It's like it was a completely different Fox News correspondent. It's weird.
The glaring double standard Baier used to interview President Obama this week for a contentious battle, as opposed to how Baier interviewed President Bush in late 2008 for a softball fest, is just remarkable.
As Think Progress noted:
Baier's tenacity, however, seems reserved only for Democratic presidents. His interviews with President Bush were far friendlier, with questions like, "What are you reading now?" and "Do you believe that there hasn't been a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in more than seven years because of the policies your administration has implemented?"
MSNBC's Countdown provided the interruption highlights from the Obama interview:
I counted 19 separate interruptions, although your total may differ slightly.
But back to the Baier/Bush summit, from December, 2008. Interruptions? Hard-pressing follow-ups? Please. Unlike this week's combative, in-your-face showdown, Baier's sit-down with Bush was silky smooth, as the interviewer deftly guided the president towards mostly feel-good, RNC pastures and allowed Bush to pontificate at will.
It's true that the circumstances for the POTUS interviews were different. Obama stands at a pivotal political moment of his first term and is trying to push his signature legislative effort past the finish line, while Bush was literally a lame duck, with just over four weeks left on his Oval Office watch. So yes, I understand that in theory the interviews might be different in substance.
Then again, Bush at the time was retiring as the most unpopular president in modern American history (like, since the invention of polling), and Baier could have really pressed Bush to explain what had gone so horribly -- and historically -- wrong during his time in office. He could have asked how was it that Bush had managed to lose 70 points off his approval ratings while serving as president.
But Baier did no such thing. Based on the transcripts, I can't find a single time Baier clearly, or rudely, interrupted Bush.
And the questions! Oh my. Some highlights from Baier's Bush tour de force:
Do you worry at all that the incoming administration will undo some of the things that you say have kept America safe?
What's the thing you're most looking forward to post-White House?
Do you think that you have governed as a conservative?
You think you're a Reagan conservative or a Barry Goldwater conservative?
It's almost like Fox News treats Democrats and Republicans differently. It's weird.
UPDATED: According to Baier, it was all Obama's fault. He was stalling and "running out the clock" with his answers. (i.e. He wasn't giving the answers Baier wanted.)
That defense though, is absurd considering it was a nearly 20-minute interview with Obama and Baier started interrupting Obama right from the outset. Meaning, Baier began interrupting Obama before the president even had a chance to (theoretically) stall.
A funny thing happened while Neil Cavuto was engaging in his absurd sideshow about the length of the health care legislation: Fox News inadvertently admitted that the House will be voting on passage of the Senate bill. During one of Cavuto's several inane segments about how his speedreader was reviewing the Senate health care bill and the accompanying reconciliation bill, the following caption aired:
Despite the best efforts of Fox News congressional correspondent Carl Cameron, among others, to painstakingly explain that a majority vote of the House would be necessary to use the legislative procedure known as the "self-executing rule" to pass the Senate health bill, Fox News' anchors have been pushing the falsehood that the House would be passing the bill without a vote.
I guess this puts paid to that talking point. Right?
Fox News' Neil Cavuto hosted speed-reader Howard Berg to read the "new" House of Representatives health care bill live on today's Your World with Neil Cavuto.
I wonder how long it will take Berg to realize that he's read this bill before.
The only thing "new" that was published today is the 153-page reconciliation package. But Berg was tasked to read not only the reconciliation bill, but the health care bill that the Senate passed in December, which the reconciliation bill amends. That Senate health bill was based mostly on the Senate Finance committee's health reform bill Berg already read on Your World back in October.
Someone should also alert Cavuto and Berg that the vast majority of what Berg just read, the final Senate health bill as passed, has been posted online for months (no speed-reading necessary!) and the House posted a pretty simple section-by-section summary of the reconciliation bill released today. It's about seven pages long.
FoxNews.com posted a "Photo Op-inion: St. Patrick's Day in Washington," which claims to feature "[s]ometimes funny, sometimes serious" images on the news. While posting the images, FoxNews.com writes that "[n]one of the images were created by Fox News."
The following images are from Fox News' slideshow:
At last night's Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner Vice President Joe Biden had a little fun at Fox News' expense:
You can watch the entire speech courtesy of CSPAN here.
According to a March 17 press release, the League of American Voters will begin smearing President Obama and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) for the purportedly "suspicious timing" of Obama "hiring Matheson's brother as a federal judge. Some people might call that a bribe, Congressman."
The attack ad is being helped by incessant promotions by Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris, who has appeared on Fox Business and the Fox News Channel numerous times in the past month imploring viewers to help get LAV ads on the air.
Morris is the chief strategist for LAV and crafts the group's ad campaigns. Earlier this month, an LAV ad reportedly was "revise[d]" after it contained incorrect facts. Not surprising, then, that LAV's latest smear is backed by no evidence. Rep. Matheson's office and the White House have called the smear "ridiculous" and "absurd," while Utah Republicans have denied there have been any "vote buying." Sen. Bob Bennett's (R-UT) spokeswoman, Tara DiJulio, released a statement saying, "Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson's nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time."
Despite the bipartisan debunking, Morris and his Fox News colleagues have repeatedly pushed the smear. Factually-challenged Fox Business host Eric Bolling yesterday told Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) that "it seems like these votes are being purchased. People visit the White House, the next day their brothers are offered judgeships." On March 11, Bolling said the White House "can offer big jobs, like they did with Rep. Matheson's brother, who got a big federal judgeship if his brother would just vote yes for health care." Fox & Friends, Stephen Hayes, Sean Hannity and Andrew Napolitano have also jumped on the bandwagon.
UPDATE: Michael W. McConnell, director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and a former federal judge appointed by Bush, definitively debunks the smear in a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Earlier this afternoon, Fox News' Megyn Kelly hosted a "fair and balanced" debate that featured Chris Wilson, who was identified as a "GOP pollster and strategist." Wilson, predictably, did not have much good to say about health care reform or today's CBO score:
Wilson, though, doesn't just poll for the GOP. His firm, Wilson Research Strategies, boasts of their ability "to translate precise data into increased profit margins in every sphere of the health and pharmaceutical industries." In other words, Wilson boasts of his experience in polling for the very companies that will be affected by the health care bill he's criticizing.
Fox News consistently avoids the conflicts of interest of health care reform opponents, having similarly failed to disclose the conflicts of Rick Santorum, Frank Donatelli, Mary Grealy, Andrea Tantaros, John Breaux, and Newt Gingrich
Mediaite's Steve Krakauer writes:
The Casey Anthony trial is going on right now, and FNC's Harris Faulkner reported some "breaking news" this afternoon that ABC News had paid Anthony $200,000.
Unfortunately, this news was broken 18 months ago.
Faulkner is live from the "breaking news desk" with the news. "Something was confirmed that had only been rumored before, where did she get all the money to pay the attorney's up til now," she said.
Read Krakauer's entire report and watch the video here.
Does the GOP's most reliable human talking point, Fred Barnes, see the writing on the wall that Democrats might just have the votes to pass health care? Perhaps, because in his Journal op-ed today, Barnes signals an interesting new avenue of attack: Even if health care is passed, conservatives will never stop complaining and attacking it.
From Barnes [emphasis added]
America will be in a constant health-care war if ObamaCare is enacted. Passage wouldn't end the health-care debate. Rather, it would perpetuate ObamaCare as the dominant issue for decades to come, reshape politics, create an annual funding crisis in Congress, and generate a spate of angry lawsuits.
If ObamaCare passes, sooner or later the backlash against it would morph into a movement to repeal it. Republicans would likely make repeal a top issue in congressional elections this November. The GOP is expected to win a substantial number of seats in Congress this fall. If Republicans take control of the House or Senate or both, clashes over health care would be unavoidable.
To me this reads more like a threat than a reasoned argument for not passing health care reform. Are Democrats really supposed to read that and say to themselves, 'OMG, not only are Republicans against health care reform, but they're going keep being against it for years to come'? Since when do majority parties not do something because the party out of power promises to stomp their feet for a really, really long time?
Yet that's precisely the argument Barnes is making -- Dems can avoid right-wing headaches if they just walk away from health care.
Not that I doubt the resolve Barnes advertises. Anyone who remembers the Clinton years, and specifically impeachment and Whitewater, certainly understands the right-wing desire to wage political warfare indefinitely, and to litigate their political differences if possible. And that's certainly the kind of combat the right-wing media crave.
Indeed, there's no doubt in my mind that if health care reform passes, Fox News is going to keep the issue front and center for the rest of this decade, if necessary. And I assume Democrats understand that the GOP Noise Machine is never going to let go of the hot-button issue. (It's good for ratings.)
Still, it's rather curious to watch a GOP pundit like Barnes spell out how future attacks and unpleasantness (i.e. it's "only the beginning") are reasons for Democrats not to pass health care reform.
We've noted News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch's problems with the Internet in the past:
Well, News Corp wants you to know that, despite rumors to the contrary, they aren't selling MySpace.
Dylan Stableford of The Wrap's Media Alley blog writes:
On Tuesday, Business Insider reported what has been speculated for awhile now: that News Corp. and its chief, Rupert Murdoch, are dangling MySpace, the once-mighty social network that has fallen out of favor – and pop culture – since Rupe bought the then-popular site for $580 million in 2005.
The report cited a "gossiper close to News Corp. management" who claims the company is peddling MySpace to private equity firms with an asking price of – get this -- $700 million. Tech Crunch followed with a report that an investment bank, Code Advisors, is working on a possible spin-off, despite the bank's denial. (I spoke with one private equity source, who sees just about every large media deal come across his desk, but he hadn't seen a book on MySpace.)
On Wednesday, News Corp. issued this terse statement: "News Corp is committed to MySpace and is not seeking a buyer."
So, the death spiral of the one-time leading social network site continues. Congratulations Mr. Murdoch. Money well spent.