Fox News Update: Lying About Air Force One With Guest Darrell Issa

I’m trying out an updated exercise regime that happens to involve watching more TV. So this morning, after pulling out my new rowing machine, I tuned into Fox News and discovered that Darrell Issa was today’s guest on Outnumbered. The question of the moment was whether Democrats were being petty and ridiculous by trying to stop Donald Trump from redesigning Air Force One. (“We all agree,” Lisa Boothe burbled at the end, and I think you can all guess what they agreed on.)

So what did Issa say? Well, Air Force One is constantly being repainted, different colors, different designs, etc. Why, when Issa flew on the old 707 version of Air Force One as it was being delivered to the Reagan Museum, it was in the middle of being repainted! Every president has done this, so who cares if Trump does it too? Get a life, losers.

I have no life, so Issa got me curious: has the design of Air Force One changed over the years? It took a bit of sleuthing to find photos with clear dates and non-museum settings, but I did it. You can thank me later. Here are the results:

Air Force One in 1963
Air Force One in 1987
Air Force One in 2018

I can’t swear that the Pantone numbers of the paint jobs are literally identical, but these sure look the same to me. I don’t doubt that Air Force One has been repainted periodically, but the design hasn’t changed at all.

Later on, either Issa or one of the others also repeated the lie about Trump cutting $1.5 billion off the contract price of the new pair of 747s the Air Force is buying to replace the old ones. In reality, Trump cut $0 off the price.

Now, none of this matters much. But it’s literally what I saw after turning on Fox News at random and listening for five minutes. They repeated President Trump’s lies and then made up new lies of their own to add to them. They do this every minute of every day, no matter how trivial the subject. It’s hardly any wonder that regular viewers are so poorly informed even if they don’t stay up to watch the prime time shills.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.