I don’t disagree with much, if anything, in this video presented earlier today on Fox & Friends. Neither, I suspect, will many of our readers. But does this make anyone uncomfortable at all in regard to its source? Via Greg Hengler, here is a four-minute Fox News retrospective on Hope and Change:
Note that F&F isn’t just playing a campaign ad or a YouTube spot from an outside political action committee. Nor does this come from the production company of one of its opinion-program hosts. The video starts with “Fox and Friends Presents” on the screen, making this an explicit argument from the news channel itself.
Should a news organization produce and publish attack ads like this? I know the initial response will be that other news organizations offer biased perspectives and hagiographies of Obama that go well beyond a single video … and that response is entirely valid. However, we usually criticize that kind of behavior with other news organizations, too. If anyone wanted to look for evidence that the overall Fox News organization intends to campaign against Obama rather than cover the campaign, this video would be difficult to refute as evidence for that claim.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that outside groups and the Romney campaign shouldn’t consider producing something like this on their own. It makes a pretty powerful argument against another four years of Barack Obama, but that shouldn’t be the job of news-reporting organizations, even when we like the message.
Update: Looks like Fox News pulled the video. I’ll see if they repost it.
Update II: I posted the YouTube of it instead.
Update III, 4:25 PM: I had to put this post aside for a while to work on other stories and my show, but a couple of people tweeted me that Fox Nation still had the video up. The main page has it as its headline post, but when you click on the link, it’s dead. Furthermore, the embed video died about 10 minutes after I wrote this post, and I searched the Fox News video site for another 10-15 minutes and could not find it at all there.
Update IV: Twitter follower Jon Eisenberg found a live link at Fox for the video, so I’ll repost it in this update:
One last point: Several people in the comments argue that F&F is an opinion show, and that this is therefore fair game. That would certainly be true if they wanted to play ads run by other organizations as part of their commentary. My point is that this ad was produced by Fox News itself, and it’s clearly intended to campaign against Obama. That’s the problem with this video, and I think it was ill-advised by Fox to have produced and published it. If CBS News produced a four-minute video extolling all of Obama’s accomplishments, or a four-minute video with this dramatic music and animation ripping Romney for his years in Massachusetts and at Bain Capital, we’d be screaming our heads off, and rightly so.
Update V: TV Newser got a statement from Fox VP Bill Shine that hints at some disciplinary action:
“The package that aired on FOX & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers.”
We’ll see; so far, it’s still up on the network’s website.