Maybe it was just too easy to assume the worst of the news network most others in the press love to hate. Or perhaps it was deliberate.
Whatever the reason, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) wire service's Wednesday story about reaction to Barack Obama's sort-of State of the Union Speech the previous evening spent four of its last five paragraphs pinning a report harshly critical of various claims in the speech on Fox News.
True, Fox News's web site carried the story ("Fact Check: Obama's Words on Home Aid Ring Hollow"). But it was actually written by the Associated Press's Calvin Woodward and Jim Kuhnhenn. (Yes, the AP actually wrote an Obama-critical story. More on that in a bit.)
Here are the four paragraphs in question from the AFP report, which otherwise lavishes praise on Obama's speech and rips into Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's GOP response performance:
The Fox News network however was critical of the president.
Obama "knows Americans are unhappy that the government could rescue people who bought mansions beyond their means.
"But his assurance Tuesday night that only the deserving will get help rang hollow," read an article on the network's website that disputed many of the president's assertions on economic growth.
Fox also pointed out a mistake: In the speech Obama refers to the United States as "the nation that invented the automobile."
But it was really the AP's report. It wasn't blatantly obvious, but the original source was right there at FoxNews.com:
One version of the article with the Woodward/Kuhnhenn's byline is here.
As to the AP article itself, the good news is that AP pair indeed spent over 1,200 words ripping into no fewer than eight assertions Obama made during his speech They related to housing aid, who invented the autmobile, oil imports, the credibility of government cost savings claims, how supposedly "gutting" regulations led to current economic mess, how his ideas are only proposals (not dictates, as they would appear to be from the tone of his speech, the nation's ability to double its production of "renewable" energy, and the claim (criticized in the past by yours truly at NewsBusters and at BizzyBlog) that his programs will "save or create 3.5 million jobs."
The bad news is that the Woodward/Kuhnhenn's AP report wasn't carried widely. A 1:00 PM ET Google News Search using the article's third sentence came back with 97 results -- certainly not big numbers, compared to the over 8,500 results that came back in a Google News search on "Obama speech" (not in quotes) for February 24-25. Further, it's not at all clear how many of those web results made into the print editions of subscribing newspapers included in those results.
I suppose we can speculate all day as to why AP's outlets largely ignored the pair's story. One possibility is that sugary-sweet odes to the speech offered up hours before Obama even uttered a word by the likes of AP's Jennifer Loven (noted yesterday at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) crowded out later, longer, and more sober items like the one from Woodward/Kuhnhenn.
Regardless, the end result is that AP will be able to say, "See, see, we criticized the president," in a story that, compared to others on the same topic, didn't gain much currency.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.