GOP celebrates Fox's role in pushing message, helping electoral chances

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Over the weekend, the Washington Post quoted Republican Senator Jim DeMint asserting that Republicans "don't need The Washington Post to cover things anymore ... Something can get on a conservative blog, then on Fox News, then it's everywhere."

It's true: conservative blogs often set the agenda for Fox News shows - with the rest of the media following in tow. Perhaps most infamously, in 2007, Fox & Friends gave widespread promotion to the bubbling smear on conservative blogs that then-Senator Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a child.

And it's not just Fox News' opinion shows. Here's the sourcing for a health care town hall report on America's Newsroom, one of the network's purported 'straight news' programs:

DeMint's view of Fox News as part of the GOP's messaging strategy is echoed among other members of his party. A quick sampling:

  • Mitt Romney: "Hey, FoxNation.com and my fans there, they're the best. Congratulations to you guys for getting that up there, keep it going. I hope that we get a lot of strength, and that helps us in 2010 and the years beyond.'
  • Liz Cheney: "Actually, because of shows like this one [WOR's The Steve Malzberg Show], shows like yours, Steve, because we've got know other radio shows, we've got Fox, we've got a massive, sort of conservative blogosphere, people are aware of these things, and I think that's a very positive thing that the mainstream media doesn't have the kind of stranglehold on information that they used to have."
  • Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX): "The reason for the double standard is that while MSNBC acts as a shill for the President, Fox reports the stories that the national media ignore. For example, without Fox News, you might not have heard about the recent ACORN scandal. You might not have heard about the troubling political associations of the President's former green jobs czar, which eventually led to his resignation. And you might not have heard that the President's communications director said Chairman Mao is one of her favorite political philosophers." [October 28, Congressional Record]
  • Former Sen. (and current Fox News contributor) Rick Santorum: "And the American public is looking at this [health care bill], thanks to FOX News, thanks to conservative radio, thanks to the Internet, which is increasingly powerful, and they're getting the facts. They're looking at the facts. They're saying, You know, Mr. President, what you're saying doesn't jibe with that you're -- the folks over in the House and Senate re doing. So it's not going anywhere, and that's why this is such -- in big trouble right now."
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): "People vote with their feet. And they love Bill O'Reilly; they love Glenn Beck. They love the shows that are on Fox. That's what matters. Because people want to go where they can find truth. They obviously aren't finding truth over on some of these other channels."

Bachmann, a frequent guest on Fox News, knows how Fox News works as a political organization. Bachmann recently appeared on Hannity to promote her re-election website and a protest against health care reform. And during the debate over cap and trade, Bachmann and Beck (who has offered to fundraise for her) implored viewers to call Congress to oppose "that national energy tax."

The Republican chorus that Fox News is a part of GOP messaging is something that Fox News has as much admitted, with executives describing the network as the "voice of opposition" and "the Alamo" during the Obama administration.

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