Fox News distorts Obama’s remarks to create impression that he’s anti-small business

I meant to post something about this yesterday afternoon, but got distracted. Well, better late than never:

In an extemporaneous (no script) speech in Roanoke, Va., last Friday, President Obama said this:

 [L]ook, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. 

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. 

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we funded the GI Bill.  That’s how we created the middle class.  That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.  That’s how we invented the Internet.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea.  You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.

Notice, please, the passage in the second paragraph where Obama said: “Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.”

Clearly, he was saying that if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build the roads and bridges that might benefit that business. Somebody else made that happen, just as somebody else helped create our American system in which you can thrive.

The whole point of his little speech is that success in business often depends on the efforts of other people and society in general as well as on the efforts of the individual.

But the folks at Fox News, ever eager to make Obama look bad, took two of his sentences out of context to create a false impression. They quoted him as saying:  “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.”

Fox implied that Obama said “you didn’t build” your business. What he actually said was that “you didn’t build” the roads and bridges.

Well, of course, following the cue from Fox News, the right-wing noise machine shifted into high gear with false claims that Obama said small business owners didn’t build their own businesses.

In reality, he said no such thing.

There’s more on this matter HERE and HERE.





  1. This is Obama’s story that he so desperately needs to lull everyone to sleep with. That no one can accomplish anything with the government, especially his government. You gotta ask what kind of pep rally is this really. What point is he trying to make? It’s really mind numbing that he’s creating this everybody is inept and incapable of individual accomplishment delusion. It looks alot like the GE commercial with the turbine manufacturers creating the electricity that powers the beer makers, the bread makers and the candle stick makers- metaphor for his government. Frankly, it’s a stupid speech, but boy does he rile a few Amen’s! In typical fashion Obama spins tales of unifying the country for the common good and then will follow it up with demonizing some Americans and take more of their money, again, for the common good. Yeah, we’re all in this together all right, as in we’re ll in debt for a cool 6 T! Tell me again how great you are Barack Hussein Obama…I keep forgetting

  2. Fox didn’t twist anything! Obama may not have said the actual words “you didn’t build your business” but it’s obvious that’s EXACTLY the point he was making.

  3. When I first read that speech, I took it the same way Fox did. As someone who has started a couple of small businesses, I was offended.

    While your explanation can certainly allow those sentences to be “spun” that way, here is my issue. The President has a staff of amazing speechwriters that know how to well craft every single word they write. And you can bet, every single word has a purpose. If he wanted clarity, he would have made it clear. He wanted credit for any success people have to go to the government.

    Notice he also says that the internet was invented by the government for business to make money. That is a straight lie since the internet was invented by and for the military. His speech was clearly about how awesome he thinks government is and why we need more of it.

  4. I am left shaking my head in disbelief at how folks choose to ignore the facts (his exact words) and carry on believing and thinking exactly what someone tells them too (Fox News)


    People are so ignorant

  5. Juanita Dominguez

    all anyone has to do is just listen to what this man says…he’s very clear…always has been…he has absolute distain for individualism…he doesn’t even try to hide the fact that he has no respect for those that have created success through their efforts in the private sector…he pits those that have no money against those that do, when he feeds into this deception that somehow those that have wealth have taken it from the hands of those that do not. He’s masterfull at this…and a lot of people have fallen in to the trap of actually believing this garbage.

  6. areyoukiddingme

    you have to be kidding me…he said what he said and he meant what he meant. this guy is against individual achievement and here he states it plain as day.

  7. Some of you are utter morons. What he said is that without roads, without education and such you wouldn’t be where you are. You people are beyond stupid.

  8. monkey

    The ignorance of some of these comments is nearly beyond comprehension. Have any of you read the full text of his comments, which were unscripted BTW? What he says is absolutely true. NO business in America does anything w/o government support. Whether it’s infrastructure, telecom, transportation, tax incentives, gov’t contracts, research, police, fire, sewer, etc etc., businesses succeed because of some level of help from the government. Would Amazon exist today if the military (i.e., the government) had not invented the ‘Net? Would SupplyCore in Rockford be doing as well as they have w/o the $200 million in government contracts they have each year? How many local jobs were supported by the construction of the new federal courthouse?

    The wingnuts can’t have it both ways. You can’t complain about the government out of one side of your mouth and act as though businesses are conjured out of thin air and then conveniently ignore all the benefits provided by government out of the other side.

  9. Interesting response to this speech from singer Charlie Daniels and how he built his “business”:


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