Chris Wallace continued Fox's defense of his highly edited interview with Jon Stewart last week, but Wallace conveniently forgot to mention them editing out Stewart's remarks about their managing editor Bill Sammon that John wrote about here. Surprise, surprise.
WALLACE: Now the surprising fallout from our interview last Sunday with Jon Stewart. I figured it would get some reaction, but not that it would light up the Internet.
One of Jon's arguments was that the bias of the mainstream media is not to push a liberal agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": The bias of the mainstream media is towards sensationalism, conflict and laziness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The Huffington Post seemed to prove that Sunday afternoon when it ran this headline that seemed more appropriate to a declaration of war.
Then, on Monday, Stewart led his show by complaining about the editing of our interview. True, we did cut our 24-minute conversation down to 14 minutes, but we posted the full interview on our Web site. That's the only reason you could see it.
I was more surprised by Jon's claim we left out the takeaway moment, the moment where I gave away the game.
Think Progress' Lee Fang caught up to Fox "tea party" promoter and cheer leader extraordinaire, and part time Bill O'Reilly ambush "journalist" Griff Jenkins and asked him if he was familiar with his boss Bill Sammon's instructions to paint President Obama a Socialist. Naturally he feigned ignorance.
According to memos and audio obtained by MediaMatters, Fox News DC news chief instructed his reporters to lie about Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. Even though he acknowledged that he didnt believe it to be true at the time, Fox News chief Bill Sammon told reporters to call Obama a socialist during the last months of the campaign. Sammon also engaged in such "mischievous" activity. I asked Fox News reporter Griff Jenkins about this controversy, and he pretended to not know ....
During the 2008 presidential campaign one Fox News executive repeatedly tried to smear Barack Obama with charges of "socialism."
Liberal watchdog group Media Matters has uncovered audio that indicates Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was just engaging in what he called "mischievous speculation."
In 2009, Sammon told an audience aboard Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college that his 2008 attempt to link Obama to socialism was "a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched."
"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 quote, 'spread the wealth around,'" Sammon said. "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."
During the 2008 campaign, the then-Washington deputy managing editor repeatedly suggested that Obama had socialist tendencies.
On Oct. 14, 2008, Sammon said that Obama's comment to Joe Wurzelbacher "is red meat when you're talking to conservatives and you start talking about 'spread the wealth around.' That is tantamount to socialism."
In early February, Media Matters obtained an email where Sammon offered talking points to Fox News staff, linking Obama to socialism and Marxism during the 2008 campaign.
"If Fox News really cares about its 'reporting,' they will fire DC exec Bill Sammon over this," former MSNBC anchor David Shuster tweeted Tuesday.
"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," The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz noted.
For the second time in less than a week, the Fox News Washington managing editor has been caught trying to "slant" the news.
In an e-mail obtained by Media Matters, Bill Sammon told his staff to downplay the importance of climate science that showed the world was getting warmer.
"Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data... we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question," Sammon wrote.
Sammon issued the instructions less than 15 minutes after Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler noted that the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."
"2000 to 2009 [is] expected to turn out to be the warmest decade on record," Goler reported during the 2009 Copenhagen climate change summit. "2009 itself was about the fifth warmest year. There was extreme drought in Africa, extreme heat in India and northern China."
"But it's the decade trend that has scientists concerned because 2000 to 2009 [is] warmer than the 1990s, warmer than the 1980s," he said.
Only last week, Media Matters published another e-mail where Sammon asked his news department to refer to the health care reform public option as the "government run option."
Sammon sent the request after Republican pollster Frank Luntz said that polls showed the "government option" was opposed by the public.
According to the report at Media Matters, in August of 2009 after Fox News' Sean Hannity used the term "public option," Luntz encouraged him to say "government option" instead.
"If you call it a 'public option,' the American people are split," Luntz said. "If you call it the 'government option,' the public is overwhelmingly against it."
In October, sources told Media Matters that since joining Fox News, Sammon's pressure to "distort" and "slant news" had made some in the newsroom uncomfortable.
"Since Bill Sammon assumed the role of Washington managing editor and vice president of news at the beginning of the Obama Administration, pressure from Fox management to produce stories that lean toward a conservative agenda, and distort news in some cases, has found its way into coverage," the sources said.
The text of Sammon's email follows:
From: Sammon, Bill
To: 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 036 -FOX.WHU; 054 -FNSunday; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers; 069 -Politics; 005 -Washington
Cc: Clemente, Michael; Stack, John; Wallace, Jay; Smith, Sean
Sent: Tue Dec 08 12:49:51 2009
Subject: Given the controversy over the veracity of climate change data...
...we should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question. It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts, especially as this debate intensifies.
The panel on Fox News Watch, the show on Fox News which ironically looks out for “media bias” as the host Jon Scott implores their viewers to share with them at the end of the segment, debated the media’s coverage of Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor rally, and unsurprisingly their Washington managing editor Bill Sammon was very upset with the “liberal media” for attacking his buddy Glenn Beck. The horror that they might have had some preconceived notions on what Beck is all about and that their coverage might be biased against him.
In the world of these Fox conservative hacks, the story line was already written before Beck even had his rally and of course it wasn’t political because you know… Glenn Beck said it wasn’t going to be. Not that their slant has any basis in reality. Jim Pinkerton wasn’t much better during this segment when talking about the “lazy media” that writes a story ahead of time. Like that’s not what Fox does 24/7. It’s really pathetic watching these guys try to pretend that Fox is nothing more than a political arm of the GOP and that Glenn Beck’s event was just something that he decided to do on his own and that wasn’t promoted by their network.
Kirsten Powers attempted to point that out how ridiculous that narrative was and had Sammon, who is one of the biggest and most disgusting Bush cheerleaders I’ve ever had the unfortunate circumstance of watching in my life counter her with how the media is just picking no poor little old Glenn Beck.
POWERS: I’m sorry, but I love the idea that you act like you just sort of comes out of nowhere, like where did that narrative of Glenn Beck come from? I mean, watch his show. That’s where it came from. This is his narrative of what he presents to the world. (crosstalk) But it’s not unreasonable for them to have anticipated that. I mean that (crosstalk)… they did!
SAMMON: It’s one thing to anticipate. It’s another thing to be spoiling for a fight and you watched the coverage leading up to this rally. The press was ready (crosstalk) for a fight. They wanted punches thrown. They wanted racist signs. They wanted to write that story. They were crestfallen when it turned into a church picnic. And then they didn’t know what to do so they started talking about, well gee you know, he’s a Mormon, maybe he’s not even a… they started attacking his Mormonism.
Sorry Bill, but it wasn’t the “liberal” media that had an issue with Beck’s Mormonism. It was conservative evangelical religious leaders who were saying they didn’t agree with his views and that darned liberal media bothered to point that out.
I thought it was distasteful enough that Chris Wallace asked Juan Williams to have to explain why Ted Kennedy wasn't given the "Jesse Helms" treatment by the New York Times in their obituaries of the two men, but it also turns out that he was showing NewsBusters a little love as well. I'm glad Media Matters reads NewsBusters, so I don't have to.
Also, I'm sure I won't be the only one that thinks Chris Wallace or anyone at Fox complaining about "media coverage" is laughable on its face.
Wallace: I also want to talk about the "media" coverage of Ted Kennedy's death this week. Not only the amount of it, which was extraordinary, but also the tone of it, and I want to put up the first paragraph of The New York Times obituary on Ted Kennedy's death. This is the first paragraph this week.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died late Tuesday night.
Now, here's the first paragraph of the Times' story on the passing of Jesse Helms last year.
Jesse Helms, the former North Carolina senator whose courtly manner and mossy drawl barely masked a hard-edged conservatism that opposed civil rights, gay rights, foreign aid and modern art, died early Friday.
Bill Sammon, I'm sure some people will be offended that I'm even making the comparison between these two men, but that is a frightening difference.
Sammon: It is and there are two ways to rectify that double standard. One would have been for the New York Times to find something nice to say about Jesse Helms substantively, other than this mossy drawl. The other, if you're going to go the, and I think that's the preferable way to do it, because you want to, when someone dies, you want to find something nice to say.
The other way if they wanted to be fair would, they would have had to put something in Ted Kennedy's about Chappaquiddick, about his demagoguery Robert Bork, the, you know, lunch-counter America, the back alley abortions, all those kind of things, but they didn't, so either way you do it it's unfair, and that was a striking example.
Wallace: Juan, do you think that there's a striking difference in the way those two men were sent off?
Williams: Well, I think you should be nice to people at the time of their death in general, no matter what their sins, but in fact I think it was good journalism. I think in fact that if you look at the public impact that Jesse Helms had on the country, it was to stand in opposition to civil rights and all the gay rights and all this. If you look at the public impact of Ted Kennedy...
Wallace: But wasn't he for something?
Williams: Yeah! He was for stopping those things and that's what the lead said. I don't have any problem with that and in fact Chappaquiddick has been mentioned prominently throughout this whole period.
Sammon: Not in that lead.
Williams: Not in the lead but in the story. It's not like anybody's hiding Ted Kennedy's flaws. We know them.
Bill Sammon on Fox News Sunday is now worried about the expansion of Presidential powers. This coming from one of the biggest Bush cheerleaders on the planet.
Wallace: Let me ask you about that. I mean with all the craziness that we've had about derivatives and credit default swaps, isn't there a role for the government to play to step in and say here are the rules of the road, here are some standards?
Sammon: Well that's it. There is a role. And I think Juan and Bill are making this into an all or nothing. In other words you're either going to have no regulation or all pervasive regulation as Nina has described. I think conservatives are right to be concerned that Obama is using this as a pretext for a wide power grab. Never waste a good crisis seems to be the motto of this administration and I think the fear is that a) you can't, I think conservatives feel you can't trust this administration to, to grab that much governmental authority where you regulating not just banks but insurance companies and hedge funds and a whole host of financial institutions. And b) and perhaps more importantly, can you trust future administrations to do this. Who knows who's going to be in power in the future. And you're going to give this broad authority that you'll never get back.
Yeah gee Bill you're right. You never know who might be President in the future. It could be someone who decides to invade other countries that aren't a threat to us or spy on us, or think torture is legal...or...oh never mind. Too late for that. Project much Mr. Sammon? And heaven forbid anyone regulate these industries that have driven our economy into a ditch. The horror of doing that! Hey let's just keep everything the way it is now. What could possibly go wrong?