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February 4, 2008

Fox Doublecrosses Hillary, McCain

Yesterday morning, I watched with some disbelief as Fox News Sunday managed to get John McCain and Hillary Clinton together for a brief three-way chat with Chris Wallace. Nothing much occurred, but I wondered what would have made either candidate agree to a cheery bit of Senatorial comity 48 hours before the Super Tuesday primaries. According to Howard Kurtz, they didn't:

Advisers to Hillary Clinton and John McCain felt misled yesterday when "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace prodded the candidates into talking to each other after they had agreed to be interviewed separately.

While McCain was being interviewed in Washington, Clinton aides grew suspicious when producers asked her to remain in the interview chair in St. Louis for 15 minutes--ostensibly so she could hear his comments--and refused to turn off her mike so she could have a private conversation. That enabled Wallace to tell McCain he was about to interview the former first lady and "well, actually, she's right there right now. Senators, do you want to say anything to each other?"

No harm was done--both candidates said they looked forward to a "respectful debate" if they face off in November--but the McCain side was particularly unhappy.

I'll bet they were. Part of the conservative complaint against McCain is his deference to Democrats while treating conservatives much more harshly. That got put on full display yesterday, as the two exchanged not just pleasantries but assurances that a general-election contest between the two would be "respectful". Republicans may want someone less inclined to put the gloves on against Hillary than taking them off against fellow Republicans.

Both candidates got taken by surprise, but Hillary hasn't got Democrats wondering if the Clintons can fight hard enough against Republicans.

Fox and Wallace owe both candidates an apology.


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Fox News has been villified for years by the Left as a "tool of the Right wing" right alongside talk radio and, later, the starboard blogosphere.  Its slogans "We report, you decide" and "fair and balanced" have been angrily mocked... [Read More]

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