Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kurtz Calls Out Hannity For His 'Deceptive' Editing Of Obama's Speech -- But That's Nothing New For Fox

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

Of course, Jon Stewart had already called out Sean Hannity for his selective edit of President Obama's speech Monday -- making it sound as though Obama uttered the opposite of what he actually said. But Howard Kurtz noticed it too, and remarked on it today on CNN's Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: Here's what I didn't like.

Sean Hannity is no fan of Barack Obama, and he's perfectly entitled to bash him night after night. But here's how the Fox News host analyzed Obama's recent speech in Ohio.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Now, the president did have a rare moment of honesty during his speech, and I hope voters around the country are watching this --

OBAMA: Taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year for everybody.

HANNITY: All right, that's right. I know the anointed one will make sure that that happens.


KURTZ: But just a second. Here's a little bit more of what Obama said.


OBAMA: Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year for everybody. By the way, this was by design.


KURTZ: So Hannity's careful editing just happens to leave out Obama's explanation that the Bush administration had arranged for the tax cuts to expire in 2010, not to mention that Obama wants to extend the tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans while ending them for the wealthiest taxpayers.

Isn't that kind of editing -- what's the word -- deceptive? A tip of the hat to "The Daily Show" for catching that one.
Well, we're glad Kurtz has finally noticed. Because this has been going on for a long time at Fox.

Remember how Glenn Beck did the same thing to Anita Dunn?

Beck did this repeatedly to Dunn -- as did, indeed, Sean Hannity, who ran the same truncated quote. So did Special Report with Bret Baier.

Hannity and Beck use this technique often and repeatedly. Hannity, for instance, has repeatedly run a deceptively edited video of Obama speaking abroad in order to smear him as being a president who presents a weak American face. It's almost a nightly feature of Beck's show, who uses selective edits to smear everyone from Van Jones to Jim Wallis to President Obama.

Indeed, selectively cropped video has been a specialty of Fox News generally for some time now, and it has been long remarked.

It's such an obvious and flagrant violation of the basic rules of journalistic ethics that it's surprising that Kurtz hasn't noticed it before. But at least he has now.

Because this kind of flagrant and standard-MO violation of basic standards really gets to the matter of a news organization's accuracy and truthfulness. And when it's this common a behavior, it makes clear that the organization is not a serious news organization but a propaganda outlet.

One would hope that, eventually, Kurtz would figure that out too.

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