During its' June 29 coverage of Elena Kagan's Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Fox News decided to skip over the questions of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) -- questions that Fox correspondent Carl Cameron deemed "couldn't have been bigger softballs." And rather than show Leahy's questioning, Cameron spread myths about Kagan.
Fox however, cut back to the hearing when the top Republican on the committee questioned Kagan. Fox News aired the vast majority of questions by the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee Jeff Sessions (AL) and the second-ranking Republican Orrin Hatch (UT), but did not show any questioning by the top two Democrats, Leahy and Herb Kohl (D-WI).
While talking over Leahy's questions, Cameron falsely claimed that Kagan "was around when the campus tried to ban" a "wartime military recruitment" while she was dean at Harvard. He also suggested that Republicans can demand that Kagan answer questions about cases that may appear before her as a Supreme Court justice without noting that Republicans have previously said that nominees should not answer such questions.
Lest you think that Fox News really was making its decision on the basis of Leahy's supposed "softball" questions, when roles were reversed and Republican nominee Samuel Alito was facing the Judiciary Committee, Fox News took a different approach. On the first day of questioning, January 10, 2006, Fox News showed all 30 minutes of the questioning by the top Republican, then-Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (PA) (who was a Republican at a time).
After showing all 30 minutes of the questions from Leahy (who was then the top-ranking minority member), Fox then showed all 30 minutes of the questioning from Hatch, who was, as now, the second-ranking Republican on the committee.
And Hatch's questions for Alito were not all exactly hardballs. Here's an example of one hard-hitting Hatch question that Fox aired from the Alito hearing:
HATCH: Well, some have suggested, as my friend from Massachusetts did yesterday, that by your membership in this organization, you were somehow against the rights of women and minorities attending colleges.
So let me just ask you directly, on the record, are you against women and minorities attending colleges?
ALITO: Absolutely not, Senator. No.
So to sum up:
When covering the hearings on Kagan, a Democratic nominee, Fox totally ignored the top two Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats' questions, saying they were softballs. When covering the hearings on Alito, a Republican nominee, Fox aired all of the questions by the top two committee Republicans including real softballs. That's "fair and balanced," Fox-style.