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Tilting at Windmills

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February 1, 2011

BILL SAMMON'S 'SOCIALIST' INSTRUCTIONS TO THE FOX NEWS TEAM.... Bill Sammon sure does write a lot of memos.

During the final days of the 2008 presidential race, Bill Sammon used his position as a top Fox News editor to engage in a campaign to link then-Sen. Barack Obama to "Marxists" and "socialism," internal Fox documents and a review of his televised appearances show.

On October 27, 2008, Sammon sent an email to colleagues highlighting what he described as "Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists" in his 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father. Shortly after sending the email, Sammon -- then the network's Washington deputy managing editor -- appeared on two Fox News programs to discuss his research and also wrote a FoxNews.com piece about Obama's "affinity to Marxists" that was disseminated throughout the conservative blogosphere.

What a remarkable coincidence. Just days before the 2008 presidential election, a top editor suggested the Republican network's on-air talent connect the Democratic candidate not only to socialism, but to his "racial obsessions" while in college. I'm sure there's a reasonable, journalistic explanation for this, though I can't imagine what it is.

If I didn't know better, I might think Sammon has some kind of partisan political agenda or something. (Sammon's marching orders were sent to the network's news division, not its opinion shows, though the line between the two doesn't really exist.)

"Bill Sammon's October email reads like a piece of opposition research from the McCain campaign," said Media Matters' Ari Rabin-Havt. "The network clearly embraced this brand of 'journalism.' Sammon was promoted to Washington managing editor a mere four months later."

Also note, this is the third Sammon memo that's come to light in recent months. In December, we learned that Sammon ordered the network's journalists to downplay the science of global warming.

Around the same time, we also learned of a Sammon memo telling Fox News reporters to use Republican-endorsed rhetoric, exclusively, to describe the public option during the health care debate.

None of this is even remotely surprising -- Fox News is a obviously Republican propaganda outlet. But when memos like Sammon's come to public light, it helps add additional weight to the larger indictment against the ridiculous cable news outlet.

Let's also note that all of the memos have been uncovered by Media Matters, which suggests the organization has a helpful source within the network. That's good news.

Steve Benen 2:05 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Comments

When vested interests and the bottom line for profit meet, moral compasses are dropped and shattered on the concrete floor of propaganda, until the interests making the profit truly believe their own shit just don't stink! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 1, 2011 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

At what point, if any, does the manner in which FOX News conducts its business become the business of the FEC?

Posted by: Perspectiucs on February 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Sammon was behind the phony "Floodgate" smear of Al Gore during the 2000 campaign.

Posted by: Scoobie Davis on February 1, 2011 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry, buttkissers like Jake Tapper, Chuckie Todd, Howie Kurtz will do their very best to treat Fox like a respectable 'sister' network to their own. They'll be the first line of defense for the network they are smitten about.

Posted by: Dan on February 1, 2011 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

How does one move up the Fox ladder? Out Luntz Luntz (meaning, for the uninitiated, who can lie the best, preferably by coming up with cute catch phrases like Death Tax, Death Panels, Marxist, etc. to easily drive the lie home. Bonus points for one or two word catch phrases.)

I wish I didn't have a conscience. I'd love to make this kind of bank lying my ass off. How do these people sleep at night? I suppose it's good to be king.

Posted by: MsJoanne on February 1, 2011 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps, rather than complaining about FOX, it is time for a deep pocketed Democrat to build a similar "news" operation. Mr. Soros, are you interested?

(-didn't Al Gore have a piece of some kind of media company?)

Posted by: DAY on February 1, 2011 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

[Content deleted]

Posted by: Sarah B on February 1, 2011 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

This is news? Really?

*yawn*

Posted by: Gummo on February 1, 2011 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'd have thought that Fox 'News' Network being the actual employer-of-record of most of the possible 2012 Republican Presidential candidates is good enough evidence of bias. Oh, well, maybe it's just a komplete coinkidink.

Posted by: MattF on February 1, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I think another Obama interview on Fox should put any questions of bias to rest.

The Chamber of Commerce was catching some heat too before Obama decided to make a speech to the group.

Posted by: square1 on February 1, 2011 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

When does Fox lose it's press credentials?

Posted by: mikefromArlington on February 1, 2011 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

When does Fox lose it's press credentials?

It is quite touching that Obama's supporters show more concern about the media's treatment of Obama than he does.

Fox lose its press credentials? Please. Obama will be interviewing with Bill O'Reilly in less than a week.

Posted by: square1 on February 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think the big problem for Sammon is his instruction to focus on Obama's white girlfriends- any veener of objectivity is blown as to the relevance of the matter- in fact Sammon has professed himself to be a racist- why is he alloed in decent company?

Posted by: Raoul on February 1, 2011 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

At what point, if any, does the manner in which FOX News conducts its business become the business of the FEC?

Never. The Republicans broke the FEC too.

Posted by: Gregory on February 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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