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Fox News Floundering On Rove, McClellan without GOP Talking Points

Reported by Judy - April 19, 2006

Fox News struggled Wednesday (April 19, 2006) to make sense of the shake-up in the Bush administraion, but the folks on "Dayside" were clearly out of their depth without guidance from the Republican National Committee. Ken Mehlman, is the fax machine not working?

Of course, putting everything in the best possible light for Bush is always Fox News' goal, but what exactly was that?

Brit Hume appeared on "Dayside" and did his best to downplay the significance of the departures in general. Only a few people are leaving, he said, and if Bush were really in trouble and wanted to make himself look like a strong leader, he would be firing cabinet members and trying to put in a whole new team. But Hume says these are only minor changes in an administration that has had relatively few of them.

In the case of Scott McClellan announcing his resignation, Hume's first step was to make it clear that he resigned voluntarily and was not pushed out. When "Dayside" co-host Alisyn Camerota suggested McClellan's departure might be a case of "blaming the messenger," Hume quickly pointed out that McClellan had planned to go later this year and only moved it up when new Bush chief of staff Josh Bolton on Monday asked people who were planning to leave anytime before the end of the term to please do it soon. Hume said it "had been thought there was some dissatisfaction with him" but he implied that was not the case. Instead, McClellan probably was just tired of being the punching bag for the media, which Hume says can be so tough. (Well, not that reporters have punched this administration very hard, until lately.)

In any event, McClellan apparently has let it be known that he is a little dissatisfied with some people himself. In a later segment on "Dayside," Texas author Wayne Slater, author of Bush's Brain, was interviewed about the news that Karl Rove would no longer be a policy adviser to Bush.

Instead of confining himself to that topic, Slater went off onto McClellan, who also is from Texas, saying, "I know for a fact back here in Texas from talking to members of the McClellan family that they weren’t very happy about what happened when Scott was sent out, they believe by Rove and Libby, to say that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with the Valerie Plame affair when in fact theywere involved in some capacity. ... He felt that damaged his credibility. You aren’t going to hear Scott talk about that, but that’s fact."

Why telling a lie about something like that would bother McClellan when he has told so many others is beyond me, except for the fact of that little old grand jury investigating pending out there. Was McClellan participating in the cover-up and is he under suspicion for that? Inquiring minds want to know whether Bush just wanted to remove another potential indictee from his inner circle.

The "Dayside" duo also attempted a discussion of the significance of Rove's change in status. Hume said that the change will allow Rove to focus on his political role in the months leading up to the 2006 mid-term elections. With that apparently in mind, Camerota asked Slater if Rove's change in status was not a loss, but in fact a gain, apparently not reallizing how one-sided her question sounded (giving her the benefit of the doubt.)

"Well, look this is a loss. You can't paint it any othe way," Slater said.

Mehlman needs to get back from lunch with big-time donors and fax these morons some talking points. He can't expect Fox News to do this all by themselves. It's painful to watch them try to figure out "the good news" all by themselves.

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