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.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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