In an April 10 Politico article on the decisions by Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama to not participate in a debate co-sponsored by Fox News, Politico senior political writer Ben Smith wrote: "Each of the leading Democrats has handled the situation differently, reflecting different relationships with Fox." Smith went on to claim: "Fox's coverage of the Clintons, too, while rarely warm, has been largely respectful, and appears to have retreated from the stridently anti-Clinton line of the 1990s."
In fact, in 2007 alone, Media Matters for America has documented many examples of Fox News personalities and their guests making false, misleading, or offensive claims about Hillary Clinton:
- Hannity falsely claimed Clinton "blamed" Bush for mugging of 101-year-old woman
- Hannity denounced as "hate speech" Clinton statement that GOP phone-jamming convictions were evidence of "vast right-wing conspiracy"
- Hannity falsely claimed Clinton called herself the "JFK of 2008," baselessly blamed her for Giuliani YouTube video
- Fox's Hill on Clinton's "Southern drawl": "[I]f she was attending, say, a GLAAD convention, would she speak with a lisp?"
- Luntz likened Clinton's praise of Alinsky in her senior thesis to praise of "people from Germany in the 1930s and 40s"
- "Madrassa" redux? Gibson cited dubious tabloid article to smear Obama, Clinton
- Fox News' Cameron assigned racially charged comments to "Clinton campaign"
- WSJ's Kirkpatrick baselessly claimed Clinton "moved right" on abortion, health care
- Journal Ed. Report selectively quoted Clinton to claim she is "disingenuous" and "supported the war" in 2004
- O'Reilly and Miller recycled false attack on Clinton's attendance at 9-11 memorials
- Morris' evidence that Clintons were behind Obama-madrassa smear? "Obviously they were"
- Fox's Cameron: Clinton's proposal to tax oil profits would be unpopular with "capitalists"
- O'Reilly: "Hillary just looks like a zombie" during SOTU
- Morris still pushing allegation that Clinton camp planted Obama smear with Insight
- Fox defense of Gibson's report on Obama smear missed mark
- Hannity accused Clinton of "leaking" Obama drug story from Obama memoir
From Smith's April 10 article:
Each of the leading Democrats has handled the situation differently, reflecting different relationships with Fox. While Edwards has responded swiftly to calls from the liberal, activist, online wing of his party, Obama might have had more personal motives. His campaign has been openly hostile at times to Fox since the network aired an Insight Magazine report suggesting he'd had an extremist Muslim education in Indonesia. Fox later corrected the report.
Obama exited the Fox/CBC debate Monday with a low-key statement from his spokesman, Bill Burton, that CNN would be a "more appropriate venue" for a debate. And Clinton appeared content to be the last one off the debate roster, putting out a statement that didn't even mention Fox by name and seemed calculated to preserve the carefully nurtured relationship between the Clintons and Fox News' leaders.
Bill Clinton and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch have emerged as allies at times in recent years, with Murdoch appearing at Clinton's annual New York conference, and Clinton even employing Murdoch's daughter-in-law at his foundation.
Fox's coverage of the Clintons, too, while rarely warm, has been largely respectful, and appears to have retreated from the stridently anti-Clinton line of the 1990s. Last year, Murdoch's New York Post even endorsed Hillary Clinton for reelection to the Senate. In 2005, Bill Clinton recorded a message of praise for Ailes for a gala at which the former Republican political operative was honored.
If Clinton's careful courtship is driven by a respect for the power of Murdoch's media properties -- which, in England, are often credited with having made Tony Blair the prime minister -- Edwards' campaign hardly cloaks its disdain.