Fox & Friends aired its own four-minute attack ad against President Obama that many have said could have been produced by the Republican National Committee with its blatant partisanship, quick cuts, and ominous disaster movie music. But the Fox News-produced video is actually a cartoon version of the series of ads released by Mitt Romney campaign in recent weeks titled "Broken Promises." Perhaps the show thought Romney's ads were too subtle for their viewers? Or maybe they thought Romney's ads were too boring? Nevertheless, they have the same theme, content, and style. Fox just kicked it up a notch, adding cheesier graphics, even more disastrous-sounding disaster movie music, and an absurd shot of a bald eagle (screenshot at left), which seems pulled straight from a Stephen Colbert parody.
It's not like Fox had no other material to work with. There are a lot of anti-Obama themes out there ripe for stealing. There's Karl Rove's Super PAC ad about Obama being too "cool," for example, or There's the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity ad, accusing Obama of blocking the Keystone XL pipeline for no good reason. But Fox looks like it took the Romney "Broken Promises" ads as a model, as they have a lot in common.
The Fox ad opens showing happier days: adoring fans of Obama in 2008. The Romney ad opens showing happier days: the sounds of wild cheers and a 2008 dateline.
The Fox ad then shows inspiring Obama speeches in which he promises to cut the debt. The Romney ad shows inspiring Obama speeches in which he promises to cut the debt.
Then with no narrator and just ominous music the Fox ad shows some statistics about how the debt has grown under Obama. In the Romney ad titled "Broken Promises: Spending," ominous music but no editor plays over statistics showing how the debt has grown under Obama.
The Fox ad gives unemployment the same treatment. Just as a separate Romney ad, titled "Broken Promises: Jobs and the Economy," does the same.
Even conservative sites like Hot Air though Fox News went too far, and the cable news network pulled the video from its website, despite, as the Huffington Post's Jack Mirkinson points out, Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy telling viewers they could rewatch the spot online. It was later reposted, minus the friendly introduction from Doocy and co-host Gretchen Carlson. Fox's top executives do not want to be associated with it. Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan sent Business Insider a statement from Bill Shine, the executive vice president of programming. It said:
"The package that aired on Fox & Friends was created by an associate producer and was not authorized at the senior executive level of the network. This has been addressed with the show’s producers."
The New York Times' Brian Stelter reports that as for Fox News chief Roger Ailes, a spokesman told him, "Roger was not aware of the video." Stelter notes:
In past interviews, current and former Fox employees have described Mr. Ailes as keenly interested in the content of Fox & Friends, which has an agenda-setting function since it starts off the network’s day of programming. The people said Mr. Ailes regularly contributed talking points and phoned in ideas for the show, sometimes when it was on the air between 6 and 9 a.m. on weekdays.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.