Once again undermining the supposed sharp distinction between Fox's opinion and news shows, Bret Baier took time during his nightly "Political Grapevine" segment to inform his viewers that "some interesting ornaments" had been "spotted on the White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room." Now according to New York Magazine, the Christmas tree in question holds as many as 800 ornaments. So presumably there are plenty of "interesting ornaments" in the bunch. Baier took his audience on a virtual tour of the Blue Room tree:
BAIER: They include the communist leader Mao; drag queen -- celebrity queen -- Hedda Lettuce, who boasts on her Web site about her ornament being featured in the White House; and Mt. Rushmore with a familiar face [President Obama] added.
So out of 800 ornaments, Baier decided to tell his viewers about three of them. And it just so happens that these three ornaments fit nicely into three of Fox News' favorite activities: red-baiting, gay-baiting, and suggesting that Obama is arrogant.
Unfortunately for Baier, his gotcha story seems to be missing the gotcha. Here were the very next words out of his mouth:
BAIER: The First Lady's office says local community groups were asked to decorate hundreds of ornaments but that they are unaware of these specific decorations.
Baier offered no evidence contradicting this. So why, exactly, does he think the story still qualifies as news?
It should also be noted that both Benjamin Carlson of The Atlantic and Allahpundit of HotAir (a conservative blog run by Michelle Malkin) think that the picture of Mao is actually an image of an Andy Warhol print of Mao.
As Allahpundit further observes, "[I]sn't the most likely explanation here that they [the White House] really didn't know what was on the ornaments? Why court PR trouble with a deliberate provocation via something this trivial?"
Incidentally, as Baier noted, these three ornaments were first reported by none other than the crackerjack staff at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com.
Earlier that day, Breitbart's crew posted its big scoop:
Why let a holiday season come between the White House and making some political statements? The White House pegged controversial designer Simon Doonan to oversee the Christmas decorations for the White House. Mr. Doonan, who is creative director of Barney's New York has often caused a stir with his design choices. Like his naughty yuletide window display of Margaret Thatcher as a dowdy dominatrix and Dan Quayle as a ventriloquist's dummy. For this year's White House, he didn't disappoint.
To paraphrase the old adage, from their keyboards to Fox News' lips.
Previously, Fox News' Glenn Beck called Breitbart -- who has a long history of smearing progressives -- one of the "great journalists of our time" for helping two right-wing activists selectively release highly edited, secretly recorded video of ACORN employees. Breitbart also served as one of Beck's major sources for his witch hunt against former White House adviser Van Jones.
But that's just an opinion show. It's not like Andrew Breitbart is setting Fox's news agenda.