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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 10:47 AM ET, 04/24/2012

Fox corrects record on Obama ‘silver spoon’ quote

Fox News’s Steve Doocy has set the record straight on his mangling of President Obama’s “silver spoon” quote of last week. Whereas President Obama, in an appearance in Ohio, said this: “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth,” Doocy phrased it differently in an interview last Thursday with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney: “Unlike some people, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.”

Wrong: Doocy’s prefatory handiwork makes the remark appear as an unequivocal — not to mention petty — attack on Romney.

This morning Doocy had this to say about the episode (with footnotes added to facilitate commentary):

Last week President Obama talked about not being born with a silver spoon in his mouth. That was interpreted as a big dig at Mitt Romney (1). When I was interviewing Gov. Romney on this show, I asked him about it. However, I did some some paraphrasing that seemed to misquote (2) the president. So to be clear, the president’s exact quote was, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.” (3) And I hope that clears up any confusion.

(1) Technically correct: It was interpreted as a big dig at Mitt Romney, especially by the people at Fox News. Others, citing Obama’s extensive use of the silver spoon remark long before Romney 2012, didn’t share that interpretation.

(2) There was no “seeming” involved here. The tape shows conclusively that Doocy misquoted the president. Had he not misquoted the president, surely he wouldn’t have taken time out of his day to issue this crow-eating correction.

(3) Good that Doocy detailed the president’s quote. Yet without repeating the preface that he attached to it, the quote doesn’t do much for viewers; it may cause as much confusion as it resolves.

And it’s too bad Doocy didn’t address the telltale smirk that accompanied his question to Romney.

Those are quibbles, however. Fox News did the right thing here. Though it could have been better articulated and more complete, Doocy’s correction was delivered directly to viewers, in the same medium where the mistake originally occurred. Wish we could say the same thing about NBC.

By  |  10:47 AM ET, 04/24/2012

 
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