President Obama held a candid, face-to-face conversation with House Republicans today at their annual retreat in Baltimore. After Obama gave his remarks, he had to answer tough questions from Republican lawmakers about health care, the budget, taxes, and other issues. Although the riveting exchange lasted over an hour, both CNN and MSNBC aired the entire event.
However, at 1:11 p.m. ET — when there was still 20 minutes left to go — Fox News decided to cut away and begin its commentary. Anchor Trace Gallagher’s immediate reaction was that Obama was being too “combative” and “lecturing” — like he was at his State of the Union address. Correspondent Bret Baier agreed, saying there was “a little bit of that,” but conceded that there was a “decent…give-and-take on the specifics.” Watch it:
Unsurprisingly, Fox is echoing a Republican talking point. Several Republicans complained that Obama was lecturing them in his State of the Union speech:
– “I felt like he was admonishing Congress and certainly lecturing Republicans, accusing us of being an obstructionist party, when what it is we’re about is trying to focus on the issue, which is control the spending and let’s go about creating an environment for jobs.” — House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA)
– “The address was ‘more of a lecture, I thought, in tone,’ [Cornyn] said, but Obama ‘gives a great speech.’” — Rep. John Cornyn (R-TX)
– “In a word, ‘lecture’ [is what I thought of Obama's State of the Union speech]. I think there was quite a bit of lecturing, not leading in that, as opposed to Governor McDonnell’s follow-up comments, quite inspiring his connection with the people. He absolutely gets it, he understands government’s appropriate role.” — Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, 1/27/10, Fox News
Not only did Fox cut away from the Obama-GOP exchange, but the network then brought on Rep. Peter King (R-NY) — who was still in New York “because of the whole 9/11 controversy with the trials” — about 10 minutes later to start commenting on Obama’s performance. A look at what was happening on all the networks at that time: