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Fox and Ford

Reported by Chrish - October 29, 2006 -


Despite the election being a little more than a week away, there was only a minimum of politics squeezed in among segments about the California wildfires, financial advice for women, and confessing your sins on an Internet site (which host John Kasich thought was a good idea) on Heartland yesterday 10/28/06. He did have a discussion about the election with Republican strategist Ed Rollins and Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf (whose name was misspelled on the banner) during which Carl Cameron phoned in from the Ford/Corker debate site at Vanderbilt Univeristy.

Carl never disappoints when it comes to working in not so subtle digs at Democrats and this piece was par for the course. He began by saying that the Ford/Corker race was one of the “nastiest” in terms of attack ads that both parties have run against each other and noted that Harold Ford “suggested that there were racial undertones” in one of the ads. (Comment: the racist “call me” ad has been deemed, by a preponderance of media sources and political pundits including republicans, as one of the worst ads of this political season. USA Today sums up the general impression: “But of the two ads, the one in Tennessee is the more problematic. It makes a number of outrageous claims about Ford, couched as humor. And whether intended or not, its sexual element has potent racist overtones in a state where blacks were lynched for expressing interest in white women.” Ford’s ads focus on Corker’s record – not character).

Cameron, in true Fox fashion, said, “some people are saying that the Ford campaign is becoming unhinged.” (Comment: interesting use of Michelle Malkin terminology!) As an example of Ford’s supposed melt-down, Cameron referenced Ford “crashing” Corker’s press conference and an “altercation” between campaign staffers in a parking lot. (Comment: While, the “crashing” received coverage, this altercation received no coverage, that I could determine, on the MSM.) Cameron concluded with a brief summation of the political background of both candidates that included making the mistake of saying that Corker was a former governor of Tennessee – wrong, Corker was the former mayor of Chattanooga! (Comment: Carl, or his staff, needs to be more careful with the fact checking!)

The Ford theme continued with a Kasich promo of an upcoming segment about political ads that featured a shot of – you guessed it – the Playboy Bunny!!!! The segment was actually a little documentary of “political style over substance” done by Fox’s Molly Hennenberg. She talked about how politicians are “tweaking their appearances” in order to appear more attractive. She added, “it’s not all about looks” and then mentioned how Hillary Clinton’s opponent said that Senator Clinton had plastic surgery. (Comment: a bit snarky – ya think?)

She saved Ford for last in describing him as a self proclaimed bachelor and showed a tape of Ford stating that he liked football and girls, after which comment Molly asserted that “they seem to like him, too.” Of course, the shot of the “Bunny” asking Harold to call her was shown, just to reinforce the notion that Ford likes white girls.

Comment: The RNC pulled this outrageous ad (which Corker “denounced”) last week; but it continues to air as part of any Fox coverage given to Harold Ford, Jr. Thus, the RNC gets free campaign airtime and Ford continues to be smeared.

Fox is well aware that propaganda, in order to be effective, must be reinforced and the Ford ad is a good example of this technique. The race is very close and Fox will do all it can to smear Ford. The ironic thing is that in 2000, “culture warrior” and “traditionalist” Bill O’Reilly attended a party at the Playboy Mansion and he has had a history of some interesting phone calls. Eleanor Clift sums it up nicely: “It is shameful for the GOP to stoop this low to hang on to its majority. Ford has run a textbook campaign for a Democrat in the South, or anywhere for that matter, and the Republican National Committee wants him stopped.”

Fox News knows what to do!