In late 2008, one of Fox News’ top editors escalated his efforts to have the network portray then-Senator Barack Obama as a socialist and an anti-white racist during the waning days of the presidential election.
On October 27, 2008, then news-editor Bill Sammon emailed colleagues with references in Obama’s first book Dreams From My Father to socialism, Marxism and Obama’s past relationship with a white woman.
That email, obtained by Media Matters, was subject-lined “fyi: Obama’s references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists in his autobiography, ‘Dreams from My Father.’ Plus a couple of his many self-described ‘racial obsessions’…”
This wasn’t a new obsession for Sammon, but he did apparently succeed at injecting this supposed controversy into Fox’s news programming. Indeed, an hour and a half after he sent his email, he appeared on Live Desk to discuss the quotes he highlighted in his email.
“If you read the autobiography of Barack Obama as I have done, his first autobiography, it’s very telling,” Sammon said. “He talks about these words that are being tossed around now. Socialism, liberalism, and Marxism came up in this Biden interview with this TV anchor, and Barack Obama talks about these terms in his books. And he was drawn to Marxists, and he was drawn to liberals, and he was drawn to socialists by his own admission as a young man.”
Host Martha MacCallum welcomed the innuendo citing the fact that “there’s been so much discussion about socialism, and Marxism.”
You can read Sammon’s entire email here.
Meanwhile, Media Matters is adding this to their Fox file. “Bill Sammon’s October email reads like a piece of opposition research from the McCain campaign,” said Ari Rabin-Havt, Executive Vice President at Media Matters for America. “The network clearly embraced this brand of ‘journalism.’ Sammon was promoted to Washington managing editor a mere four months later.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at email@example.com.