Fox News today has repeatedly aired a report by correspondent William LaJeunesse which was nothing more than a misleading attack on Ann Kirkpatrick, a member of Congress from Arizona's 1stcongressional district. Kirkpatrick is a first-term congresswoman who doesn't seem to have a lot of national recognition, but nevertheless, LaJeunesse ran an almost five minute segment attacking her for running for reelection as a fiscal conservative, a stance that he seemed to feel was unjustified.
LaJeunesse launched into a misleading hit piece on Kirkpatrick for claims she has made during her campaign, specifically that she ran against auto and wall street bailouts, and defied Democratic leadership in her opposition to TARP. Since Kirkpatrick was not in office when TARP was passed, she bases her opposition to the Wall Street bailouts on a January 2009 House resolution "dissapprov[ing] the obligation of any amount exceeding" the amount of money originally described in TARP. Her statement that she voted in opposition to auto bailouts is based on two votes against the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, also known as the cash-for-clunkers program. As a candidate, Kirkpatrick expressed opposition to TARP, saying that it "unfairly helped Wall Street over families." Nevertheless, LaJeunesse portrayed her as deceptive and misleading. Watch:
During this campaign season, we've become used to Fox News channel acting as the campaign arm of the GOP. We're all aware of News Corps' rather large donations to the Republican Governors Association and the conservative Chamber of Congress. We know that Fox allows Republican candidates to use their airwaves to help fund their campaigns. We're even used to regular attacks on prominent Democratic lawmakers, such as Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi. But this one is just baffling. So far today LaJeunesse has appeared on Fox four times to repeat the same hit piece on Rep. Kirkpatrick. His quibbling over the finer points of her record has received at least as much attention on Fox as recent anti-gay comments by the Republican candidate for governor of New York.
Kirkpatrick does appear on Roll Call's list of the 10 most vulnerable members of Congress, and her opponent was endorsed by Fox News contributor Sarah Palin. Is Fox now dropping what little pretense remains, and just directly going after the most vulnerable Democrats up for reelection? Given what we've seen this year, it wouldn't surprise us.