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Fox News Tries To Paint Obama As A Michael Vick Supporter

Reported by Ellen - December 29, 2010 -

Although there was still some talk about “death panels” on Fox News Tuesday (12/28/10), the President-Obama-attack du jour was his phone call to the Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie in which, in addition to discussing the team’s plan to use alternative energy in its stadium, Obama praised Lurie for giving convicted dog murderer/torturer Michael Vick a second chance after he was released from prison. There was no interest in the alternative energy part of the discussion. Instead, Fox News seemed intently interested in suggesting that Obama somehow is a Vick supporter. Just in case the pundits didn’t get the point across, FoxNews.com called its video of America Live discussing this controversy, Does Vick Deserve President’s Praise? Never mind that the president praised the Eagles’ owner, not Vick.

If there’s one thing Megyn Kelly is a master at, it’s getting across a Fox News meme while giving a nod to being objective, as her 1-3 PM ET show is supposed to be. Her voice dripped with disdain as she said, “(Obama) praising the team owner, Jeff Lurie, for giving Vick a second chance. And there are very strong feelings about whether that was appropriate from both sides.” She went on to detail, with obvious disgust, Vick’s crimes.

In their report on this “story,” ABC News noted, “President Obama has long been a big supporter of giving ex-prisoners the opportunity to redeem themselves, and has even worked on legislation to facilitate that.” But somehow, “we report, you decide,” Fox News’ “objective” Kelly never got around to mentioning that.

The guests were Dr. R.L. White, of the NAACP in Atlanta, where Vick previously played, and animal rights activist Bernadette Pauley.

White said, essentially, that Vick had served his time and paid his debt to society and should be “free to redeem” his life.

But Pauley got right with the program. “You can redeem yourself after you do something like this… but he doesn’t need to be commended for it… Why should a celebrity or sports figure who did such horrible, horrible, inhumane things, be commended?”

Again, Obama did not praise Vick. But Kelly either missed the point or deliberately let it go.

Kelly questioned whether Obama's using his “very big microphone” to praise Vick’s second chance either excused or minimized what Vick did. “In other words, would the president do this if somebody had raped and tortured a human being? Of course he wouldn’t.” She later asked, “Why is it appropriate for the president to hold him up, essentially, on a pedestal, by singling him out?”

When White pointed out that Obama did not put Vick up on a pedestal but praised the owner of the team, Kelly made a point of noting that Lurie said Obama “didn’t just mention it, that that’s the first thing the president wanted to discuss and he described the president as, and I quote, passionate about it. Passionate about it, about giving him a second chance and saying, ‘so many convicts don’t get it.’”

Kelly continued, “Maybe it’s easy to understand second chances and all that in the abstract,” but, she added, she had looked through a lot of photos of the Vick’s canine victims for some that could be used for the segment, “and most we had to rule out… because they were tortured.” Kelly went on to catalogue the gruesome details of Vick’s treatment of the dogs. “It’s torture and it’s systematic torture,” she said with dramatic flourish.

As the segment neared an end, Kelly complained that while Vick has been travelling and speaking out against dog fighting, he has “yet to contribute any of (his $5.2 million salary) to the Humane Society or any dog group.” Kelly “asked,” whether Vick’s behavior justified “the president – I mean, maybe I’m using the wrong term by saying, ‘holding him up on a pedestal,’ but at least shining the national spotlight on him in a positive way?”

At the end of the segment, Kelly said she could see both sides. But it was pretty darned clear what she wanted to suggest to the audience the answer was.