On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume asserted that there is a "difference" between the Democratic and Republican parties because former Republican Rep. Mark Foley is "out of office and in total disgrace in his party" after allegedly engaging in sexually explicit communications with underage congressional pages, while President Bill Clinton and Rep. Barney Frank were not similarly reprimanded for their "inappropriate behavior." However, neither the Clinton nor the Frank allegations involved minors.
On the October 1 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume baselessly claimed that the resignation of former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), for reportedly engaging in sexually explicit communications with one or more House of Representatives pages, reveals "a difference between the two parties on these issues." Hume contended that Foley was forced out of office by the Republican House leadership for his "very serious misbehavior," whereas "[i]nappropriate behavior toward subordinates didn't cost [former Rep.] Gerry Studds his Democratic seat in Massachusetts, nor [Rep.] Barney Frank [D-MA] his. Nor did inappropriate behavior toward a subordinate even cost Bill Clinton his standing within the Democratic Party, even though, indirectly at least, he was impeached for it." But as National Public Radio correspondent and Fox News contributor Mara Liasson pointed out, Frank "was not with a subordinate." Additionally, neither Frank nor Clinton had a sexual relationship with a minor, whereas Foley allegedly engaged in sexually explicit communications with at least one congressional page.
After Hume suggested a "difference" between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans will not permit "inappropriate behavior" of the kind Foley is accused of, Fox News analyst and NPR senior correspondent Juan Williams replied of the Republican leadership: "It took them long enough." Indeed, the House Republican leadership -- including House Majority Leader John Boehner (OH), National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (NY) and a senior aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (IL) -- has known for months about Foley's emails, as Media Matters for America has noted.
From the October 1 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:
CHRIS WALLACE (host): Does this feed into a sense that -- certainly, at least the Democrats are arguing that it shows an arrogant Republican majority that, you know, is more concerned about incumbency than about, in this particular case, protecting kids?
HUME: It is very serious misbehavior on the part of Congressman Foley. Whether it stems from some overall arrogance or just the weakness of the human flesh is another question. It's probably worth noting here that there's a difference between the two parties on these issues. Inappropriate behavior toward subordinates didn't cost Gerry Studds his Democratic seat in Massachusetts, nor Barney Frank his. Nor did inappropriate behavior toward a subordinate even cost Bill Clinton his standing within the Democratic Party, even though, indirectly at least, he was impeached for it. Mark Foley found out about this -- was found out to have done this, and he's out of office and in total disgrace in his party.
WILLIAMS: It took them long enough, don't you think?
HUME: What do you mean?
WILLIAMS: Well, gee, they knew about it way back, no action is taken. That's the question.
HUME: We don't know --
LIASSON: I think the Barney Frank deal was not with a subordinate. We should correct that. We should correct that.
WALLACE: Yeah, I think we should point that out. I don't think Barney Frank was involved with a page.
LIASSON: Frank was not with a subordinate.
HUME: It is worth noting that we don't yet know exactly what they knew and when they knew it. This -- obviously, we'll find out this week.