Fox News Anchors Still Can't Read Charts

Fox News fanned the flames of resentment at President Obama's fundraising schedule by showing a devastating chart on presidential fundraisers. Unfortunately, it was only devastating to Fox News' chart-reading credentials.
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Fox News fanned the flames of resentment at President Obama's fundraising schedule by showing a devastating chart on presidential fundraisers. Unfortunately, it was only devastating to Fox News' chart-reading credentials.
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President Obama is taking heat from the right over his decision to stick to his fundraising schedule as dueling world crises unfolded last week, and Fox News fanned the flames over the weekend by showing a devastating chart on presidential fundraisers. On Thursday, as the world learned of the shootdown of Maylasia Airlines Flight 17 and the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Obama continued his planned swing through Delaware and New York, while also working with world leaders and the U.S. government on both issues. That trip included several fundraisers, which didn't sit well with Fox News' weekend anchors, or contributor Guy Benson. Benson explained how sometimes conservatives "go overboard" with this sort of criticism, but was shocked, just shocked, when Obama continued "having lunch with a burger" on Thursday after the airliner was shot down. He pointed out that to really get a sense of this White House's priorities, you have to "look at the totality" of fundraisers that the President does.

He also added that "we're intelligent and sophisticated enough here in America" to understand the President's role in a crisis, "and we're not going to freak out about that."

A little later in the segment, Benson and company demonstrated that sophistication and intelligence by assessing the totality of the President's fundraising activities, based on the following onscreen chart:

chart

Wow, so this chart clearly shows that while Bill Clinton is the medically dangerous Viagra boner of fundraising, President Obama is slightly ahead of George W. Bush. Given the escalation of the super PAC era under our past two presidents, it's actually remarkable that neither of them came close to eclipsing Clinton.

Now, check out how this chart gets described in Fox World, while the graphic is still on the screen:

"He's doing a lot more of this than the other presidents, and I guess the priority is trying to -- well, keep the White House."

As ridiculous as this is, at least they got the actual chart right this time, they just don't know how to read it.

The underlying criticism is a slightly different matter, though, because if we're being honest, conservatives will probably point out that liberals would have jumped all over George W. Bush under these same circumstances, and they are probably right about that. The difference (well, one of the man differences) is that for most of the Bush presidency, while liberals were all alone in jumping all over President Bush, the mainstream media was busy firing them, and giving Bush a years-long pass in the name of patriotism.

Under Obama, though, it is the mainstream media that leads the way. The basic script for this Fox segment came, not from some internet outhouse like Gateway Pundit, but from The New York Times:

As smoke billowed from the downed Malaysian jetliner in the fields of eastern Ukraine on Thursday, President Obama pressed ahead with his schedule: a cheeseburger with fries at the Charcoal Pit in Delaware, a speech about infrastructure and two splashy fund-raisers in New York City.

The potential for jarring split-screen imagery was clear. Reports of charred bodies and a ground-to-air missile attack from Eastern Europe dominated television screens while photographers snapped pictures of a grinning Mr. Obama holding a toddler at the restaurant. The presidential motorcade was later filmed pulling up to Trump Place Apartments, the Riverside Avenue venue for his first fund-raiser.

And yet, White House aides said no consideration was given to abandoning the president’s long-planned schedule, even during the hourlong flight from Delaware to New York, when word suddenly arrived that Israel had begun a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, providing the day’s second international challenge.

Oh, shit, there's that cheeseburger again! Why, oh why, didn't Obama spit that thing all over the place, slap some people, and start bombing something? Can we get him a flight suit?

It's one thing for a right-wing outfit like Fox News to (blurrily) focus on this kind of garbage, but when a mainstream outlet that completely abdicated its responsibility and abetted this country's march to a disastrous war does it, that's truly Foxed-up.