Some of the photos, like the one on the left (h/t Time), show Obama looking cool with a wide-brim hat and a cigarette. Apparently these photos were so important that they were discussed on three different shows on Fox, with the suggestion that they might have altered the presidential race. Would we have been so concerned about the war and the economy if we had seen Obama's college photos? Inquiring minds at Fox, as reported by Media Matters, want to know:
Sean Hannity, December 18, radio show: "Just take a look at this. Barack Obama has a hat, you know, pulling a drag on a cigarette. I wonder if they had a picture of John McCain, you know -- I wonder why -- why didn't we see these pictures beforehand? You think the media maybe thought, well, it might not hurt -- it might not help Barack Obama?"
Brian Kilmeade, December 19, Fox & Friends First: "And the college student who would become president. Pictures of Barack Obama just released. Was the Time Magazine sitting on these photos until after the election?"
Gretchen Carlson, December 19, Fox & Friends: "Would it have -- yes, after the election. Would it have -- I don't know. Would it have served any purpose to release these photos before the election?"
Steve Doocy, December 19, Fox & Friends: "Yeah, well, you know, so here you've got these pictures of the president and some of the headlines that said something about, look he was cool even back then. What if somebody else like McCain had pictures like that, that -- you've got to figure that they probably would have come out before the election."
There's just one problem with this repeated inference that the media or Time kept the photos under wraps until the election was over: the media, including Time, had nothing to do with the decision. Lisa Jack, who was a fellow student of Obama's and took the pictures, made a completely private decision to place the photos in a safe-deposit box and take them out only after the election.
Yet here's Fox News trying to churn up a media conspiracy over trivia, without any basis for their accusations. So have they retracted any of the statements above? Not that I've heard. But the truth of the matter is irrelevant to Fox. The aim is just to get the spin out there. "We Report. You Comply"? I recently read a parody that slogan, one that captures Fox's real modus operandi: We Distort. You Comply.