The Fox News Channel has been under fire today for a four-minute video sharply critical of President Obama that the network produced and aired during its morning news program "Fox & Friends."
The video - titled "Four Years of Hope and Change" - closely resembles a campaign attack ad, complete with ominous, dramatic music and use of sound bites and statistics to paint a critical picture of Obama's handling of the economy. The opening slide, declaring "Fox & Friends Presents," suggests the company took responsibility for the editorial content.
Co-host Gretchen Carlson introduced the package this way: "Let's talk a little bit about what the campaign slogan used to be for President Obama. Remember it used to be 'Hope and Change.' The President says he's still using that slogan in the way which he hopes to get four more years. So we decided to take a look back at the president's first term to see if it lived up to hope and change."
At the end of the piece, co-host Steve Doocy applauded producer Chris White for putting it together. "He's been in a small editing room the last couple of weeks reliving the last four years," Doocy said.
You can watch it HERE.
While Fox has right-leaning opinion talk programs, the company has maintained that its news operations - including "Fox & Friends" - are nonpartisan and "fair and balanced."
Voices on the right, left and middle have been raising concerns about the video all day.
Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey of Hot Air said he supports the message in the video but asked, "Should a news organization produce and publish attack ads like this?"
"I know the initial response will be that other news organizations offer biased perspectives and hagiographies of Obama that go well beyond a single video … and that response is entirely valid. However, we usually criticize that kind of behavior with other news organizations, too," he wrote. "If anyone wanted to look for evidence that the overall Fox News organization intends to campaign against Obama rather than cover the campaign, this video would be difficult to refute as evidence for that claim."
David Zurawik, a media critic with The Baltimore Sun, called the video a "shamelessly political" move.
"As the guy who challenged the Obama administration two years when it tried to deny Fox News access to interviews and other opportunities offered to the media on the grounds that Fox was not a legitimate news operation, I have to tell you even I am shocked by how blatantly Fox is throwing off any pretense of being a journalistic entity with videos like this," Zurawik wrote. "Don't be fooled by Bret Baier's Boy Scout smile or all the talk about how some shows are news and some are opinion on the channel. Any news organization that puts up this kind of video is rotten to the core."
Fox News later issued a statement through executive vice president for programming Bill Shine, obtained by TVNewswer, apparently disapproving of the video.
"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," Shine said. "This has been addressed with the show's producers."
The video was first flagged by the liberal media watchdog Media Matters for America, which has a record of being highly critical of Fox News.