Obama faults 'misinformation' from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, blogs

Obama serious 04 06

President Obama says "misinformation" fed by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and right-wing web sites partly explains why the presidential race is such a nail-biter.

At a fundraiser in New York City, he cited political polarization and specifically called out the influence of conservative media.

"This should not be a close election, but it will be. And the reason it will be is not because of Hillary's flaws, but rather because, structurally, we've become a very polarized society," Obama said Sunday.

He continued, "If all you're doing is watching Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh and reading some of the blogs that are churning out a lot of misinformation on a regular basis, then it's very hard for you to think that you're going to vote for somebody who you've been told is taking the country in the wrong direction."

"And so, structurally, we already have these divisions and it's going to be hard to overcome those," Obama said.

For the men and women who paid tens of thousands of dollars to attend the fundraiser, the implication was clear: We need your checks to help counter the conservative media narrative.

The fundraiser with about 65 attendees was held at restaurateur Danny Meyer's home for the Democratic National Committee and Clinton's joint fundraising committee.

The comments weren't made on camera, but they were transcribed by reporters and the White House. If past coverage is any indication, Fox News will demonstrate outrage about the president's comments. Limbaugh, the best known conservative radio talk show host in the country, is also likely to respond on Monday.

Related: Donald Trump denies plans for "Trump TV"

Obama's remarks lumped Fox and Limbaugh in with a constellation of conservative blogs, none of which he named. Web sites like The Drudge Report have relentlessly promoted rumors about Clinton's health and promoted other negative stories about her.

Fox News opinion hosts like Sean Hannity have also led a drumbeat of Clinton criticism for many years.

During Sunday night's fundraiser, Obama garnered laughs by saying that "it is a cliché that every election is the most important election of our lifetime. This time it's true."

He also commented that "there's a reason why we haven't had a woman president; that we as a society still grapple with what it means to see powerful women. And it still troubles us in a lot of ways, unfairly, and that expresses itself in all sorts of ways."

Overall, Obama expressed "confidence" that Clinton would win the election.

- Allison Malloy contributed reporting.

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