*Sticking to the script

STICKING TO THE SCRIPT…. Back in February, the Senate Republican Communications Center sent Fox News a press release about the stimulus package. Soon after, Fox News took the Republicans’ materials and aired it, word for word, without telling viewers that the “story” was a creation of Republican officials.

Eventually, the network apologized, not for using Republican propaganda as an on-air script, but for including a typo in their report.

Oddly enough, Fox News doesn’t learn from its mistakes.

During the April 1 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now, while co-host Jon Scott interviewed Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Fox News aired “FOXfact[s]” purporting to describe facts about the House Republican budget. However, all of the seven on-screen “FOXfact[s]” were nearly identical to portions of an op-ed Ryan published in that day’s Wall Street Journal.

Ryan wrote in the op-ed, “The Republican budget achieves lower deficits than the Democratic plan in every year.” Fox News offered this “Fox Fact” to viewers, “GOP Budget: Achieves lower deficits than Dem plan in every year.”

Ryan said, “Under our plan, debt held by the public is $3.6 trillion less during the budget period.” Fox News said, “GOP Budget: Debt held by public $3.6 trill less than during budget period.”

Ryan said, “Our budget gives priority to national defense and veterans’ health care.” Fox News said, “GOP budget gives priority to nat’l defense & vet health care.”

Ryan said, “We do these things by rejecting the president’s cap-and-trade scheme.” Fox News said, “GOP budget rejects the president’s cap-and-trade scheme.”

Ryan said, “Our budget does not raise taxes, and makes permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax laws.” Fox News said, “GOP budget doesn’t raise taxes; makes permanent ’01 & ’03 tax laws.”

Ryan said, “Capital gains and dividends are taxed at 15%, and the death tax is repealed.” Fox News said, “GOP Budget: Capital gains & dividends taxed at 15% & death tax repealed.”

I mind the propaganda, but I’m also offended by the laziness. The network couldn’t go to the trouble of changing the wording a little?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.