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Fox News’ Washington News Chief Admits to “mischevious speculation”

Bill Sammon, who’s responsible for the network’s Washington coverage, linked Obama to socialism many times during the 2008 campaign, but didn’t believe the allegation, he acknowledged.

Bill Sammon, managing editor of Fox News Washington, at the Democratic National Convention in 2000, when he was a reporter for The Washington Times. (The Washington Times / Landov)

In the final stretch of the 2008 campaign, a Fox News executive repeatedly questioned on the air whether Barack Obama believed in socialism.

Now it turns out he didn’t really believe what he was saying.

Bill Sammon, now the network’s vice president and Washington managing editor, acknowledged the following year that he was just engaging in “mischievous speculation” in raising the charge. In fact, Sammon said he “privately” believed that the socialism allegation was “rather far-fetched.”

These remarks, unearthed by the liberal advocacy group Media Matters, raise the question of whether Sammon, who oversees Washington news coverage for Fox News, was deliberately trying to sabotage the Democratic presidential candidate. He has come under fire before for memos he sent to the network’s staff that have seemed less than fair and balanced.

Sammon’s admission came on a 2009 Mediterranean cruise—cabin rates ranged as high as $37,600 per couple—sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College. Here is what he said, according to an audio recording:

http://cloudfront.mediamatters.org/static/flash/pl55.swf

“Last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to ‘spread the wealth around.’ At that time, I have to admit that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”

That he did—on several occasions.

On Oct. 14, 2008, Sammon said on the air that Obama’s “spread the wealth” remark “is red meat when you’re talking to conservatives and you start talking about spread the wealth around. That is tantamount to socialism.”

On Oct. 21, he told Greta Van Susteren: “I have read Barack Obama’s books pretty carefully, and he in his own words talks about being drawn to Marxists… Now all this stuff’s coming out about whether he’s a socialist. I don’t know why anyone is surprised by it, because if you read his own words and his sort of, you know, orientation coming up as a liberal through college and a young man, it’s not a huge shock.”

Sammon, a former Washington Times reporter, also made sure his troops got out the word. On Oct. 27, he sent an email to staffers highlighting what he described as “Obama’s references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists” in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.

In an interview, Sammon says his reference to “mischevious speculation” was “my probably inartful way of saying, ‘Can you believe how far this thing has come?’” The socialism question indeed “struck me as a far-fetched idea” in 2008. “I considered it kind of a remarkable notion that we would even be having the conversation.” He doesn’t regret repeatedly raising it on the air because, Sammon says, “it was a main point of discussion on all the channels, in all the media”—and by 2009 he was “astonished by how the needle had moved.”

Sammon notes that in the same talk on the cruise, he pointed out that George W. Bush had his own stimulus package and had spent half the TARP bailout money: “I was talking about both sides being big spenders.” (True; he also told the cruise guests that “when it comes to spending money, Obama makes Bush look like a piker.”)

In that speech, Sammon said he eventually concluded that what he had thought was baseless speculation among Obama’s socialistic views turned out to be accurate:

“Now imagine my surprise when this year, I witness President Barack Obama standing in the cross hall of the White House and having taken over the American car industry, look into the camera, and announce to the nation essentially, that he would personally vouch for the warranty on your car’s muffler. All of a sudden, the debate over whether America was heading for socialism seemed anything but far-fetched…The debate over whether America is headed for socialism seems all too real, especially to those who still believe in capitalism.”

During last year’s health-care debate,Sammon urged Fox News staff in a memo to “please use the term ‘government-run health insurance,’ or, when brevity is a concern, ‘government option,’ whenever possible.” He acknowledged that the phrase “public option” was “firmly ensconced in the nation’s lexicon,” so when it was necessary to use it, he wrote, add the qualifier “so-called,” as in “the so-called public option.” And “here’s another way to phrase it: ‘The public option, which is the government-run plan.’” Many Fox News journalists followed suit, using terminology that Republican pollster Frank Luntz had pushed on the network.

In an interview at the time, Sammon defended the memo and said his 25-year record as a newspaper reporter demonstrates that he hasn’t favored either side. “Have I said things where I take a conservative view? Give me specifics,” he said.

Howard Kurtz is The Daily Beast’s Washington bureau chief. He also hosts CNN’s weekly media program Reliable Sources on Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. The longtime media reporter and columnist for The Washington Post, Kurtz is the author of five books.

Great post from http://wonkette.com

Fox News Needs To Mind Its Own Business

Hmm… how many hours are in the day, again? Whatever that number is plus two more hours, daily. We know that puberty is hard for you, Fox News, so feel free to pass on any more questions. YOU’RE NORMAL. IT’S A NATURAL PROCESS. [Buzzfeed via Fox News-loving operative “Ryan M.”]

Read more at Wonkette: http://wonkette.com/414008/fox-news-needs-to-mind-its-own-business#ixzz0hBG2eTOq

IS THIS SUPRIZING TO ANYONE AT THIS POINT?

Fox “news” is editing video to make something look different than it really is and calling it a “production error?”  Just admit you are not “Fair and Balanced” and no one will care what you do anymore.  Please.

Fox News again accused of airing misleading video

For the second time in just over a week, Fox News is coming under fire for misusing old news footage. The latest flap is leading some people to charge that the cable news network is intentionally misleading its audience, while Fox claims a “production error.”

Wednesday’s incident occurred when Fox News host Gregg Jarrett mentioned that a Sarah Palin appearance and book signing in Grand Rapids, Michigan had a massive turnout. As footage rolled of a smiling and waving Palin amidst a throng of fans, Jarrett noted that the former Republican vice-presidential candidate is “continuing to draw huge crowds while she’s promoting her brand-new book,” adding that the images being shown were “some of the pictures just coming in to us…. The lines earlier had formed this morning.”

However, the video used in the segment was from a 2008 McCain/Palin campaign rally. In response to the minor uproar that arose after clips of Jarrett’s report hit the Internet, Fox senior vice-president of news Michael Clemente issued an initial statement saying, “This was a production error in which the copy editor changed a script and didn’t alert the control room to update the video.”

On Thursday afternoon, Fox News issued an on-air apology delivered by host Jane Skinner:

Yesterday we told you about Sarah Palin kicking off her book tour and then we spoke to Sean Hannity about an interview that he did with former Governor Palin. When introducing the segment we showed you footage of people lining up in Michigan for a book signing that evening. In the tease before the segment, the tease to commercial, we told you how those people were already lining up to meet Palin. The problem is we didn’t show you the video we were actually referencing. Instead we mistakenly aired what’s called “file tape” of Sarah Palin. We didn’t mean to mislead anybody in that tease. It was a mistake, and for that we apologize.

The current mishap comes on the heels of a controversy sparked last week when footage from a conservative rally held over the summer was played on “Hannity” during a segment on a more recent rally. During the clip, host Sean Hannity marveled over the large turnout for a Washington, DC protest. The Daily Show later pointed out that there seemed to be some inconsistencies with the video shown on Hannity’s show, namely that the atmospheric conditions seemed to vary from shot to shot. Hannity later apologized on the air for what he called “an inadvertent mistake.”

Barely a week into Palin’s blitz to promote “Going Rogue,” media coverage is becoming its own story. Fox News rival MSNBC caught heat last week for using altered images of Sarah Palin on the air, for which they later apologized. On Wednesday, Yahoo! News reported Newsweek’s defense of their latest controversial cover, which Palin herself blasted as “sexist.”

— Brett Michael Dykes is a contributor to the Yahoo! News Blog


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