Put in context: MSNBC, Fox News both guilty of same sin

President Barack Obama campaigns Monday at the Iowa State Fair. Photo: The Associated Press.

Hate is a strong word.

So let’s just say I’m starting to intensely dislike both Fox News and MSNBC. Well, even that’s a bit strong. There are plenty of things I like about both of the cable-news TV networks. Their willingness, however, to completely ignore context in order to push their political agendas is not among their virtues.

For the better part of a month, Fox has flogged the 35 seconds of video in which his critics allege President Barack Obama says of successful business owners: “You didn’t build that.”

Not to be outdone — and because both Obama and Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, campaigned Monday at the Iowa State Fair — MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night dragged out the video of Mitt Romney at the fair last year.

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney, who was not yet the Republican presidential nominee, said to a heckler at the 2012 state fair.

(And what’s the deal with hecklers at the Iowa State Fair? Ryan was heckled there on Monday, and it just doesn’t reflect well on Iowans. But that’s another rant for another day.)

Back to Romney … liberals far and wide laughed at his comment about corporations. They should give him the benefit of the doubt. It seems unlikely that Romney views any corporation as a living, breathing person.

My Uncle Larry is a living, breathing person. For years, he has farmed and has run an earth-moving businesses. And that’s all it is — a businesses. But that business is how my aunt and uncle have supported themselves and raised my cousins. In other words, real people benefited from the success of my uncle’s business. Regardless of how big or small it is, the same thing can be said of every business, its owners and employees.

Romney may not have said it clearly, but that’s what I think he really meant.

Not speaking clearly contributed to the Obama bashing, too. Well, that, and some deceptive video editing by the folks at Fox News.

“Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges,” Obama said before he said: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

Sadly, it seems everyone heard the latter part of that comment. Not enough seemed to have heard and remembered the former part.

But no one will ever convince me Obama meant to say business owners didn’t build their businesses. What he meant was that most business owners owe at least some of their success to the earlier Americans. You, know, the people who invented, built and paid for everything from the cell-phone towers and smart phones everyone uses today to everything else we take for granted.

In other words, no one — not even the most successful entrepreneur — lives in a vacuum.

The only exception to this are the people who live in an information vacuum and believe everything they see and hear on either MSNBC or Fox News, where the message seems to have taken a backseat to the truth.