Since George W. Bush released his memoir "Decision Points," familiar cries from the left have surfaced once again claiming that the Fox News Channel was - and remains - in the tank for the former president.
MSNBC talker Rachel Maddow whined about "Fox News's water-carrying for the Bush Administration" during her interview with Jon Stewart last week. She also claimed that Fox "never criticized George W. Bush for anything. Even when he was doing things that were sort of not conservative. They never criticized him."
Unfortunately for Maddow and the legions of like-minded Fox haters making similar claims, the meme is patently false.
Johnny Dollar, whose weekly roundup of the Fox haters is always a must-read, gathered a long - though certainly not exhaustive - list of criticisms of President Bush by Fox personalities during his eight years in office:
Yesterday [Bush] admitted to breaking the law, because authorizing wiretaps without search warrants is against the criminal law. Judge Andrew Napolitano, FNC Senior Judicial Analyst
I've been a proponent of using 50,000 Guard to back up the Border Patrol. The administration won't even try it. Bill O’Reilly
And it turns out that we had false information. Condoleeza Rice I think said an untruth a number of times, saying the ones Iraq has can only be used for that. So you want to talk about truth? I think this administration has a big problem with the truth.Alan Colmes
The leadership [of President Bush] is in question. Former FEMA head Michael Brown has basically defended his agency's dismal performance in the days after Katrina. And now we have a ballooning gas price situation that is hurting millions of Americans. Bill O’Reilly
I, for the life of me, considering this is our No. 1 vulnerability, why would the president do this? Is it for votes? Sean Hannity
This new Patriot Act, consistent with the old one, would allow the FBI to bypass the constitution. Wrong, dangerous, and obviously unconstitutional. Judge Andrew Napolitano
I’m going to be against George Bush for the next four years.... I don’t agree with him. It’s in the democracy. I’ve got a right not to agree with the son of a--the guy. Bob Beckel, FNC Conributor
Mr. Bush has two choices. He can explain the Kay report and admit the mistakes made. Or he can ignore the issue, hoping Americans will ignore it come next November. Bill O’Reilly
FEMA should stop watching TV and get housing and emergency plans together. And if they have any extra time they should come on TV and explain what they're doing. Are we really paying federal bureaucrats to watch TV and complain? John Gibson
The Clinton administration decided they'd try to do something about it, then they threw up their hands and said we can't. The Bush administration the same thing. Tony Snow
Polls say that 70 percent of Americans want the borders tightened up. The Bush administration hasn't done it. Bill O’Reilly
Like Mr. Clinton, President Bush didn't do much to protect us. Yes, they both say we should develop alternative fuel, but little concrete action has been taken. Bill O’Reilly
And let me show you something that President Bush, a commercial that President Bush ran during his last campaign for president.... He ran a commercial using a little girl who lost her mother during 9-11 and used that and that helped sell him to the American people. Alan Colmes
The government’s appetite for [NSA] spying on Americans is so voracious it must be restrained. This is not East Germany. Judge Andrew Napolitano
Pat Tillman was given the third highest medal this country gives for heroism, the silver star....somebody should go to jail for lying. Col David Hunt, FNC Military Analyst
For the life of me, I can't figure out why President Bush isn't more proactive on the environment. ... Today we find out that the White House tried to sanitize a government study on global warming. Instead of including both points of view on the issue, the Bush people have shaded the report to the side that sees warming as bogus. Bill O’Reilly
How the hell did this [Gitmo] happen? I mean, how did we veer so far from the constitution for so long? Shepard Smith
Of course, as Dollar notes, there is a perfectly logical explanation for the wide chasm between Maddow's accusations and reality: by her own admission, she never watches - and has never really watched - Fox News:
I know very little about media. I don’t have a television. I have never watched more than three consecutive minutes of Fox News ever, ever. I’ve never even seen a single segment of a single Fox News program. So I don’t know all that much about what they do.
So there is a simple explanation for Maddow's completely false characterization of Fox's coverage of the Bush administration: she doesn't actually know anything about it, because she never actually watched it.
And yet, despite Maddow's admitted ignorance as a media critic, she now feels comfortable not only criticizing Fox's coverage, but completely mischaracterizing it, and throwing around absolutes like "never" to boot.
Sadly, this seems characteristic of much of the media's lazy criticism of Fox. Few Fox haters actually watch the channel, which is why their critiques are usually so wildly off base.