Liberal watchdog group says Fox News Channel misrepresented FDR





On the February 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, while criticizing President Obama for saying that the economy is currently doing poorly, co-host Steve Doocy purported to contrast what Obama has said with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous statement that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." In fact, in the very speech in which Roosevelt made that remark, he noted the poor state of the economy at the time. After co-host Brian Kilmeade asserted, "I just don't understand the wisdom of doing this as the leader of the free world, running down the economy, and then wondering why we don't have consumer confidence," Doocy responded, "I'll tell you the impact is if you are worried about losing your job or you have lost your job, or you're having trouble making your house payments, you hear the president of the United States talk about stuff like that, it scares you a little bit." Doocy later said: "[L]ook back at FDR: 'We have nothing to fear but fear itself.' And what do we have now? It's kind of like, man, it's bad. It's bad."

In fact, in his March 1933 inaugural address, moments after saying "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," Roosevelt said: "In such a spirit on my part and on yours, we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone." Roosevelt later added: "Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."

From Roosevelt's March 4, 1933, inaugural address:

ROOSEVELT: I am certain that on this day, my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the presidency, I will address them with a candor and a decision, which the present situation of our people impel. This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life, a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people in peril, which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours, we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunk to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; and the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

From the February 5 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: But the other thing is, every time we put on anything from the White House or from Capitol Hill, they're always saying it's catastrophic consequences. Things are worse.

DOOCY: Bad.

KILMEADE: That this is the worst economy in all of our lifetimes -- Barack Obama was quoted as saying.

DOOCY: Right.

KILMEADE: I just don't understand the wisdom of doing this as the leader of the free world, running down the economy, and then wondering why we don't have consumer confidence.

DOOCY: I'll tell you the impact is if you are worried about losing your job or you have lost your job, or you're having trouble making your house payments, you hear the president of the United States talk about stuff like that, it scares you a little bit.

KILMEADE: How about this? If you own a deli and you say, well, things are only going to get worse, I'm going to let those two people go. In restaurants --

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): How about looking at the political reason why he's saying that, though?

KILMEADE: But I just don't think that -- I know, but --

CARLSON: The political reason is because if there's any uptick at all, then it makes his administration look like they've done a fabulous job in fixing it. You know, by all accounts, the administration is not the only people saying that this is dire straits. Donald Trump says he's never seen it like this before. I know what you're saying. From a PR point of view --

KILMEADE: Yeah.

CARLSON: -- he shouldn't be advocating it on a daily basis, but I think they're doing it so that the minute that it improves at all, let's hope it does, then they can say --

DOOCY: Well --

CARLSON: -- that they were responsible for the improvement.

DOOCY: And look back at FDR: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." And what do we have now? It's kind of like, man, it's bad. It's bad.


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Randll Reese Besch - 2/13/2009

So it behooves us to listen and dissect what they say and correct their errors of omission and commission. Millions watch them and too many believe what they say and regurgitate it and disseminate it all over till it is accepted as a truism. That is why they shouldn't be ignored by anyone.


Alonzo Hamby - 2/6/2009

The watchdogs are barking!

At a couple of early morning Fox news chatterers??!!

There must be something better to do with one's life.

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