NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News Channel’s morning show on Wednesday twice aired a nearly 4-minute video that contrasted President Barack Obama’s words with negative statistics about his administration in a format that looked similar to a campaign advertisement.
The liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America called the video “essentially a four-minute anti-Obama attack ad.” The segment also received criticism from a conservative blogger.
It was shown on “Fox & Friends” and was credited to a Fox producer. It contains ominous music and some grainy footage of the president, along with some stock images from campaign ads: an American flag fluttering in the breeze, a child running in a baseball game, a bald eagle.
The segment mixes Obama’s words with a litany of statistics, contrasting the national debt, the jobless rate and the number of Americans on food stamps “then” and “now,” although the time frame isn’t clearly explained.
A part about rising gasoline prices illustrates the current price per gallon by showing a cartoon car overheating with a puff of steam, with what resembles an Obama campaign graphic on its side. It shows statistics on reduced family savings with a graphic of a piggy bank tumbling down stairs.
Besides Obama’s words, verbal images flash by – clips of newscasters saying phrases such as “more Americans are out of work,” “inflation fears rising” and “fear we’ll see the long gas lines of the ’70s.”
The video ends with Obama’s own words, as he says, “that’s the power of hope. That’s the change we seek. That’s the change we can stand for.”
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When it ended, “Fox & Friends” anchor Steve Doocy praised the producer for a “job well done.”
Media Matters spokeswoman Jessica Levin said, “It looked like a very slickly produced Republican ad.”
Ed Morrissey, of the conservative media blog Hot Air, questioned the video even though he wrote, “I don’t disagree with much, if anything” that it says.
“If anyone wanted to look for evidence that the overall Fox News organization intends to campaign against Obama rather than cover the campaign, this video would be difficult to refute as evidence for that claim,” Morrissey wrote.
Fox programming executive vice president Bill Shine said the video was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the network’s senior level. He said senior executives would not have approved it and the matter was addressed with the show’s producers.
Through a spokeswoman, Shine would not address what action, if any, had been taken against the producers or how the video was aired a second time without senior executives being aware.
The video was posted on the “Fox & Friends” website Wednesday afternoon with the headline “Four years of hope and change” but was taken down.