Remember when Fox News vice president and Washington managing editor Bill Sammon appeared on the network in October 2008 and said Barack Obama's comments to Joe the Plumber about "spreading the wealth around" were "tantamount to socialism"? Sure you do.
As it turns out, Sammon didn't really believe that. He admitted as much on a 2009 cruise sponsored by conservative Hillsdale College, saying his comments were just "mischievous speculation" about a "premise that privately [he] found rather far-fetched." Media Matters has just nowtracked down an audio recording of his remarks.
The revelation raises questions about what elses Sammon has said and written that he privately believes to be nonsense. There's no shortage of contenders.
Sammon's quickie history of the 2000 Florida recount hits stores. At the time, the title seemed unambiguous--At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried To Steal The Election.
Publishes Strategery, a glowing account of George W. Bush's first five years in office. In his author's note, Sammon says he wrote the book to show the ways Bush "consistently--though often without credit--defeat[ed] terrorists, outwit[ted] Democrats, and confound[ed] the mainstream media."
Sammon couldn't get enough socialism this month. He raised the issue again a week before election day, shooting off an email with the particularly unwieldy subject line "fyi: Obama's references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists in his autobiography, 'Dreams from My Father.' Plus a couple of his many self-described 'racial obsessions'..."
Sammon declares war on the public option (the phrase, not the policy), instructing colleagues to call it "'government-run health insurance' or, when brevity is a concern, 'government option,' whenever possible." When brevity is not possible, he requests that they "use the qualifier 'so-called,' as in 'the so-called public option.'"
In an email obtained by Media Matters, Sammon instructs his bureau's on-air personalities to "refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question." Not because of politics, but because of professional ethics. "It is not our place as journalists to assert such notions as facts," he explained, "especially as this debate intensifies."
Appears on Fox News Sunday, where he tells Chris Wallace that "the mainstream media hates the tea party movement almost as much as it hates Sarah Palin." Why is that? "Because both are a threat."
Following Obama's remarks on violence in the Middle East, Sammon sends staffers an email noting that a "cursory check of Obama's 6,000-word speech to the Muslim world did not turn up the words "terror," "terrorist" or "terrorism."" This may be true, but as Media Matters points out, Obama was probably talking about terrorists when he cited "violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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