSTEAD OF MEETING WITH NETANYAHU

Fox's Kilmeade: Obama Met With A Pirate Yesterday, But "The White House Doesn't Have The Time To Meet With The Israeli Prime Minister." On September 20, Kilmeade claimed that "the White House doesn't have the time to meet with the Israel Prime Minister, but this pirate got a sit-down in the Oval Office yesterday." [Media Matters, 9/20/12]

But Fox Mistook A 2009 Picture Of Obama Meeting With Someone Dressed As A Pirate For Something That Had Happened The Day Before. In reality, the picture Fox showed was taken in April 2009. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said that Obama has met with him more than "any other leader in the world." [Media Matters, 9/20/12]

For more on how Fox claimed a 2009 picture of Obama with a pirate was not a snub to Netanyahu, click here.

Friday

FOX DREAMED UP MORE WHITE HOUSE INCONSISTENCY ON THE LIBYA ATTACK

Fox News' Correspondent Claimed Three White House Statements Were Inconsistent. On September 21, Fox News correspondent Rick Leventhal juxtaposed three statements by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to falsely suggest they were each inconsistent with each other. [Media Matters, 9/21/11]

But Carney's Comments Were Completely Consistent. In each of the comments Leventhal cited, Carney made the same three points: (1) the attack in Libya was under investigation, (2) that protests in the region had been sparked by an anti-Muslim video, and (3) that the administration had no evidence to "indicate that any of this unrest was pre-planned." [Media Matters, 9/21/11]

For more on how Carney's statements were consistent, click here.

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