BILL SAMMON’S ‘SOCIALIST’ INSTRUCTIONS TO THE FOX NEWS TEAM…. Bill Sammon sure does write a lot of memos.

During the final days of the 2008 presidential race, Bill Sammon used his position as a top Fox News editor to engage in a campaign to link then-Sen. Barack Obama to “Marxists” and “socialism,” internal Fox documents and a review of his televised appearances show.

On October 27, 2008, Sammon sent an email to colleagues highlighting what he described as “Obama’s references to socialism, liberalism, Marxism and Marxists” in his 1995 autobiography Dreams From My Father. Shortly after sending the email, Sammon — then the network’s Washington deputy managing editor — appeared on two Fox News programs to discuss his research and also wrote a piece about Obama’s “affinity to Marxists” that was disseminated throughout the conservative blogosphere.

What a remarkable coincidence. Just days before the 2008 presidential election, a top editor suggested the Republican network’s on-air talent connect the Democratic candidate not only to socialism, but to his “racial obsessions” while in college. I’m sure there’s a reasonable, journalistic explanation for this, though I can’t imagine what it is.

If I didn’t know better, I might think Sammon has some kind of partisan political agenda or something. (Sammon’s marching orders were sent to the network’s news division, not its opinion shows, though the line between the two doesn’t really exist.)

“Bill Sammon’s October email reads like a piece of opposition research from the McCain campaign,” said Media Matters’ Ari Rabin-Havt. “The network clearly embraced this brand of ‘journalism.’ Sammon was promoted to Washington managing editor a mere four months later.”

Also note, this is the third Sammon memo that’s come to light in recent months. In December, we learned that Sammon ordered the network’s journalists to downplay the science of global warming.

Around the same time, we also learned of a Sammon memo telling Fox News reporters to use Republican-endorsed rhetoric, exclusively, to describe the public option during the health care debate.

None of this is even remotely surprising — Fox News is a obviously Republican propaganda outlet. But when memos like Sammon’s come to public light, it helps add additional weight to the larger indictment against the ridiculous cable news outlet.

Let’s also note that all of the memos have been uncovered by Media Matters, which suggests the organization has a helpful source within the network. That’s good news.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.