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Fox News Provides Free Campaign Ad for George Allen

Reported by Chrish - October 22, 2006 -

NOTE: GUEST BLOGGED by Priscilla

Yesterday 10/21/06 on Heatland with John Kasich, on of the segments was a look at the problems incurred by political figures and their spouses.

He began with the Elizabeth Edwards' (wife of Senator John Edwards) quote from Ladies Home Journal regarding Hillary Clinton:

“She and I are from the same generation," she said of the senator and former first lady. "We both went to law school and married other lawyers, but after that we made other choices. I think my choices have made me happier. I think I'm more joyful than she is."

Kasich describe the quote as “harsh” and noted that Ms. Edwards apologized to Senator Clinton. (Comment: What he didn’t note was Ms. Edwards statement that the magazine, through “omissions, editing, or error” misrepresented her.)

In introducing his two guests, Debbie Dingell (wife of Michigan representative, John Dingell) and Susan Allen (wife of Virginia senator, George Allen), Kasich stated, “only people who have been subjected to abuse can understand the pain that these insidious attacks bring.”

After Ms. Dingell’s description of personal attacks as “hurtful,” Kasich introduced Ms. Allen as “someone who had been through it all” and asked her how she could deal with those “who are calling your husband everything racist and all sorts of stuff.” This was Susan’s opportunity to launch into full campaign mode. She discussed the “impact on the kids” and how “nobody wants to hear these things about loved ones.” She added that she is “set free by the truth.” (Comment: the truth that your husband has made racist remarks and has a history of affection for the Confederacy?) She noted that, for the attackers, “perhaps it’s the only way they feel that they can bring George down.” (Comment: He’s doing a pretty good job of that on his own!!!) And in case you might have thought that George is a crude racist, she emphasized that “he has an incredible record, great integrity, and is a wonderful person.” (Comment: her sister-in-law doesn’t agree with her.) She doesn’t “know how effective” the “smear tactics” are; but is convinced that “people see through them” and are made “angry” by them.

After a brief statement by Ms. Dingell about “living in a fishbowl,” Kasich said, “the nasty ads, they’ll hurt anybody.” As if on cue, Ms. Allen responded that “what has compounded things this year are the bloggers and the internet.” She then alluded to attacks made on her children but when Kasich asked her the specifics, she said that she “couldn’t repeat what they say.”

Ms. Dingell concluded by commenting that congressional wives need to defend themselves and support each other.

Comment: While one could say that by featuring wives from both parties, the segment was “fair and balanced,” one could also say that only one wife, whose husband is under much legitimate criticism and is in a tight race, has an agenda – an agenda that is supported by Fox News. For Fox, this was a right wing propaganda “win-win” as it showed an aggrieved Republican spouse, suffering the “slings and arrows” of a nasty blogosphere while using the spouse to present the candidate in all his shining virtue.

Kasich could have mentioned that the so-called smears were generated by comments that Allen made in public and on camera. He could have mentioned Allen’s documented affection for the Confederacy – but no, the uninformed Fox viewer is left with the impression that George is a saint. There were campaign visuals shown while Ms. Allen was speaking – shots of George with this family and shots of George shaking hands with an African American truck driver. If Kasich had wanted to be truly “fair and balanced.” He could have had Jim Webb’s wife on to discuss how the Allen campaign is smearing her husband. How nice for George Allen that Fox is giving him free airtime for a sweet little campaign ad!!!