Former President Barack Obama told so many lies in his speech at the University of Illinois on Friday that people are still unpacking them all. Amazingly, he was there to receive an award for “ethics in government.” One of the most outrageous lies was his attack on Trump over freedom of the press.
Here’s what he said.
Former President Obama: “I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them ‘enemies of the people.’” pic.twitter.com/8zvwngP9L2
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 7, 2018
Obama said, “It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like. I complained plenty about Fox News, but you never heard me threaten to shut them down, or call them ‘enemies of the people.’”
Now, of course, there’s a demonstrable falsehood in there. President Donald Trump has never threatened the freedom of the press or threatened to shut down any media yet Obama is suggesting that he did. Criticism, while harsh, is not threatening to shut anyone down.
Media has been completely free to say whatever they want. And they have, often acting as though they were propagandists for the Democratic party.
While Obama got some support from those in media for his assertions, most notably, CNN’s Brian Stelter, he also received some truth bombs from others who actually remembered the facts.
But his CNN colleague disagreed:
Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski:
NRA’s Dana Loesch who used to work for Breitbart:
Fox’s Brit Hume agreed with Loesch’s remarks.
But perhaps the best takedown came from reporter Sharyl Attkisson who worked for CBS when Obama was in office.
Not only did CBS confirm that her computer had been hacked while she was reporting on the Obama administration’s Benghazi scandal, but Attkisson personally and publicly accused the Obama Department of Justice of swapping out her hard drive.
But Attkisson was not just referenced. She hit back at Obama’s claim herself, with a multi-tweet exposition on the Obama administration versus the press. One of her most direct hits was a “flashback” reminder about the Obama administration’s “unprecedented acts vs reporters:”
She also pointed to the report from the Committee to Protect Journalists which noted:
“[T]he White House curbs routine disclosure of information and deploys its own media to evade scrutiny by the press.”
“Aggressive prosecution of leakers of classified information and broad electronic surveillance programs deter government sources from speaking to journalists.”
Obama was the least transparent president trying to shut down information from getting out, both to Congress and media. It wasn’t that there weren’t scandals, there were plenty. But Obama simply shut down information from and refused to comply with requests for that information. So the reporting would eventually die as media went on to the next story.
Obama went after news organizations and reporters exactly because they published stories that he didn’t like. And unlike Trump who has just criticized them, Obama spied on them and tried to stop their stories.