Home > Uncategorized > Fox News fabricates a part of Obama’s speech

Fox News fabricates a part of Obama’s speech

April 21, 2012

This is a guest post by Michael Thaddeus.

 

When President Obama spoke at Lorain County Community College in Elyria, Ohio, on Wednesday, he said, “Somebody gave me an education. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance.” [Minute 9:24 on video.] He has made similar remarks numerous times, including as early as 2009.

But when smirking reporter Steve Doocy quoted the President to Mitt Romney on Fox News, he added three words: “Unlike some people, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.” [Minute 3:39 on video.]

Those three words, “unlike some people,” were a complete fabrication. President Obama never said them or anything like them. The extra words make the President sound snide, as if he were mocking Romney.

Where did these extra words come from? Steve Doocy seemingly made them up out of whole cloth. Are reporters really supposed to do that?

What happened next? Philip Rucker at the Washington Post “reported” the story on Thursday, but he made no effort to check the fabricated quote against the primary sources, easily available online. Instead, he put Fox’s words directly into the mouth of President Obama. Are reporters really supposed to do that? I e-mailed him and the Post editors to request a correction, but he hasn’t answered, and guess what, the false quote is still there.

Update: the Washington Post has made a correction.

Then what happened? The New York Post devoted one of its two Friday editorials to slamming Obama for taunting Romney. They called him “cynical,” “misguided,” and “snotty.” Well, of course he sounded snotty! That’s because the Post used the snotty quote concocted by their colleagues at Fox News! Are newspapers really supposed to do that?

When I pointed this out to the editorial staff at the Post on Friday, they replied, “we’d be happy to consider running a letter to the editor on this subject, if you’d care to write one.” Great! But what’s the catch? “I couldn’t guarantee that we could run it.” What odds do you give me? Meanwhile, even though a prominent editorial in the Post is devoted to denouncing the President for saying something that he didn’t really say, there seem to be no plans for a correction or retraction.

So there you have it. One branch of the Murdoch empire concocts a snotty quote, supposedly from Barack Hussein Obama. Another branch vilifies him for supposedly saying the snotty thing that they themselves concocted. Meanwhile, the fabricated quote continues to reverberate in the echo chamber of the right-wing blogosphere. And thanks to the Washington Post, it will soon be as good as true.

Let’s grant that these three little words are a petty mendacity by the Iraq War standards to which we’ve become accustomed. And let’s grant that Obama’s speechwriters are shrewd and were hardly unaware of the contrast with Romney when they wrote the “silver spoon” line. Still, what makes Murdoch newspapers and TV stations think they can fabricate quotes, enclose them in quotation marks, attribute them to the President of the United States, and get away with it? It’s pretty shocking when you think about it.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. John L
    April 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm | #1

    If you’re following the phone hacking saga in the UK, you’ll know that the Murdoch empire is evil. This is SOP for them.

  2. April 21, 2012 at 9:16 pm | #2

    I agree, that really sucks.

  3. DH
    April 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm | #3

    Now all we need is wikipedia to cite the quote so that more reporters can link to it and it will exist in perpetuity despite being factually inaccurate.

  4. Charles Young
    April 22, 2012 at 2:06 am | #4

    Very good catch, Cathy. I left a comment on Zite where I read it and also emailed the WP reporter. I’m not surprised by Steve Doocey or the NYP, but I had hoped the WP had some credibly left. What a world….

  5. Tara
    April 22, 2012 at 9:44 am | #5

    Do newspapers ever report on things like this? Is it worth alerting some other news source? Crazy!

  6. April 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm | #7

    This was also published over at NewsHounds, a web site I have always supported and at which I have many posts. Michael, this was a terrific article. Congrats!!!

    I have two new projects 1). Starting my own blog at http://notnowsilly.blogspot.com/ ; and 2). Destroying Johnny Dollar due to the following: http://www.newshounds.us/johnny_dollar_has_proven_himself_to_be_a_very_dangerous_person04182012

    “Some people say” that Johnny Dollar is supported by Fox “News.” If so, then Fox “News” paid to cyber-rape a thorn in its side in an attempt to take down NewsHounds.

    More details can be found on my blog.

  7. araybold
    April 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm | #8

    What makes them think they can get away with it? Because they can! The reasons why they can get away with it are far more disturbing than the fact that they try it.

    part of the reason is the laziness of people like Philip Rucker. Welcome to the world of postmodern journalism, in which there is no objective truth (that his piece was a blog entry is no excuse, in my opinion: it appeared under the imprimatur of the Washington Post, and what remains of its reputation for objectivity is diminished as by every falsehood published, whether in its news coverage or in support of an opinion (not coincidentally, one of Murdoch’s goals seems to be to foment confusion over the distinction between news and opinion.))

    The larger issue is that the Fox audience, which is substantial, does not care about facts. They want to be angry, as being so helps sustain the belief that once the right people take power, their lives will improve and they will finally get what they are entitled to.

  8. John
    April 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm | #9

    How many times does the Liberal Media add and delete words from the the right? Many times so get over it.

    • April 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm | #10

      Very unconvincing if you don’t have evidence.

      • EAE
        April 24, 2012 at 8:05 am | #11

        NBC recently made material, manipulative and misleading edits to the 911 call in the Trayvon Martin case. They aired that clip on the Today show and MSNBC. The producer was clearly seeking to enrage and inflame viewers. As a result NBC fired the producer and issued an apology.

        • May 4, 2012 at 11:53 pm | #12

          One minute the right is saying nobody watches MSNBC and the next they inflamed America about Trayvon Martin. Make your mind up. The full 911 recording has been on the net since the 17th March at least, before it even got on MSNBC, so if you don’t believe the MSM and research you would’ve heard it in full in the first place.

    • KellyK
      April 23, 2012 at 12:03 am | #13

      “Many” times? From where do you get your statistics?

  9. Becky Jaffe
    April 23, 2012 at 12:29 am | #14

    Interesting piece, Cathy. Have you heard of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting? It is a media watchdog organization that reports on just this kind of politically-motivated misinformation. Here’s a link: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=100

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