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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
MRC Peddles Bogus Obama 'Apology Tour' Meme
Topic: Media Research Center

We didn't get around to writing about this when it first came around -- it got lost in the shuffle of pre-election Obama-hate -- but it's still worth highlighting.

The Media Research Center's Brent Baker took to the Fox News website on Oct. 23 to defend right-wing accusations that -- in the face of all honest fact-checking -- President Obama went on an "apology tour." Baker rather absurdly claimed that it's "flimsy reasoning" to point out that Obama never actually used the word "apologize."

Baker even more absurdly bashed CNN's John Berman for failing to "understand the concept of a metaphor" by declaring that Obama's criticism of past foreign policy did not constitute an apology.

The only evidence Baker presents of an "apology tour" is that the conservative Heritage Foundation declared it such:

There’s hardly a shortage, however, of examples of Obama chastising past U.S. foreign policy, so many so that just five months into Obama’s term the Heritage Foundation was able to produce a “Top 10 Apologies” list, starting with the speech in France which Berman quoted.

While Baker cited an openly partisan group to back up his views, he made no mention of the fact-checkers that President Obama correctly noted backed up his claim that there was no apology tour.

  • "Nowhere did we see that the president “apologized” for America. In some speeches, Obama was drawing a distinction between his policies and those of his predecessor, George W. Bush. In other instances, Obama appeared to be employing a bit of diplomacy, criticizing past actions of both the U.S. and the host nation, and calling for the two sides to move forward."
  • PolitiFact: " We set out to discover whether Obama really had apologized in his speeches, and what he was apologizing for. But in our review of his words, we came up short. Yes, there is criticism in some of his speeches, but it's typically leavened by praise for the United States and its ideals, and often he mentions other countries and how they have erred as well. There's not a full-throated, sincere apology in the bunch. And so we rate Romney's statement False."
  • Washington Post's Glenn Kessler: "The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context."

Indeed, the Heritage Foundation assessment Baker puts his faith in appears to take Obama's quotes out of context in order to paint them as part of an "apology tour."

But that sort of slipshod and dishonest "research" is how the MRC operates as well -- to the point that it attacked fact-checkers for doing the fact-checking it wouldn't -- so it's no surprise that Baker would take refuge in it as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EST

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