Deceptive editing at FOX News

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.

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  1. Knox
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    If Colbert has his rally in DC, I want to attend as Rowdy Roddy Piper, handing out sunglasses.

  2. Robert
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Sometimes, in order to be fair and balanced, you have to do a lot of editing.

  3. Edward
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    As Jon Stewart has said, the most important thing is the narrative. And if the words don’t match the narrative you’re trying to convey, you have to change the words. The Fox News narrative as pertains to Obama in this situation is that he plans to raise taxes across the board on all Americans, and reality doesn’t support that, as 98% of Americans would not pay more. So, there’s only one option — change reality.

  4. Ted
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Can someone with access to video editing equipment please make a video of Boner talking about how he tans his balls? I’m sure it can be done, but I lack the skills to make it happen.

  5. Robert
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    It appears that Fox has even less respect for their viewers than Mark does for his readers.

  6. mSS
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    God, what liars. You know what else they do? They try to equate Glenn Beck with libertarianism. You’d have to be a pretty huge liar, or maybe just ignorant, to see someone who consistently supports military empire, the war on drugs, and the security-police state, and still call them a libertarian.

  7. kjc
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    yeah there’s a kid in my class who’s a self-proclaimed libertarian. he gets angry when anyone links libertarians to the tea party folks, whom he utterly condemns. interesting to see who will and won’t claim these people.

  8. Meta
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    In 1979, the top 1% only took in 9.8% of the nation’s earnings. They now account for 23.5% of national income.

  9. Mr. X
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Me thinks MSS is equating what Fox did here with Mark’s assertion some time ago that Beck is a Libertarian. I’d like to point out, however, that there’s a subtle difference – namely that Beck says he’s a Libertarian, whereas Obama never said that it was his intention to raise taxes on all Americans. I wouldn’t have thought that it would be necessary to spell that out.

  10. mSS
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink


    The thing is that libertarianism actually has a meaning. It’s disputed as to exactly what that is, but large parts of it are agreed upon. It’s meaning has been formed by all the thinkers that have added to it’s intellectual heritage. I’m not going to add Glenn Beck or most of the TP folks to the list of thinkers that have added to the intellectual canon of libertarianism, regardless of what they call themselves.

    Mr. X,

    That’s not quite what I was going for. So, Mark argues for a certain set of ideas, like positive rights and government spending on education, health, etc. There is one group that disagrees with him for political reasons, namely the Republican party and FOX news. They pretend to be for negative rights, small government, and free markets, but that is all bullshit, as they constantly call for massive government spending on the military-police state, as well as scores of interventions into social and economic aspects of civil society.

    On the other hand, there are actual libertarians with fairly consistent worldviews, who write long and well reasoned books and articles that Mark is not willing to read. Instead of addressing, or even taking the time to find out what their points are, Mark says, “here are some opponents of my views. Clearly their arguments are wrong, so I will assign them to libertarianism, and declare myself correct.” My point was not to make any specific comparison between Mark and FOX, but rather just to derail another “FOX is wrong, so we must be right” circle jerk.

  11. kjc
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    “The thing is that libertarianism actually has a meaning. It’s disputed as to exactly what that is, but large parts of it are agreed upon. It’s meaning has been formed by all the thinkers that have added to it’s intellectual heritage. I’m not going to add Glenn Beck or most of the TP folks to the list of thinkers that have added to the intellectual canon of libertarianism, regardless of what they call themselves.”

    Sure it has a meaning. And sure that meaning is open to interpretation. But maybe there are Tea Party folks who’ve read more Nozick than you have. Or more than many self-identified libertarians. Not to mention, like all other groups, there are libertarians who don’t know shit about their professed beliefs or care to make them coherent. That’s a general problem of ignorance in all political stripes.

  12. Kim
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    The important thing is that a vast majority of us agree that libertarians are, by an and large, impotent little men who fancy the notion that, if not for the restraints of government, they would have been super-potent captains of industry. The truth is, they wouldn’t be. They would be slaving away in coal mines along with their malformed children seven days a week. This belief that the free market will solve all of society’s ills is moronic at best. History has not shown it to be the case. Capitalism unchecked is a cancer.

  13. Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Libertarians are far right conservatives who are loathe to admit that they are really Republicans. Considering culture wars as déclassé, they intellectualize their conservatism by being able to quote Ayn Rand.

  14. mSS
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to have to quibble with you. If Glenn Beck identified himself as a doctor, would we call him a “self-identified doctor”? And if we did, wouldn’t we have to admit that a “self-identified doctor” is not, in fact, the same thing as a doctor? I’ll agree that “libertarian” is not as objectively defined as “doctor”. It is certainly more subjective than that. I’m not sure I can give a complete definition of libertarian, but whatever it is, Glenn Beck sure as hell ain’t one.

    But this isn’t really my point. While it does bother me, as a libertarian, when people who clearly aren’t libertarians identify themselves as such, my main problem is that they create a strawman for people like Mark, who don’t really seem to be interested in advancing truth and knowledge, to confirm their own beliefs.

  15. mSS
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Kim, do you just paste that same comment in whenever this comes up?

  16. kjc
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “But this isn’t really my point. While it does bother me, as a libertarian, when people who clearly aren’t libertarians identify themselves as such, my main problem is that they create a strawman for people like Mark, who don’t really seem to be interested in advancing truth and knowledge, to confirm their own beliefs.”

    so go after those people, who are clearly mucking up the popular concepts of libertarianism. what’s it matter what mark thinks?

  17. Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Libertarians like to quibble too. But they call it free speech.

  18. mSS
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink


    I guess I just don’t read their blogs.

  19. kjc
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    MSS, touche. ;)

    If EOS had a blog on socialism, I’d blow my head off.

  20. Oliva
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Every libertarian I’ve met is male and white–just a coincidence maybe. The people I’ve encountered who call themselves libertarians talk about flesh-and-blood humans as if they were stick figures with equal access to the goods. Women and people of color and colorful people and artists and other hugely valuable members of society are invisible to them? Or worthless? How it seems . . .

  21. Peter Larson
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s also lost to them that their hard earned wealth was earned through publicly funded infrastructure.

  22. Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Oliva, I think it was you who said that Libertarians tend to be white men who haven’t accomplished much in life and blame it on affirmative action, minorities and women…and they’ve watched Dirty Harry a lot. I have that quote in my Facebook quotes b/c it was and is f’in awesome!

    I’ve known a handful of Libertarians too and they mostly fit the profile…also, the ones I’ve met never seemed to really think out what they were talking about. For instance, they’d be all, “Government sucks!” but not consider that the Family and Medical Leave Act they just took? Yeah, that was the gubmint brah. They were more just angry at things (including the government) and decided to “be Libertarian” as a way to protest the two major parties. I should add that of the 7 or 8 Libs I’ve known, all but one was extremely angry at his own life and the things he didn’t get (well paying job, luxury car, whatever). A couple were also the kind that who didn’t get blowjobs until they were 27 and couldn’t get a girlfriend to save their life but blamed it all on the fact that the wimmins are bitches.

    Before anyone starts, this is just my experience. I think I mentioned before that I banged a couple Libs in my law school days and they were okay I guess. I know that ALL Libs are not like that…these are just the ones I’ve met. YMMV and all that :)

  23. mSS
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink


    It’s likely you’ve met a number of libertarians who did not identify themselves as such to you. All but a handful of my closest friends are not aware of my political persuasion. Of those that don’t know, many know my background as an artist, my views on factory farming, my dislike for many large corporations, etc, and probably just assume I share their liberal views. I’ve played a lot of jazz, and probably read more Langston Hughes than any other poet. My parents took part in boycotts in the 60s, and I’m proud of that. In my experience, the libertarians who hold the most consistent views are so disgusted with the political process that they don’t attend rallies or protests, and don’t really stick out. My libertarianism-anarchism comes from my pacifism, and not being willing to permit violence for any institution more than for any individual. I am a working man, and have no delusions of becoming a titan of industry. I was right there along the rest of you celebrating the cottage foods bill. You would be surprised at how much we have in common.

    Our differences come from my studying of economics and history. I know that General William Tecumseh Sherman, after burning Atlanta, went west to slaughter Native Americans by the thousands to make way for the railroads. I know that the federal government enforced the fugitive slave act, despite northern states attempts to nullify it. I know that many businesses, in hopes of maximizing profits, wanted to integrate, but were forced to segregate by state and local governments. I know that minimum wage laws prevent entry into the workforce by unskilled workers, and is a strong contributing factor to the high unemployment rate among young black males. I know that the war on drugs has locked up millions of young black men for no good reason. I know that government roads have subsidized urban sprawl, destroying our inner cities. And I know that the xenophobic hate-filled reaction to immigration is making both us, and the poor huddled masses yearning for freedom, poorer. So, please, spare me your baseless ad hominem attacks.

  24. dragon
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Libertarians are anarchists without balls. Anarchists are Libertarians without brains.

  25. Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I go from libertarian to anarchist depending on whether I’m drinking coffee or liquor.

  26. Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Patti, please don’t tell the story about blowing the Libertarian again. I don’t think that I could take it.

    And, thanks, but I think I know what I need to know about Libertarianism. I’ve read Ayn Rand, and met plenty of assholes in my time.

    And I find it funny that I’m apparently not allowed to call Glenn Beck a Libertarian when he calls himself one, as though there’s some king of litmus test that I, as a “journalist”, need to apply on behalf of all Libertarians. You don’t see me getting all huffy when someone in the press refers to Lieberman as a Democrat, do you? That’s life. Sometimes people join our club that we don’t want. Get over it.

  27. Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Eugene Robinson has a great piece on Gingrich in today’s Washington Post. Here’s how it ends…

    …It has been suggested that perhaps Gingrich, who is thinking of running for president, is trying to lure attention away from a recent unflattering profile in Esquire — the one that charts his three marriages in excruciating, and embarrassing, detail. But it hardly furthers his ambitions to pretend to be so nuts.

    And there’s a thread that connects his outbursts: They all fit into the idea that American democracy — indeed, the whole Anglo-American-Judeo-Christian enterprise — is under attack in a titanic clash of civilizations. In this view, we are threatened most acutely by the Islamic civilization. But we must also be on guard against the “Sinic” civilization of China, the “Hindu” civilization of India and assorted others. This analysis was developed by Samuel P. Huntington, a Harvard professor who died in 2008 — and who said he never intended his work to be read as a battle plan.

    Gingrich seems to believe that our culture and values are also threatened from within — by black and brown people who demand that they, too, be given a voice in defining that culture and those values. He really needs to get out more. But, hey, it’s a free country. If he wants, Gingrich can imagine himself a retired British colonel in 1963, harrumphing in his armchair about who lost Kenya. A diverse and multicultural America has long since moved on.

  28. Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Libertarianism as a philosophy is a pretty well-defined philosophy. You can really easily tell whether someone agrees with the philosophy or not, regardless of what they call themselves. Now, if someone joins the Libertarian Party, then, okay, they’re a “Libertarian” (as-in a member of a party). But philosophically, they might not be libertarian.

    Is Democrat so easily defined? Can you precisely point out where Lieberman doesn’t align his views with the Democrat philosophy?

  29. Andy C
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone actually read “The Fountainhead”? Didn’t think so. Not sure why right wing Christians are so into an devout atheist anyway.

  30. Two in the Bush
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Langston Hughes. What a great poet.

  31. Peter Larson
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I tried to read the Fountainhead once. It was painful with no end in sight so I had to stop. I think it would be really appealing to 16 year olds.

  32. Edward
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Because Jesus was a macho, tip over the fucking tables of the money lenders kind of badass. He was a man’s man, who made his own rules. He was a libertarian through and trough. Remember that one time where he yelled “Get a Job” to the beggar with no arms? That’s one of my favorite Bible stories.

  33. Robert
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I can understand mSS’s frustration. Welcome to the club. We all have our beliefs maligned by messed up assholes who claim to share them. Imagine how real Christians must feel (if there are any left in existence).

    I like Patti and Oliva’s characterizations of the self-identified libertarians from their personal experiences. My experience has been similar. However, I acknowledge that mSS may be right that the most vocal and politically active libertarians are the biggest assholes amongst them. I find that to be the case across the political spectrum. Your average Republican tends not to be the ultra-prick you’ll find active in the GOP. Most decent people are for the most part just going about their personal business trying to make a decent life for themselves and their loved ones.

  34. kjc
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “Imagine how real Christians must feel”

    lol. indeed.

  35. kjc
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    somehow Ray Bradbury’s take on thing seems appropriate (“I am afraid of people, people, people”).

  36. Kurt
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    They Live is a totally bad-ass movie. Prescient even.

  37. Posted February 3, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The Overton Window is moved so far from the founders’ intentions for this nation they’re indiscernable. Both Left and Right are miles left of their initial setting. I just came from the Political Compass and after taking their test found myself placed barely left of center due entirely to my Libertarian principles, otherwise I’d be hard right. The Democrat Party Representatives are unwilling to curb their behavior at all and their base is in full blown rebellion to any form of discipline except for their participation in the church of Mother Earth. Similarly, the Libertarians are unwilling or cannot see the absolute requirement to inculcate the culture with moral boundaries, otherwise I agree with their stance in keeping government out of the citizens’ way.

    All that to say, I don’t lean on any network for my news. If something reaches the national discourse, I go online and investigate it myself and usually find the narrative completely distorted. I learned 5 or6 years ago that all of them use their positions to advocate their agenda no matter how ‘fair and balanced’ they claim to be. I prefer the pre-New Deal version of professional journalism where every reporter named his own views/party so the reader would know where to place that ‘grain of salt’ and decide for themselves if and when their work was biased. Nowhere have I found a more profound example of bias than in Susan Rosgen’s (CNN) Obama advocacy to a TEA party demonstration closely followed by (thrilled leg) Chris Matthews and virtually all the alphabet soup representatives. Search YouTube for Charles Wiley Journalism 179 if you need it spelled out for you. Examples are the missing reports on border crime, Palestinian outrages, European/Islamic outrages are reported but renamed ‘youth’ demonstrations, U.N. criminality, Arab Spring one year later, Democrat racism, black racism, liberal anti-Semitism, and most notably during the 2008 election any vetting of Barack Obama by main stream reporters. Further examples are blemish highlighting Israel, uniquely American military, W, Christianity, Palin and the entire TEA Party, and core Islamic principles.

    To the point. Yes the legislation was written under G.W. Bush’s tenure, however Obama campaigned on fixing the economy and pronounced his own test. “If I haven’t turned the economy around in three years, then my presidency will be a one term proposition.” If he refuses to extend the ‘Bush’ tax CUTS, then he is in point of fact authorizing a tax INCREASE which he overtly advocates beyond the retirement of ‘Bush era’ temporary legislation. If you have to work this hard to point out a FOX lie, perhaps I should give them more credibility than I have been. What I’ve seen of FOX’s failures to report are Bush era sweeping legislation diminishing American’s rights which the Obama administration is dramatically inflating.

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