Fox News has developed a sudden concern for coronavirus truth – just in time to reject a powerful campaign ad from a Biden-supporting Super Pac. Yet the network claimed it’s “not in the business of censoring ads” when it decided to air a blatantly misleading ad for Trump.
The ad from a pro-Biden Super Pac, is called “Crisis Comes” and it begins with the statement that Donald Trump didn’t cause the coronavirus pandemic but he failed in responding to it. There’s virtually no arguing that point. But Fox’s decision not to air the video ad seems to rest on this, from a March 13 FoxNews.com article:
"Coronavirus -- this is their new hoax," the video shows Trump saying at a campaign rally in South Carolina.
The president did not say "this is their new hoax" immediately after he said "coronavirus" in his original comments, as the ad makes it appear, but rather made the hoax comment several sentences later. Trump was still talking about the coronavirus when he said the "hoax" part of the comment, but it was in reference to the media and how it covered his impeachment trial.
Actually, no. Trump's quote comes from a February 28, 2020 rally where he said it’s a Democratic/media hoax that there’s any coronavirus crisis. Fox’s article references a Washington Post fact check (a paper the network otherwise routinely disparages as untrustworthy or worse). The Post included Trump’s full quote in its article which, you may note, Fox did not:
“Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’, ‘Oh, nothing, nothing.’ They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning, they lost. It’s all turning, think of it, think of it. And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early, we went early, we could have had a lot more than that.
The Post rests its judgment on this: "The full quote shows Trump is criticizing Democratic talking points and the media’s coverage of his administration’s response to coronavirus. He never says that the virus itself is a hoax, and although the Biden camp included the word 'their,' the edit does not make clear to whom or what Trump is referring.”
But Trump’s following remarks make it pretty clear he is calling the crisis a hoax cooked up by the Democrat and the media:
TRUMP: We're doing great. Our country is doing so great. We are so unified. We are so unified. The Republican Party has never ever been unified like it is now. There has never been a movement in the history of our country like we have now. Never been a movement. So a statistic that we want to talk about, go ahead, say USA, it's OK, USA.
[Audience chants "Four more years"] So a number that nobody heard of that I heard of recently, and I was shocked to hear, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? Thirty-five thousand, that's a lot of people. It could go to a hundred thousand. It could be 20,000. They say usually a minimum of 27, goes up to 100,000 people a year die, and so far we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States
Nobody. And it doesn't mean we won't and we are totally prepared. It doesn't mean we won't. But think of it, you hear 35 and 40,000 people and we've lost nobody. You wonder if the press is in hysteria mode.
And that is the point of the ad, that Trump failed during a time of crisis, partly by dismissing it.
In any event, Fox’s concern for literal truth-telling is laughable given that the network's adoring hosts almost never fact check Trump when he lies to viewers. Sometimes they go to ridiculous lengths to validate his lies.
But when the Biden campaign objected to a Trump ad that spread a false conspiracy theory about him - Fox was suddenly all about free speech. Politico explains:
In a letter to Fox News and Fox Business general counsel Lily Claffee, Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz wrote that the ad “falsely states” that “Biden offered Ukraine $1 billion to fire the prosecutor investigating a company affiliated with his son.”
There is no evidence to support the claim that the former vice president intervened in Ukraine to benefit his son, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. The Obama administration — along with Republicans senators, the International Monetary Fund, Western governments and Ukrainian reformers — were concerned at the time that then-prosecutor general Victor Shokin wasn’t aggressively fighting corruption.
Fox rejected that challenge because – get this:
“We are not in the business of censoring ads from candidates on either side of the aisle,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO. “Vice President Joe Biden has a standing invitation to appear on any of our platforms.”
So here’s the ad Fox won’t run. I think it’s worth sharing.
(H/T Front Page Live)