Here are a few selections from today's broadcast of Fox & Friends. The Christie hype began near the top of the show:
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): In the meantime, the talk continues about Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey. And even though he has said a gazillion times that he's not running for president, at least in 2012, a lot of people are still trying to convince him otherwise. And now a group of businessmen, influential from Iowa, are coming to New Jersey today to have dinner at the governor's mansion to try and get him yet to change his mind, guys?
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): And here's the thing about New Jersey -- the legislative session wraps up at the end of June, and there are some who say that by that time, some real pressure could come to bear on Mr. Christie to, perhaps, dip his toe into the race. Steve Forbes, on Iowa, he says, quote, "I think there will be others in the race -- " does he mean Chris Christie? " -- even though they don't know it today. You are looking at an incomplete field."
DOOCY: In the meantime, what do you think? Do you think Chris Christie should get in, or do you take him at his word that he is not going to run for president this time around? E-mail us, email@example.com, or you can Twitter us at foxandfriends.
And the Christie hype continued during the second hour, when the co-hosts read viewer comments that also largely called for Christie to run:
DOOCY: Yep. All right, what's happening across the country this summer -- Sarah Palin is in a bus. Will she be coming to your town? Don't know. We're going to talk about her in a moment. But first, all eyes are now on that man, Chris Christie -- in particular a group of businessmen from Iowa because they've heard him say this so many times, but they think they can change his mind.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Well, this group of Iowa businesspeople flying in. And even though the governor says, I'm not that interested, I will have you over for the dinner -- over for dinner --
KILMEADE: -- at the government mansion, and we'll go over there. One of the people there is Bruce Rastettler (sic: Rastetter), he is a prolific, they say, contributor to the GOP campaigns.
DOOCY: Very rich guy.
KILMEADE: He specializes in hogs and ethanol. Who would think that in Iowa?
CARLSON: But do you think that Chris Christie should run? Would the Democrats then look at him as the ultimate flip-flopper if he changes his mind? We asked you that question earlier, and Ginger from Ohio said, "I think if he does run after saying he wouldn't do so many times that he would have already lost his credibility before ever starting. That would just put fuel on the fire for opponents."
DOOCY: Meanwhile, Deb in my home state of Kansas says, "I'm hoping that Christie changes his mind about running. Christie could wait until October 2012 to jump in and still win."
KILMEADE: And Mary Dee says this, only in a much higher voice: "The perfect ticket would be Huckabee-Christie. Unfortunately, neither are running."
CARLSON: Couple of tweets -- "Would love to see Christie run. He would definitely heat up the lukewarm GOP field."
Complete with this on-screen text:
Finally, the co-hosts just plain decided for Christie, during a tease for an interview with GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann (emphasis added):
KILMEADE: Then -- Michele Bachmann is taking the East Coast by storm. Will she run for president? And what about her political -- her potential competition? Sarah Palin, Chris Christie? The congresswoman here live in 15 minutes.
This relentless cheerleading went on throughout the show, even as the co-hosts sometimes paused to acknowledge that Christie himself has been pretty clear about his intentions:
CARLSON: I don't know how he gets around those statements, though, of saying that he's not -- he's not going to do it. You know, I mean, he's been pretty emphatic. I don't know, maybe he could come up with a really great reason why he decided to change his mind, but those are pretty emphatic statements, when he says he's not going to do it.
Not mentioned in any of these segments? The fact that someone else very near and dear to the curvy couch's heart also had dinner with Christie and begged him to run, as New York magazine reported this month:
A few months ago, [Fox News chairman Roger] Ailes called Chris Christie and encouraged him to jump into the race. Last summer, he'd invited Christie to dinner at his upstate compound along with Rush Limbaugh, and like much of the GOP Establishment, he fell hard for Christie, who nevertheless politely turned down Ailes's calls to run. Ailes had also hoped that David Petraeus would run for president, but Petraeus too has decided to sit this election out, choosing to stay on the counterterrorism front lines as the head of Barack Obama's CIA.
As Media Matters has documented, the Fox chairman's politics and Fox News' politics are one and the same: Fox hosts have been gushing over Christie for months. And as Rolling Stone reported last week, the Fox & Friends co-hosts appear to get their marching orders directly from the big boss:
References to Obama's middle name were soon being bandied about on Fox & Friends, the morning happy-talk show that Ailes uses as one of his primary vehicles to inject his venom into the media bloodstream. According to insiders, the morning show's anchors, who appear to be chatting ad-lib, are actually working from daily, structured talking points that come straight from the top. "Prior to broadcast, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson - that gang - they meet with Roger," says a former Fox deputy. "And Roger gives them the spin."
It's not too hard to connect the dots from Ailes' "f[alling] hard" for Christie to the relentless Christie-cheerleading being pumped through one of Ailes' "primary vehicles" for injecting "structured talking points." But it's still chilling to see yet another example of one powerful man apparently using a "news" network to drum up support for his political agenda.