Paranoid Much? Robert Reich Imagines that Fox News Was Around in 1994

RobertReich2009Robert Reich must have nightmares about Fox News. Shoot, he must have triple locks on his doors and sleep under his bed out of fear that Roger Ailes will come and take him away.

In a Monday column at Salon.com ("Is the President Panicking?"), Reich excoriated President Obama's proposed discretionary spending "freeze" -- a "freeze" that NewsBuster Julia Seymour noted fails to offset the spending proposals Obama brought up in his State of the Union speech -- for "invok(ing) memories of (Bill) Clinton's shift to the right in 1994," especially because "it could doom the recovery."

That was absurd enough, but in the process of recounting his fevered view of 1990s history, Bill Clinton's former Secretary of Labor threw in this whopper, revealing that for Reich, as Buffalo Springfield told us so many years ago in their 1960s hit song "For What It's Worth," paranoia really does strike deep:

In December 1994, Bill Clinton proposed a so-called middle-class bill of rights including more tax credits for families with children, expanded retirement accounts, and tax-deductible college tuition. Clinton had lost his battle for healthcare reform. Even worse, by that time the Dems had lost the House and Senate. Washington was riding a huge anti-incumbent wave. Right-wing populists were the ascendancy, with Newt Gingrich and Fox News leading the charge. Bill Clinton thought it desperately important to assure Americans he was on their side.

There's one "little" problem:

Fox News Channel's first day on the air was October 7, 1996.

Salon has since corrected Reich's falsehood.

Evidence of Reich's original statement is here, here, and here (see Reply 20). For posterity, I have saved a graphic of the aforementioned paragraph here.

Mary Katharine Ham at the Weekly Standard calls it one of the "Great moments in Salon corrections."

Reich obviously doesn't remember this moment from a Bill Clinton press conference in 1996, as recalled by Carl M. Cannon at Politics Daily:

Interestingly, although he had once lost his temper at Hume in a Rose Garden press conference, President Clinton made a point of saying he thought Hume's coverage was, well, fair and balanced. This happened on Dec. 13, 1996 at Hume's farewell White House news conference for ABC News (before moving to Fox -- Ed.) when Clinton surprised us all by suddenly saying, "Brit, let me say before you leave, I know this is your last White House press conference ... but over the last several years, I think all of us think you have done an extraordinary, professional job under Republican and Democratic administrations alike, and we will miss you. And we wish you well, and congratulations on your new position."
My, how things have changed. Instead of having its job-changing correspondent praised for his coverage, Fox gets blamed for stuff it allegedly did when it wasn't even around.

Bob Reich's paranoia has a softer conservative counterpart: Many of us have occasional nightmares about Reich ever again gaining executive authority inside the government.

I daresay that if a conservative suffered from a similar paranoid memory lapse we'd be hearing a lot more about it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.