Fox News Plays Host to GOP in Exile

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Fox News Plays Host to GOP in Exile

As further proof of its political agenda, network welcomes Republican operatives to spread falsehoods, fundraise on air

WASHINGTON - Today, Media
Matters for America
called attention to the numerous Republican
operatives on Fox News' payroll and airwaves. Further demonstrating that Fox is
effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news
outlet, a review of the network's coverage since September 1 reveals that these
individuals often use their airtime to advance false and misleading claims
about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise.

"I can't imagine the transition from
politics to Fox News is a difficult one,"
said Eric Burns,
President of Media Matters. "Between fundraising, smearing progressives, and
promoting conservative talking points, GOP operatives must feel right at home."

Burns added: "The evidence clearly shows
that Fox operates as a strategic political operation, not a legitimate news
network."

BACKGROUND:

In the past nine months, Fox News has transformed into a strategic
political operation. Media Matters has
documented network personalities -- on both "opinion" and "news" shows -- raising money for
Republican political action committees on air
, presenting GOP talking
points as news
, promoting
partisan protests
, advancing
falsehoods about Obama administration officials
, airing deceptively doctored
video to smear progressives
, and comparing President Obama and his policies
to Adolf Hitler, socialism, or the mafia.

If that weren't enough evidence that Fox News is not a
legitimate news channel,
Media Matters documented
today the revolving door that exists between the Republican Party and Fox News.
A number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future
GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists enjoy time on Fox's
payroll and airwaves. A review of Fox coverage since September 1 reveals that
these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often use
their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and
progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is
effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news
outlet.

  • Karl Rove: Ubiquitous in Bush White House, on Fox News.
    Karl Rove, who served as George W. Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of
    staff throughout most of his eight-year presidency, is a ubiquitous figure on
    Fox News. Since September 1, for instance, he has appeared at least 17 times --
    roughly twice a week -- on prime-time programs such as Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor in his capacity as
    Fox News contributor and political analyst. In all but one of those instances, he
    has appeared alone opposite Fox hosts. (On the October 18 edition of Fox News Sunday, he appeared opposite
    former Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe.) Moreover, Rove has
    repeatedly misled and misinformed during these appearances, including falsely
    claiming
    that Kevin Jennings, a Department of Education official, had
    engaged in "high-profile, in-your-face advocacy of things like NAMBLA and
    gay rights and queering elementary school curricula" and advancing the dubious
    claim
    , contradicted by the Congressional Budget Office, that the House
    health care bill will lead employers to "dump" coverage.

 

  • Dana Perino: From Bush White House podium to Fox News
    desk.
    After serving as Bush's press secretary, Perino became a Fox News contributor and Fox Forum columnist, appearing on Fox News' prime-time programs at
    least nine times since September 1, most frequently on Hannity, according to a search of the
    Nexis database. Perino typically appeared with other guests: She appeared with
    a Fox Business Network reporter in four instances, she appeared twice with
    Democrats or liberals (Bob Beckel and Julie Menin), and she appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel with syndicated
    columnist Charles Krauthammer, as well as Mara Liasson and Juan Williams of
    NPR. She appeared alone twice. During these appearances, Perino has falsely
    suggested
    that allowing federally subsidized health plans to cover abortion
    is inconsistent with current law and suggested
    that the White House is doing "like dictators do" by criticizing Fox.

 

  • John Bolton: Bush ambassador to Fox Nation.
    John Bolton, formerly Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, now serves as a Fox News contributor and has appeared alone opposite Fox
    prime-time hosts nine times since September 1. During his appearances, he has
    advanced misinformation, such as joining Fox host and conspiracy
    theorist
    Glenn Beck in suggesting that the Obama administration supports a
    one-world government.

 

  • Mike Huckabee: Former GOP presidential candidate uses
    Fox perch to fundraise for his PAC.

    Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee became host of the Fox News program Huckabee after his failed bid for the
    GOP's presidential candidate in 2008 and has guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor at least three times
    during 2009, according to a Nexis search. Moreover, in his capacity as Fox
    host, Huckabee has directed viewers to "go to balancecutsave.com," which redirects visitors to a Web
    page soliciting donations for Huckabee's political action committee, which financially
    supports Republican candidates and also pays his daughter's salary.
    Additionally, Huckabee has advanced falsehoods during his Fox appearances in
    2009, including falsely suggesting that Vice President Joe Biden disclaimed
    responsibility for the economy and that Bush did not claim to have
    "inherited" a weakening economy.

 

  • Newt Gingrich: From House speaker to Fox contributor to
    ... 2012 GOP pres. candidate?
    Fox News political contributor Newt Gingrich, who
    "joined the network in 1999, marking his first television deal since
    leaving Congress" that year as Republican speaker of the House of
    Representatives, repeatedly appears on Fox News prime-time programs alone
    opposite Fox's conservative hosts -- while considering
    a run for president in 2012. Since September 1, Gingrich has appeared as a
    contributor or analyst on Fox News at least 10 times, including four
    appearances on Hannity and
    two appearances on The O'Reilly Factor,
    according to a Nexis search. In seven instances he appeared alone, he appeared
    twice with his wife, Callista Gingrich, to promote their documentary and books,
    and he appeared once on a Fox News Sunday panel
    with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), former DNC chair Howard Dean, and Obama
    transition team head John Podesta. During these and other appearances on Fox,
    Gingrich advanced baseless and outrageous claims, including wondering
    if White House communications director Anita Dunn wants to subject Fox
    commentators to a "Cultural Revolution" and smearing
    then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor by claiming that she "clearly
    supported racial quotas" in the Ricci
    v. DeStefano
    case.

 

  • John Kasich: Fox host turned Ohio GOP gubernatorial candidate.
    Former Ohio Republican congressman John Kasich, who hosted the now-defunct Fox
    News program Heartland with John Kasich, guest-hosted The O'Reilly Factor at least twice in
    2009 prior to announcing his bid for Ohio governor on June 1. Kasich
    appeared on Hannity the day
    that he announced his candidacy and three times thereafter, according to a
    Nexis search. Additionally, Kasich's gubernatorial website features an article
    in its news section that identifies him as "Fox News' Kasich." During
    his Fox News tenure, Kasich has advanced misinformation, including forwarding
    the false
    Republican talking point
    that Democrats, for all their criticism of the
    Bush administration's Iraq war policy, had no plan of their own to deal with
    Iraq, terrorism, and national security in general. Media Matters has also documented
    that he claimed that the Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder and chairman of the Moral
    Majority Coalition, is not "some sort of extremist."

 

  • Dick Morris uses Fox appearances to smear Obama White
    House, fundraise.
    Fox News political analyst and Republican strategist
    Dick Morris is a ubiquitous presence on Fox News' prime-time programs,
    appearing nearly three times a week every week since September 1, according to
    a Nexis search. Morris has appeared alone opposite a Fox host since the
    beginning of September at least 20 times, appearances that are fairly evenly
    split among The O'Reilly Factor,
    Hannity, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.
    During the 2008 election cycle, Morris repeatedly urged
    viewers to donate to an anti-Obama political action committee without
    disclosing that that PAC had paid a firm connected to him; in recent days, he has repeatedly
    used
    his appearances to fundraise for a conservative group opposed to health care
    reform for which he is chief strategist. Additionally, while on Fox, Morris has
    repeatedly
    smeared Obama
    and his administration, claiming,
    for instance, that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may challenge Obama in
    the 2012 primary and that Obama "delay[ed] the decision to commit troops
    to Afghanistan ... because he wanted this [Nobel] prize."

 

  • Frank Luntz doctors words, facts while on Fox.
    GOP consultant and pollster Frank Luntz has repeatedly
    appeared during Fox News' prime-time shows since September 1, interviewed alone
    a total of six times on Hannity and
    The O'Reilly Factor and
    appearing twice on Glenn Beck
    with several 9-12 Moms. During his Fox News appearances, Luntz -- who authored
    an anti-reform health-care
    talking points memo
    intended to help conservatives defeat the Democrats'
    health reform initiative -- has repeatedly misinformed about health care
    reform. For instance, he has falsely
    suggested
    that reform legislation reduces physician payments and spawned
    another GOP talking point
    , asserting that the Democrats' proposed public
    insurance plan is a "government option" not a "public option,
    which is what the White House calls it." Beck also hosted Luntz to instruct
    his audience on the signs "the tea party people should be carrying."
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Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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