A seemingly spontaneous response concerning the Obama campaign canceling an appearance on a local news station was actually scripted by Fox News' producers, internal documents obtained by Media Matters show.


"Isn't that what they do in socialist countries?" Fox News host Steven Doocy asked right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin on a segment of Fox & Friends from October 27, 2008.

He was responding to news that Jill Biden would not be appearing on WFTV after the station's anchor Barbara West asked Joe Biden, "How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?"

"There's a chill wind blowing, and I think that this does signal what the future of the White House press corps would be under an Obama-Biden administration," Malkin said on Fox & Friends. "How dare Barbara West of WFTV confront Joe Biden with some basic, simple questions that anyone who wasn't totally in the tank for Obama would feel comfortable asking?"

"Barbara West out in Orlando, she asks some hard questions, and the station gets shut down," Doocy remarked. "You know, your comment about a chill is perhaps accurate because people will think twice before they ask something like that. But isn't that what they do in socialist countries where, you know, 'I don't like that, you're done?'"

The evening before the Fox News segment aired, Fox producer Elizabeth Fanning sent an email to staffers at the network, listing five questions: "Is this a preview of things to come? Will the White House press room be like this? Can you not ask tough questions? Will they suppress the freedom of the press? Isn't this what happens in communist countries?"

In another e-mail obtained by Media Matters, Fox News Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon told his staff to downplay the importance of climate science that showed the world was getting warmer.

Additional emails showed that Sammon asked his news department to refer to the public option as the "government run option" because polls showed the phrase "government option" was opposed by the public.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a poll gauging public trust in TV news found that PBS was the most trusted name in news, while trust in Fox News dropped significantly.

Furthermore, a study published in early Demember 2010 found that people who had the most exposure to Fox News were more likely to believe falsehoods and rumors about national and world affairs when compared to those who paid attention to other news outlets.

This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast October 27, 2008 (via Media Matters.)