A few days ago, I posted a link to a Daily Show segment in which FOX News was clearly shown to have deceptively edited footage of Barack Obama in order to give the false impression that he intended to raise taxes on all Americans. As the segment was about ten minutes in length, I didn’t include the video at the time. But, thankfully, the meme lives on, and, thanks to Howard Kurtz and the folks behind CNN’s Sunday program “Media Monitor”, I now have a much more succinct video to share… Here it is… Prepare to be amazed…
And, here, for those of you who can’t watch online videos without having seizures, is the pertinent part of the transcript.
HANNITY: “Now, the President did have a rare moemnt of honesty during his speech, and I hope that voters around the country are watching this.”
OBAMA (on tape, addressing a group in Ohio): “Taxes are scheduled to go up next year substantially, for everybody.”
HANNITY: “That’s right, and I know ‘the anointed one’ will make sure that it happens.”
Of course, that’s not what Obama really said. Here’s his full quote…
OBAMA: “Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year, for everybody.”
Perhaps it’s too subtle of a distinction for FOX viewers to make, but the two quotes, as presented, couldn’t be any more different. In the first, as presented by Sean Hannity, Obama states unequivocally that the tax rates on all Americans will rise in the coming year. Whereas, in the real quote, Obama is referencing the fact that, in accordance with the legislation drafted by the Bush administration, tax rates are scheduled to rise next year. And, it should be added, that, right after saying that, President Obama makes it clear that his intention it to renew the Bush tax cuts for the American working class, or all but the top 2% of earners. So, for Hannity to have aired a quote giving the impression that Obama’s intention was to raise taxes on all Americans is not only wrong, but purposefully deceptive.
I’ve yet to sit down and watch this clip with any fans of FOX News, but I’d be really interested to hear what they had to say. It seems to me that it’s a pretty clear cut example of a network setting out to manipulate its viewers, but I suppose they’d likely excuse the behavior as, “something everybody in the media does.” Or, worse yet, they’d stand by the Hannity interpretation, swearing that, despite what Obama actually said, his intention is to raise taxes on all Americans. If it wasn’t the most watched news network, it might not be that big of a deal. But, it is. And 40% of Republicans watch FOX News regularly. So, like it or not, these lies are having a very real affect on the American political discourse, and we have to find a way to make them stop… I wonder how much it costs to run ads on FOX, anyway.
And, for what it’s worth, I don’t think that it’ll be an easy task to convince FOX News viewers that they’ve been being lied to. I suspect the process would play out something like this.