Truthsquad on Cable News
Fox News "never criticized George W. Bush for anything."
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC on bias in media
Source: MSNBC

Editor Findings

  • Truthsquadeditoricon_thumb_thumb
    False
    Jon Mitchell
    On November 11th, 2010, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow interviewed Comedy Central's Jon Stewart. They discussed the state of cable news, focusing heavily on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC's rival and the frequent subject of Stewart's satire and criticism. The interview was an open conversation, with both Maddow and Stewart offering personal views. At one point, Maddow leveled this criticism at her network's chief competitor:
    [Fox News] never criticized George W. Bush for anything, even when he was doing things that were sort of not conservative. They never criticized him.
    We find this claim to be false. It demonstrates the stridence, bombast, and essentialism that characterizes cable news today, ironically the subject of Maddow and Stewart's conversation. With this claim, Maddow expresses the sentiment that Fox News is a biased organization, a defensible sentiment, but she does so at the expense of the facts. In an effort to call out cable news personalities and implore them to change their tone, we are calling this statement false, and the majority of Truthsquad participants agree.

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Community Findings

Mostly False (1.8)
Show:
  • Jon Mitchell
  • Derek Hawkins
    Derek Hawkins
    False
    While Fox's praise and defense Bush administration policy was by and large unflagging, to say that the network never criticized the former president is ridiculous. Fox had its share of resident "liberals" to maintain the illusion of balance in its programming, and I remember conservative anchors taking issue with a range of the administration's apparent flaws, among them the failure to prosecute war more aggressively. They might not have been the criticisms Maddow wanted, but they were there. She could have used her platform on MSNBC to make a more intelligent point: that any criticism Fox laid on the Bush administration was outweighed by the network's cheerleading for Bush's domestic and international agendas.
  • David Fox
    David Fox
    False
  • Fabrice Florin
    Fabrice Florin
    False
    That's quite a bold statement. Both Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann at MSNBC have made the same exaggerated claim about Fox News. But the factual evidence we have collected so far doesn't support this assertion. I don't mean to condone opinion news coverage on Fox News, which is often flawed and favors conservative viewpoints, but this claim strikes me as clearly false, based on the evidence at hand.
  • Joey Baker
    Joey Baker
    False
  • Gin Ferrara
    Gin Ferrara
    False
    Never is a word that should not be used without serious documentation, just like "Always."
  • Subramanya Sastry
    Subramanya Sastry
    False
    This got to be false. Even an outlet like Fox News has to maintain some appearance of not being completely biased, and I would be really surprised if this quote turned out to be true.
  • Dale Penn
    Dale Penn
    False
  • Barry Grossheim
    Barry Grossheim
    Not Sure
    I was very inclined to say True but honestly can't. Fox may have criticized something Bush did in his eight years. But the fact that I can't think of any says volumes.
  • Fred Gatlin
    Fred Gatlin
    True
    Since the available answers are true or false or not sure. I must say this is closer to true by far than false. This kind of question is shades of grey
  • Linda Brayton
    Linda Brayton
    False
    When I heard her say this on her show, I didn't take her literally, but it did occur to me that some would and that this could and would be turned into a "gotcha." Wish she'd said "just about never" instead. In any case, FOX is far from unbiased, and this was pretty obviously the point she was making.
  • Scott Rosenberg
    Scott Rosenberg
    False
  • Todd Cass
    Todd Cass
    False
    On the face of it the statement is false, and we only need one of those 18 or more counter examples to prove it. That said, Maddow was in an uncut, unscripted conversation with Jon Stewart, facing 90 degrees from the camera, making a point about the partisan nature of Fox News, and perhaps engaging in some rhetorical exaggeration to illustrate her point in a volley to Stewart. So perhaps though an interesting exercise, this isn't the best target of analysis.
  • Peggy Kruse
    Peggy Kruse
    False
  • Bob Herrschaft
    Bob Herrschaft
    False
  • Shawn Kerry Inlow
    Shawn Kerry Inlow
    False
  • Richard Riehl
    Richard Riehl
    Not Sure
  • Alan Horn
    Alan Horn
    False
  • Mike Carlson
    Mike Carlson
    False
    This is too broad a statement to be true; especially with the pet goat, Katrina, and Failure to sell off Social Security fiascos.
  • Sherwin Steffin
    Sherwin Steffin
    False
  • Lynn Caporale
    Lynn Caporale
    False
    Of course it is false as stated above but it is a silly exercise. Certainly fact checkers will find at least one case of someone at some time on Fox saying something critical of Bush. But that clearly is not the point. By saying "Fox News" my guess is that Maddow meant the Fox organization. This requires us to take a step beyond regular individual fact checking because she is implying that the organization itself has a point of view that is reflected in what happens on air. SO, when seen from that perspective, I believe the quote actually is true. In other words, can anyone find a sustained Fox-News type campaign (as is described e.g. in OutFoxed) against Bush. If you compare the sustained $200 million/day trip to India echo chamber, for example, on the one hand, a more informative exercise would be whether you can you find a comparable several days of anti-Bush talking points. Say, when we failed to find WMDs? When a secret agent involved in anti-nuclear proliferation intelligence was outed by the White House? This would be a more useful fact checking exercise: compare the amount of air time spent on "death panels" or "$200 million/day trip" and see if we can find a comparable blanket stretch of anti-Bush coverage.
  • Carlos R. Candelaria
    Carlos R. Candelaria
    False
    While this seems to the common belief, It is alas no so.
  • Joel Kulenkamp
    Joel Kulenkamp
    True
  • Mark Pettit
    Mark Pettit
    False
  • Charles Aylworth
    Charles Aylworth
    True
    An over-generalization to be sure, but looking at the big picture, more true than false.
  • Michael Shaver
    Michael Shaver
    False
    Any time you talk in absolutes you are opening yourself up to a world of hurt. What I think will be more interesting is how she handles the reactions from the quote.
  • Lynn R. Willis
    Lynn R. Willis
    True
  • Gerard Barberi
    Gerard Barberi
    False
  • Samuel W.  Velsor IV
    Samuel W. Velsor IV
    True
    If they did it was polite and very low key.
  • Melva Hackney
    Melva Hackney
    True
    True, if you don't count their "poo-pooing' and making up excuses for his stupidity and illegal acts.
  • Priscilla L. Davis
    Priscilla L. Davis
    False
    Rachel's statement was false. But her intent when making it was to show contrast between the two networks. The fact that MSNBC brings is more balanced than Fox News.
  • Anthony E. Laus
    Anthony E. Laus
    False
  • Patrick McGuire
    Patrick McGuire
    False
  • Harry Lisabeth
    Harry Lisabeth
    False
  • Naomi Isler
    Naomi Isler
    Not Sure
  • Robin Osborne McMullen
    Robin Osborne McMullen
    False
    When I see words like "always" and "never" I am much less likely to believe the assertion.
  • Roland F. Hirsch
    Roland F. Hirsch
    False
    Fox News reporters and opinion analysts criticized President Bush almost every day of his administration, and members of his cabinet were criticized many times daily on Fox News.
  • Lucy Sells
    Lucy Sells
    False
  • Lucas Graves
    Lucas Graves
    False
  • Floss Shahbegian
    Floss Shahbegian
    True
  • Scott Ruecker
    Scott Ruecker
    Not Sure
  • Cecilia Akuffo
    Cecilia Akuffo
    False
  • Travis Plummer
    Travis Plummer
    False
  • Frank Whitman
    Frank Whitman
    False
    II THINK THEY ONCE SAID HE WASN'T CONSERVATIVE ENOUGHT
  • Jeff Harris
    Jeff Harris
    False
    This probably technically false. I am sure FOX NEWS slipped up once and while and said something that could have been construed as negative about George Bush.And Hands were slapped.It is TRUE in spirit They don't report the news anyway,they just make it up. It is not opinionated news its propaganda. Just like the Soviets. It should be FOX THE NEWS THAT RUPERT MURDOCH WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE.
  • Edward Craig
    Edward Craig
    True
    Fox News may not deviate from Murdoch doctrine.
  • Linda M Shoop
    Linda M Shoop
    False
    near the end they were critical of his economic policy but never his war policy
  • Pete Bollini
    Pete Bollini
    False
  • J H Bud Paulson
    J H Bud Paulson
    False
  • Colleen E Bushey
    Colleen E Bushey
    False
  • Hector Pineda
    Hector Pineda
    False
  • William Nisen
    William Nisen
    True
  • Eric King
    Eric King
    False
  • David Caddell
    David Caddell
    False
    but... aren't we really missing some context?
  • Chris Widgren
    Chris Widgren
    Not Sure
  • Robert A Gagnon
    Robert A Gagnon
    Not Sure
    It seems impossible that they "never criticized GWB for anything"!
  • Mary Murray
    Mary Murray
    False
  • Chris Strosser
    Chris Strosser
    True
  • Terri Scrivens Kline
    Terri Scrivens Kline
    True
    Maddow is usually right.
  • Tim Waters
    Tim Waters
    False
  • George K McHugh Sr
    George K McHugh Sr
    True
    Fox News is not a legitimate journalistic enterprise. Their main shows are exrremely biased. Beck and O'Reilly are not journalists they are perfromers who will say anything without checking the facts. The 200 mikkion a day cost of our Presidents trip to Asia is a good example of their lack of truthfulness.
  • Deb Duncan
    Deb Duncan
    False
    They were definitely critical of Bush when he became a liability for the Republicans, and they were all distancing themselves from him. And? She should know better than to say "never."
  • Fred McAteer
    Fred McAteer
    False
  • William Lovsmith
    William Lovsmith
    True
    I find 90% of 'Fox News', a despicable & extremely closed-minded, notoriously negatively & hazardly manipulative, not-very-nice news organization, that quite apparentlyn does not have much in regards to anything but their own pockets & to hell with the rest of the world. A mindset, that's been perpetuated decades ago, through greed, & power-hungry empires of sick & sour attitudes of sadness.
  • George Lowry
    George Lowry
    False
  • Herb Gart
    Herb Gart
    False
    She is generally right, but there are exceptions. I am objecting to the word "never"
  • deb
    deb
    False
  • Robert Maegerlein
    Robert Maegerlein
    False
  • Seth Wilpan
    Seth Wilpan
    False
  • Russ Soucy
    Russ Soucy
    False
    criticizede on a fair and no spin by O'rilie and Hannity check fox archives.
  • Jim Britt
    Jim Britt
    True
  • Matthew Nadler
    Matthew Nadler
    Not Sure
  • David Harlow
    David Harlow
    False
  • Felix Bertelsen
    Felix Bertelsen
    False
  • Brooke Finley
    Brooke Finley
    True
  • Sunil R
    Sunil R
    Not Sure
  • Decia Avery
    Decia Avery
    False
  • karl mcculley
    karl mcculley
    False
    i personally have heard criticismn
  • Terry Christensen
    Terry Christensen
    Not Sure
  • Tom McMurray
    Tom McMurray
    False
    Whenever we use words such as "never" or "always" or everybody," somebody needs to check us.....
  • Tavison
    Tavison
    True
    Since this is an interview and the quote is used in conversation, it cannot be held to the same standard as using the quote as a news item. If I say that guy was "flying" down the highway, meaning driving really fast, we wouldn't say I was lying because he did not have a plane. Speaking in absolutes is a problem everyone has. (I couldn't resist)
  • Jim Coons
    Jim Coons
    False
    "Never" and "not for anything" can't possibly be perfectly, categorically true. Certainly, Fox was kinder to Bush than anyone else, but even being relatively friendly, they can't possibly have ignored the absence of WMDs in Iraq, just for one. In that case, simply reporting anything approaching the truth constitutes an implicit criticism of the administration's claims.
  • Harvey Elwood Jr
    Harvey Elwood Jr
    Not Sure
    I admire Rachel Maddow for her work and journalism, however I’m just not completely sure about the facts of this statement. But I really would like to get the information regarding the truth of the matter.
  • Toma Bedolla
    Toma Bedolla
    Not Sure
  • Teila Allmond
    Teila Allmond
    False
  • Ron Denton
    Ron Denton
    False
    This is a silly debate. Yes, Fox leans strongly right and MSNBC leans strongly left. These are both entertainment networks that sometimes broadcast news, but spend much more of their airtime on opinion and "what if." The problem is that those on the left think MSNBC is neutral and those on the right think Fox is neutral.
  • Patrick James Kelly
    Patrick James Kelly
    True
  • John Herbert
    John Herbert
    False
  • Matthew English
    Matthew English
    False
  • Marlene Freeman
    Marlene Freeman
    False
  • Cesar Vivas
    Cesar Vivas
    False
  • Stacy Morrison
    Stacy Morrison
    False
  • Sandra Little Rabinowitz
    Sandra Little Rabinowitz
    False
  • Dan Hoagland
    Dan Hoagland
    Not Sure
  • Emily Altshuler
    Emily Altshuler
    Not Sure
  • Jacques Fortier
    Jacques Fortier
    True
    I do not trust any reporting from Fox nor CNN since they are politically motivated in their reports and news bulletins.
  • Sally Dunford
    Sally Dunford
    False
  • Anna Berlin
    Anna Berlin
    False
  • Karen Wilsey
    Karen Wilsey
    False
  • David Aronchick
    David Aronchick
    False
  • Alan Craig
    Alan Craig
    False
  • Patty Michaels
    Patty Michaels
    False
    "Almost never" would have been true. But, as stated out of context, it's false.
  • Martin Asencio
    Martin Asencio
    Not Sure
  • Ben Chatterton
    Ben Chatterton
    False
  • Isaias Miguel Ortiz
    Isaias Miguel Ortiz
    Not Sure
  • Rhonda Frazier
    Rhonda Frazier
    False
  • Kevin Smith
    Kevin Smith
    False
  • andreas ohland
    andreas ohland
    True
  • Jan Wilson
    Jan Wilson
    True
    Maddow spends a lot of effort checking her sources. If you understand "never" to mean "virtually never" then I think this is true.
  • C. Green
    C. Green
    Not Sure
    I'm not sure that's the point. These cable "news" people are feeding off each other, and our unexamined emotions. Not defining terms, not speaking in specifics, declaring absolutes,and all the rest, allows these corporate partisans to whip up a fuzzy thinking, non-specific, but satisfying rage against whoever they choose. That anger sells.
  • Micah Oliver
    Micah Oliver
    False
    Is it false. Yes. Is Fox News's bias well documented? Yes. In the context of the interview Stewart states: "But Fox News is not partisan. They're really not." Rachel's comment above follows. Based on NewsTrust's own evaluation, Stewart is false. Point, counter point. Which point gets us closer to the truth? I think we also need to distinguish between reporting facts and creative license or stated opinion. How we can do that consistently and effectively, considering how creative humans can be, will be a challenge.
  • Aaron Knott
    Aaron Knott
    Not Sure
  • Carlo Caraluzzo
    Carlo Caraluzzo
    True
  • gil goldstein
    gil goldstein
    True
    Everything that comes out of Fox is only intended to hurt Obama in the 2012 election. I mean everything.
  • Shaun K
    Shaun K
    False
  • Francesca R. Bates
    Francesca R. Bates
    False
  • Jerome Freehill
    Jerome Freehill
    True
  • Felice Bachrach
    Felice Bachrach
    False
  • Leslie A. Boyle
    Leslie A. Boyle
    False
    Never say never
  • Walter Broadnax
    Walter Broadnax
    True
    Faux noise opinion channel has never mounted a sustained attack on any republican, teapartier, or neocon. In context, Rachel is absolutely correect. If you want to nitpick, I'm sure some of the blond bimbos on Faux criticized Bush's tie or suit color; so in that sense there was probably some criticism of Bush.
  • Andrew P. Robinson
    Andrew P. Robinson
    False
  • Karlsson
    Karlsson
    Not Sure
  • Bernie Saunders
    Bernie Saunders
    False
  • Larry Wright
    Larry Wright
    False
  • Geraldine West
    Geraldine West
    True
  • Alexis Rachel
    Alexis Rachel
    False
    Anytime absolutes are used, there is a 99% (or greater) chance that its not true.
  • R L Guthrie
    R L Guthrie
    True
  • Mike Pollitt
    Mike Pollitt
    Not Sure
  • Tanya Lubner
    Tanya Lubner
    False
  • Lawrence H
    Lawrence H
    True
  • Stephen Buckley
    Stephen Buckley
    False
  • MIke Newman
    MIke Newman
    Not Sure
  • Scott Ross
    Scott Ross
    False
  • Robert Modica
    Robert Modica
    True
  • mty
    mty
    False
    as i used to tell my kids all the time when they used absolutes in their statements: "always and never are not reality."
  • Rich Entenman
    Rich Entenman
    Not Sure
  • JoshC
    JoshC
    False
    Taking Rachel's statement out of context in this case discredits the poll. There have been times that Fox newscasters have "criticized" Bush (he should have done this instead of that), but never (yes I am using the "n" word!) in a context of looking for truth and balance. Fox News(sic) made (and makes) its reputation on being the Republican flag bearer. Rachel's comment--in context--is dead on and was used to make a much broader point of ideology and point of view, versus partisanship.
  • Stephen N
    Stephen N
    False
  • Samuel Ebersole
    Samuel Ebersole
    False
  • April Zem
    April Zem
    False
  • Lisa Dee
    Lisa Dee
    False
  • Tamie Baggett
    Tamie Baggett
    False
  • molly douthett
    molly douthett
    Not Sure
  • Betsy Gunter
    Betsy Gunter
    True
  • Brenna
    Brenna
    True
  • sydney
    sydney
    False
    too absolute.
  • jv
    jv
    True
  • Rekha Murthy
    Rekha Murthy
    False
  • patricia murdock
    patricia murdock
    False
  • tjwanne
    tjwanne
    Not Sure
  • Patrick Tyrrell
    Patrick Tyrrell
    False
  • Donald Moore
    Donald Moore
    False
  • bobbullets
    bobbullets
    False

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