July 19, 2024

Fox News host Howie Kurtz ripped “misleading” coverage — including Fox’s — of a cheapfake video of President Joe Biden at the G7 watching a skydiving show last week.

The RNC Research account seized on a moment in which the president moved away from the group to congratulate a skydiver who was packing his chute. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy then grabbed Biden’s arm to draw his attention to a member of the skydiving team who was addressing the group of world leaders.

The New York Post then posted a version of the clip cropped vertically so the skydiver Biden was congratulating didn’t show in the video.

On this week’s edition of Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz, Kurtz challenged the coverage, including the way Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity followed the RNC’s lead:

KURTZ: When President Biden was at the G7 in Italy, where he announced the U.S. and Europe would give Volodymyr Zelenskyy a $50 billion loan to battle Russia, the RNC posted a misleading video titled, what is Biden doing, appearing to indicate the President straying off from the assembled leaders, talking to no one. And that wound up on the cover of “The New York Post”, “Meander in Chief”. You see it circled there.

But if you look at it from a slightly broader angle, the President had turned to chat with a skydiver who just landed as part of a show near the world leaders and to give the man a thumbs up before Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni guided him back to where they were taking a group photo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, “HANNITY”HOST: During a parachute demonstration, Biden got dazed and confused. How shocking. And started to just, you know, wander off like that as other G7 leaders looked on in agony.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, “MORNING JOE” CO-HOST: Right wing media seized on a moment at the G7 Summit yesterday involving President Biden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Susan, I get that Biden is 81 and sometimes looks frail and confused. But in this instance, why would “The New York Post” owned by Fox’s sister company or anyone follow the RNC’s lead when he was actually –

– when the President was actually just giving the thumbs up to this parachuter?

FERRECHIO: Well, again, it’s taking it out of context the same way Trump is taking out of context so often. Here, you have a video where he was talking to another parachutist. but I don’t think the full video really benefits him anymore. The problem with President Biden is he is he looks frail when he’s walking.

I know — I believe he has some spinal stenosis. I was looking at his past physician’s report, but he does have difficulty walking. He does look like he’s a little bit weak. There was another incident there where he leaned down and pressed his forehead against the forehead of the pope, and that looked pretty peculiar.

And then when he speaks, he sounds frail and he sounds like he is mental acuity is fading. There’s a new poll out just within the past couple of days that only a third of all voters think that he is competent to become the President again for another term.

KURTZ: Right.

FERRECHIO: I think that’s the overall problem. This just adds to the narrative — these videos, even though that this was taken out of context, it doesn’t look much better when you watch the whole thing, Howie.

KURTZ: Well, absolutely legitimate issue overall. But Richard, White House spokesman, we should mention, ripped certain media outlets, touting these images as desperate and lying. “The New York Post” yesterday, while not talking about the way the photo was cropped, said Biden wandered off, wasn’t supposed to do that, went off script and the media must face up to his cognitive decline. But is this an example of it?

FOWLER: Well, there’s a couple of things here. I think, first of all, everybody needs to take a deep breath. We’re both dealing with two nominees of the oldest nominees in American history.

KURTZ: Trump just turned 78.

FOWLER: Exactly — who celebrated his birthday this week. We must also take a deep breath and acknowledge the fact that we’re dealing with one candidate in Joe Biden who is gaffe prone and we’re dealing with another candidate who it lives in the world of hyperbole, right? These are the these are the realities of this race. These are the metrics of this race.

So, now let’s zoom in on this video that you just showed there. And what I what I see here is irresponsible journalism at best, right? Sloppy journalism at worst, because the media — the American people are expecting us to cover this election fairly.

They’re also expecting us to call this election. And when you do stories like that on your front cover without looking at the full video angle, you create more distrust against this industry and against this business at a time when the American people need to trust us more than ever.

KURTZ: Well —

FERRECHIO: How is that any different than the Milwaukee comment? I mean — I mean, it’s the same thing.

FOWLER: Well, I had — I had a problem with the Milwaukee comment when it was put in context. I had a problem with it. Here, this was taken out of context and in context. There is no problem with it. He was clearly waving to and giving a thumbs up to folks who were to some of these parachuters here.

KURTZ: Well, “Fox and Friends”, by the way, I thought was had a perfectly straightforward report about it. But the Trump campaign followed up by accusing Joe Biden of wandering around like a brain-dead zombie. Nothing like a good way to raise money to push those narratives.

It’s to Kurtz’s credit that he was willing to include Hannity, but he did get a couple of things wrong. PM Meloni wasn’t “guiding him back” for a group photo — that was an entirely different event that followed the demonstration. She was drawing his attention to another speaker from the skydiving team.

And while Fox & Friends did air an uncropped version of the video in their news bumper, the hosts ridiculed Biden and praised the other outlets who mocked him.