Fox News was never shy about criticizing Barack Obama. The same can’t be true about Donald Trump’s performance as president, which the network frequently praised. Few would argue that Obama had a perfect presidency. But there is something a bit amiss when you compare how the network treated Trump and Obama.
Here are all the ways Fox News has treated Trump differently than Obama, including the most ridiculous double standard about how they spend their free time (No. 2) and more.
1. Fox News was appalled when Barron Trump was criticized, but dissed Obama’s daughters
In January 2017, Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich was suspended from the series after a tasteless tweet about Barron Trump. Fox News host Sean Hannity discussed the incident with Trump during an on-air interview, and agreed with the president that the tweet was “horrible.” He told his listeners that a president’s children should always be off-limits.
He also claimed that conservatives left Malia and Sasha Obama alone. But others remember multiple occasions when Fox News hosts like Hannity were very critical of Obama’s daughters. Case in point: Hannity bashed Malia and Sasha for taking spring break vacations. And in 2013, Glenn Beck landed in hot water when he asked how the president would have reacted if his daughters had been killed in the Benghazi attacks.
Next: Fox News had similar reactions to the way the first ladies were treated.
2. The network defends Melania Trump (but bashed Michelle Obama)
When Melania Trump wore stiletto heels on a visit to hurricane-ravaged Houston, Texas, the internet gave her a hard time. And Fox News host Tucker Carlson was quick to jump in and defend the first lady, telling viewers, “I am not much of [a] huge feminist or anything . . . and yet here [the press] is judging a woman on her footwear. That sounds like the war on women to me.”
Carlson’s emphatic defense of Melania’s fashion choices felt a little hollow, though. Because Fox News’ was one of the most frequent critiques of former first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance.
The network ran stories about everything from Michelle’s choice of skirt for an appearance on The View to the sneakers she wore during a philanthropic event. Apparently on Fox News, deference to the first lady’s sartorial sensibilities only goes one way.
Next: Obama weathered a lot more criticism over his handling of natural disasters.
3. The channel that warned about “Obama’s Katrina” praises how Trump handles crises
According to the Washington Post, news outlets labeled more than 20 events as “Obama’s Katrina.” That included everything from how he responded to flooding in Louisiana to oil spills on the Gulf Coast.
For Fox News, even the sluggish economy was an “Obama’s Katrina” moment. But, when it came to Trump’s slow response to hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, the network was hard-pressed to criticize his actions.
Next: Fox News is very confused about how Trump and Obama influence the stock market.
4. Fox News can’t decide if Obama or Trump is responsible for the stock market
Economists argue that numerous factors contribute to market performance. But in February 2018, when the U.S. stock market took a dive, Fox News was sure there was only one person to blame: Barack Obama. Which was weird, since he hadn’t been out of office for more than a year.
Despite this fact, Hannity claimed that the dip in stocks was because “the Obama economy was so weak all of these years.” Since Obama’s economic legacy was so influential, according to Fox News, you’d think they might credit him with any stock market gains, too, right? Of course not. Throughout 2017, as the Dow saw increases, Fox News was quick to praise Trump for its success.
In July 2017, Fox Business’ Stuart Varney claimed the stock market boom was “based on the hope of what the Trump presidency could do for our economy and our country.”
Next: Fox News thinks only one president has been too critical. Guess who?
4. The channel says Obama should leave Trump alone (but Trump bashing Obama is fine)
Throughout Obama’s presidency, Trump was a vocal critic of his personality and his politics. His obsession with the president’s birth certificate became a national news story, thanks in large part to Fox News’ coverage of the non-scandal.
But if you ask Fox News, only one of these men has been too critical of the other. That would be Obama, who has, on rare occasions, voiced criticism of Trump and his policies. In December 2017, Hannity ranted that Obama had a “sick, pathetic, twisted obsession.”
There’s no word, though, on how Fox News hosts’ feel about the fact that Trump still frequently blames Obama for the woes and scandals his presidency has faced.
Next: Don’t expect there to be a full-fledged SuitGate while Trump is in office.
5. Fox News made a huge deal out of Obama’s fashion choices
In 2014, Obama wore a tan suit. And if you were watching Fox News, you might have thought the world was ending. SuitGate quickly one of the most ridiculous non-stories in Fox News history. Hosts lamented it as “an impeachable offense” and wondered if the less-than-fabulous fashion choice was proof that Obama was a Marxist.
To be fair, it wasn’t a great suit. But Trump has his own quirks when it comes to how he dresses for success. And Fox News has definitely scaled back its interest in presidential fashion faux pas now that Obama is out of office.
Next: Fox News is all “fore” how Trump manages his free time.
6. Fox supports Trump’s golfing, but criticized Obama’s interest in the sport
In 2015, Trump sat down with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly to discuss Obama’s performance as president. And the topic eventually turned to how the president spent his free time. Trump told O’Reilly, “Obama wants to play golf instead of deal with people. Part of being a leader is to get everybody in line.”
Fox News helped sell the idea that Obama’s interest in the sport meant he wasn’t committed to his presidential duties. Now, if Trump keeps up his presidential golfing habit, he could triple the amount of time he spends on the green compared to his predecessor. Don’t tell that to Fox News, though.
The network has suddenly decided that how a president spends his free time — and how much of it he has — isn’t a big deal. In March 2017, they even reported that he was working when he was actually teeing off.
Next: Fox News is apparently only okay with diplomacy if Trump is doing it.
7. Fox News only praised one president’s diplomatic efforts (spoiler alert: It’s Trump)
By now, it’s pretty obvious that Fox News has a different standard for Trump than it did for Obama. And that became abundantly clear when NowThis released a video comparing the network’s coverage of Trump and Obama’s diplomatic efforts.
Fox News heavily criticized then-candidate Obama in 2008 after he said he’d be willing to meet with North Korean leaders to discuss policy. Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin both took him to task for even considering diplomacy with “dictators” and “mad men.”
But when Trump announced in 2018 that he would meet with Kim Jung Un, the network had a sunnier outlook. Hannity called it a “big win,” and a “foreign policy breakthrough.” Fox News considered the president’s attempts at diplomacy to be a “remarkable turnaround in the relationship between two adversaries.”
What’s really remarkable is how quickly the network changed its mind about foreign affairs after Trump took office.
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