It's not quite a political ad but it sure looks like one.
Fox News' "Fox & Friends" aired a four-minute video today attacking President Obama. The video is made in the same style as the most negative of political ads, complete with frightening music, graphics and voiceovers. Obama's words are juxtaposed on screen with images of a dystopian America.
"The president says that he is still using that slogan [hope and change]," host Gretchen Carlson tells Fox viewers of the video. "So we decided to look back at the president's first term to see if it lived up to hope and change."
Fox has a slogan of its own: "Fair and Balanced." But with this new video, commentators on both sides of the political divide are questioning whether it's still operative.
At conservative website Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes:
"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."
The liberal site Media Matters for America takes time to try to debunk each of the claims made about Obama in the video, writing that the video "furthers Fox News' role as the communications and campaign arm of the GOP."
A request for comment from Fox News was not immediately returned.
UPDATE, 6:15 p.m.:
In an E-mailed statement, Bill Shine, Executive Vice President of Programming at Fox News said:
“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.”
TVNewser reports that the video “is not sitting well” with top dogs at Fox.
Whispers hears that Chris White, the Fox associate producer who made the video, has an offer from CNN.
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