Fox News blatantly regurgitated Republican talking points yesterday as they “asked” how President Obama’s policies “stack up” to the newly-elected socialist president of France, Francois Hollande. Host Megyn Kelly pretended to be posing a real question but later, she tacitly admitted to have echoed a Republican meme. This, during a show that Fox touts as part of its “objective” programming. (H/T Bob M.)
It wasn’t just Kelly, either. “Fair and balanced” Fox Nation offered up the headline: France’s New Socialist President and President Obama: How Do Their Policies Stack Up?
Kelly began by saying, “Already some economists and some political commentators are pointing out these two men do have some similar approaches to the economy.”
So who are those people? Karl Rove? Rush Limbaugh? Why didn’t “objective” Kelly say?
Instead, a graphic appeared on the screen saying, “Francois Hollande vs. Barack Obama.” Kelly “explained” from her scripted introduction that “both leaders favor massive stimulus programs… oppose austerity programs and aggressive budget cutting. Both leaders want to increase the top tax rates on their citizens and one more thing that may be making some investors squirm: the leaders of France and the United States are both proposing a special tax on banks.” She gave special emphasis to the bank tax.
Rather than have any economist discuss why Obama is or is not a socialist – maybe because everyone, or almost everyone, knows darn well he isn’t - she turned to two political operatives: Republican Brad Blakeman and Democrat Dick Harpootlian.
Kelly walked the suggestion back a bit by saying that although the Fox News “brain room” came up with the similarities, “that doesn’t mean… they have a uniform approach across the board.” However, she didn’t bother to name a single difference – like, maybe one is a socialist and the other isn’t.
“Brad what does it tell you?” Kelly asked as her lead-off question.
Blakeman sneered, “Maybe Obama’s gonna start speaking French to us all soon.” He went on to proclaim that Hollande’s big government philosophy and “soaking the rich” won’t work. “We’re not like France," he added. As if we were on the verge of having twin governments.
Turning to Harpootlian, Kelly laughably asked if it were “damaging, Dick, to the president” to have the comparison made. She added, “You can argue about these policies but I think most Americans don’t find it shocking and horrifying to see the retirement age go from, you know, 60 to 62. But this president-elect did. He wants to go back down from 62 to 60. That’s not something Barack Obama has said. But does he get tarred with that brush?”
And who just tried to tar him with that brush, Megyn?
Harpootlian said “Thank God we don’t live in France” and that we have a “different government, different attitude, different history.”
But as he spoke, a graphic on the lower third of the screen read, “HOW POLICIES OF PRES OBAMA & FRANCE’S NEW PRESIDENT STACK UP.”
In a tacit admission of where she had gotten her debate “question,” Kelly did ask Blakeman if the comparison didn’t pose “some risk… for Republicans because what if this guy, Hollande, takes over France, implements his socialist policies and they do well and the rejection of the austerity years turn out to be a boon for France?”
In other words, she was admitting that the comparison, which Fox adopted as their own, was little more than a Republican talking point. Why Harpootlian didn't jump on that, I'll never know or understand.
Blakeman said that even if France did well with Hollande, that wouldn’t help Obama.
Apparently, helping or hurting Obama – not France or the U.S. – is the only thing that mattered to Blakeman in this discussion.
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