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FOX News Manufactures Controversy To Smear Biden (And Change The Subject From Dick Cheney)

Reported by Ellen - April 10, 2009 -

On last night's (4/9/09) On The Record, the discussion turned to whether or not Vice President Biden had actually smacked down President Bush by responding to his statement that he's a leader with the response, “Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one's following." So what, you might say. With all the important problems facing our country, what's the big deal about what Biden did or did not say to Bush many moons ago? You wouldn't know this from watching the show but it turns out that Biden told this anecdote in response to Dick Cheney's comments that the Obama administration has made the country less safe. Instead of focusing on THAT (or Biden's response that Cheney is "dead wrong"), FNC's vice president of news, Bill Sammon, interviewed a slew of former Bush aides, plus Bush, himself – each of whom predictably claimed they had no memory of Biden's account and – voila – it was worthy of an article on FOXNews.com and an entire discussion on the air suggesting Biden's a liar. The “fair and balanced” folks trotted out Republican partisan extraordinaire, Karl Rove, as the sole guest for the On The Record discussion, Rove made a couple of incendiary comments about Biden (that he had plenty of time to plan in advance) and – voila encore – it was a full blown controversy, at least on FOX News. With video.

A search of FOXNews.com for "Biden dead wrong Cheney" turns up only one AP story about Biden's contention with Cheney. But a search of "Biden turn around" turns up two FOXNews.com articles painting Biden as a liar. The latter one, based on Rove's appearance on On The Record last night, trumpets Rove's characterization of Biden as a liar. The FOXNews.com video below, titled Revisionist History echoes that theme.

Megyn Kelly was subbing for “liberal” Greta Van Susteren, the regular host. Rather than add any balance to Rove, Kelly seemed determined to help the Biden smear along. “Fascinating story,” she said, with deliberate sarcasm as she recounted Biden's words and omitted the Cheney context. “But did it really happen?”

In Sammon's article, he took pains to cast doubt on Biden by pointing out other instances where he had been caught exaggerating. (No mention that Bush had been caught lying about something far more important - the threat posed by Iraq.)

“It didn't happen,” Rove declared flatly about Biden's statement. Kelly never questioned how Rove might be so sure. Was he with the president at all times that Biden was? It's doubtful.

Then, as though reading from Sammon's script, Rove added, “Look, Joe Biden does this.” Rove went on to say that Biden never spent “hours” with the president. In actuality, according to Sammon, Biden never said he spent hours at a time with Bush, just “a lot of hours alone.” Rove later acknowledged (not that Kelly brought it up) that Biden may not have meant hours at one time with Bush but Rove immediately accused Biden of trying to leave that impression. No argument from Kelly there.

“I hate to say it, but (Biden's) a serious exaggerator,” Rove said. He hates to say it? That right there is implausible but, of course, Kelly let it go.

“If I was being unkind, I'd say he's a liar,” Rove continued disingenuously, “but it is a habit he ought to drop... It's his imagination. It's a made up, fictional world. He ought to get out of it and get back to reality.”

“Really?” Kelly said, with exaggerated surprise. “So you're saying he just made this thing up out of whole cloth with no basis in reality?”

“You should not exaggerate and lie like this when you're the vice president of the United States,” Rove said. Funny, I can think of another vice president caught lying and exaggerating, Dick “the insurgency is in its last throes” Cheney, for example.

But “fair and balanced” Kelly didn't seem to think of that. She asked whether it was not unusual for a senator to spend hours with a president in the Oval Office.

Rove admitted that it was not unusual for someone to spend “a considerable block of time with the president” (particularly if it happened be, say, a Senator who was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, no?) But not likely hours at a time, Rove said, “particularly (not) a blowhard like Joe Biden.” Rove was really on a roll now and said Biden had “outbursts” and was not the kind of guy to become “the confidant” of any president of either Party. OK, so maybe Biden's not the “confidant” of President Obama (not that Rove would likely be privy to that information) but he is definitely the vice president. And the people of the United States elected him decisively to that position.

Kelly, her voice rising with indignation wondered why the story was not getting more attention. “Do people not care?” She pushed the Biden smear further by “asking,” if Biden was “absolutely flat out lying, why doesn't anyone care?”

Rove, still overlooking (with the aid of Kelly) Cheney's falsehoods, griped that if Cheney had told the same “lie,” that the media would be “all over” him. Sure it would, the same way it was “all over” him about Iraq – not.

It's funny how FOX News, while frequently bragging about its dominant ratings, never seems to consider its own role in media coverage of the presidency as significant.