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Goose and Gander Treatment? Not Exactly

Reported by Judy - August 23, 2004 -

Fox and Friends must be taking some heat for its saturation coverage of the swift boat attacks on John Kerry because today (August 23) co-host Steve Doocy mentioned receiving a number of e-mails about the coverage. Doocy justified the coverage by saying that when Kerry's campaign complained about Bush's no-show for the National Guard, "we were all over it."

A look back at Newshounds archives for February 13-20, the week after the reporters brought the issue up during a White House briefing, shows something different.

On February 13, Fox and Friends interviewed Republican strategist Ed Rollins on Bush's National Guard service. "I think they're (Democrats) looking for anything," he said. Doocy must have forgotten this part, because then Rollins said, "The issue is not what John Kerry did 30 years ago and what George Bush did 30 years ago. The issue is who [is] best to lead the country."

On February 16, Fox and Friends interviewed Ed Gillespie, RNC chair, who brought up the Guard issue, but only in the context of the tone of the campaign. "It's going to be very nasty," he said. The issue came up on February 20, again in the context of campaign tone, when Brian Kilmeade asked a guest if the Guard service issue portended a "dirty fight."

On February 17, Wendell Goler mentioned the military service issue during his morning report from the White House, saying that Bush's schedule included a visit with troops but that he was not trying to revive the dispute over his Guard service. Not exactly equal to the swift boat coverage.

On February 19, Fox and Friends interviewed Mike Gallagher, syndicated radio host, and Susan Estrich, Democratic pundit. Bush's Guard service came up only in passing, after Gallagher said John Kerry was "Jane Fonda in a pin-striped suit." Estrich said, "If these guys want to refight Vietnam, we'll have the draft-dodger versus the war hero." The rest of the interview was about campaign issues in general.

I'd say the e-mailers were right to complain. Keep those cards and letters coming.