On last Thursday's Hannity show, host Sean Hannity turned over the reins of the show to Ohio gubernatorial candidate (and former Fox News host) John Kasich. After Kasich promoted his campaign website, Hannity responded: "I want to put this -- put some emphasis on this because this is really important. Explain to people why -- we cannot afford to lose that race?" Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik explains just what's wrong with this:
There isn't a reputable mainstream newspaper in the country that lets its editorial page be used for partisan fund raising. What Hannity allowed Kasich to do on his show Thursday crosses the line as to what's acceptable for any news organization, and we all know it isn't the first Hannity time has done this.
If Fox News management wants mainstream critics to defend the organization's right to be treated like a news organization, it needs to behave like one -- all the time. Hannity's bosses need to publicly put an end to such partisan on-air fund raising now -- not sometime in November after the election.
We've been pointing out for some time now repeated instances of Fox News - who claims to be a "fair and balanced" news organization -- fundraising for the Republican Party and its candidates and repeating GOP talking points on air verbatim. Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell reportedly recently said that she had Hannity "in my back pocket."
In the case of Kasich's campaign, his appearance on Hannity was the ninth appearance on Fox News since he declared his candidacy. In September, the Democratic Governor's Association filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission for what they claim are two apparent violations of Ohio Election law connected to Kasich's appearances on Fox:
The Democratic Governors Association cited two apparent violations of Ohio law: A prohibited in-kind contribution in the form of free political advertising, and failure to include a proper disclaimer for the political advertising. The complaint says Kasich raised more than $21,000 from the appearance, citing an Aug.21 speech that Kasich made in Cincinnati, where he reportedly said, "The other night, I was on a show with a man who always gives you the last word, Bill O'Reilly. And I said, if you want to help my campaign, our campaign, and you have any extra nickels or pennies, send them to us. In the next 21 hours, we received over $21,000."
Fox hasn't acted like a real news organization for years, but they've gone to a new low this year in their role as the campaign arm of the GOP.