Tue Mar 29, 2011 at 12:15 PM EDT
Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, admitting in a newly uncovered 2009 speech that he publicly smeared Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign with speculation that he did not privately believe:
Speaking in 2009 onboard a pricey Mediterranean cruise sponsored by a right-wing college, Fox Washington managing editor Bill Sammon described his attempts the previous year to link Obama to “socialism” as “mischievous speculation.” Sammon, who is also a Fox News vice president, acknowledged that “privately” he had believed that the socialism allegation was “rather far-fetched.””Last year, candidate Barack Obama stood on a sidewalk in Toledo, Ohio, and first let it slip to Joe the Plumber that he wanted to quote, ‘spread the wealth around,’ ” said Sammon. “At that time, I have to admit, that I went on TV on Fox News and publicly engaged in what I guess was some rather mischievous speculation about whether Barack Obama really advocated socialism, a premise that privately I found rather far-fetched.”
Sammon isn’t part of the Fox News “opinion” team. He’s part of the “news” team, and here he is admitting that he used his position to engage in political warfare against a candidate that he didn’t want to win. He lied, and lied repeatedly.
But as blunt as Sammon’s words were, let me be clear about one thing: there’s nothing at all surprising here. We know Fox is a Republican news channel, there’s no question about that.
The only question is why others in the media pretend that this isn’t the case.
Update: Greg Sargent assesses Sammon’s attempt at damage control: “Sammon is conceding that the idea did indeed strike him as far fetched in 2008, even though he and his network aggressively promoted it day in and day out throughout the campaign. And he’s defending this by pointing out that the idea ended up gaining traction, as if this somehow justifies the original act of dishonesty!”