Fox News Lies About Census Coverage

When Barack Obama nominated Republican Senator Judd Gregg to be Commerce Secretary, there was a well deserved outcry from Democrats and minority advocates. This is a man who twice voted to eliminate the cabinet position he now hopes to occupy.

Amongst the responsibilities of the Commerce Secretary is the Bureau of the Census. The prospect of having a far-right Republican running an agency for which he has shown contempt spurred the Obama administration to announce that the Director of the Census would work closely with the White House. Now, that announcement has sparked complaints from Republicans, who accused the President of politicizing the Census.

There are plenty of reasons to regard these accusations with ridicule. First of all, the Census has always been political. Any process that determines the party apportionment in Congress is going to have partisan ramifications. George Bush installed the manager of his presidential campaign, Don Evans, as his Commerce Secretary. Would anyone be foolish enough to assert that that wasn’t political?

Fox News, however, takes hypocrisy to new levels. Bill Sammon, Deputy Managing Editor for Fox, reported today on the move to have the Census be overseen by the White House. Predictably, he demeaned the proposal as a Democratic power grab. Then he went on to brag that only Fox News was reporting this critical story. He specifically said that he had checked for other news reports and found none.

Well, apparently he didn’t check ABC or MSNBC or CNN or the Washington Post or the New York Times.

It’s bad enough that Fox is misreporting this story on a substantive basis; that they fail to provide context or balance by showing what previous administrations have done; and that they load up their broadcast with an ignorance-fueled outrage. Do they also have to demonstrate such deliberately shoddy research skills so that they can pretend to be a lonely clarion for their pseudo-truths?

Watch for this issue to consume more and more airtime at Fox News. After the Sammon report, anchor Martha MacCallum and chief Washington correspondent Jim Angle repeated the boast. They are already running promos on the subject for Bret Baier’s Special Report. This will be Fox’s first official, post-inaugural disinformation campaign. They are now intent on doing to President Obama what they did to candidate Obama with Rev. Wright, Bill Ayres, ACORN, and the rest of their phony smears.

Fox is fortifying their position with sustained attacks from Glenn Beck to Bill O’Reilly to Sean Hannity, in support of their colleagues on the “news” team. Enough of the electorate was wise to the Fox propaganda assault last November to produce an Obama victory. We can only hope that people continue to pay attention and recognize lies when they hear them.