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Obama's Announcing, But Fox Focuses on Giuliani

Reported by Judy - February 10, 2007 -

Sen. Barack Obama began his historic bid for the White House Saturday (February 10, 2007), but who does "Bulls and Bears" focus on? Rudy Giuliani, of course. With video.

Brenda Buttner, host of "Bulls and Bears," gave a nod to Obama's announcement, but quickly framed the issue of the day as "Wall Street's Choice: Barack or Rudy?" Why is the question Barack or Giuliani and not some other Republican?

One reason may be that one panelist, Tobin Smith, of changewaveresearch.com, declared himself a Giuliani supporter. More importantly, Fox News itself may be favoring the former New York mayor, whom it has taken to referring to as "America's Mayor" even in so-called straight news stories. And then there was sweetheart deal that Fox News gave Giuliani when he discussed his possible candidacy on "Hannity and Colmes." Not to mention the wax Giuliani that appeared on "Fox and Friends" this week.

For whatever reason, "Bulls and Bears" turned the day of Obama's announcement into a love fest about Giuliani, or as Buttner put it: "In about an hour, Barack Obama announces he's running for president. But is Wall Street's candidate for president Rudy Giuliani? ... Is it anti-climactic for Wall Street? Is the smart money already betting on Rudy Giuliani?"

Smith smacked that softball with, "Listen, Wall Street says this, we need a mayor to be the president of the United States. We don't need a senator. The number one issue we have is does this guy understand how to get things done?"

Gary B. Smith, of Exemplar Capital, sang Giuliani's praises, claiming he cut crime and welfare while mayor, calling him "the CEO in charge." Scott Bleier, of hybridinvestors.com, also couldn't hide his enthusiasm for Giuliani, giving him credit for making New York "the richest city in the world."

Democratic strategist Laura Schwartz defended Democrats in general as pro-growth, but missed a chance to discuss Giuliani's weaknesses, including his divisiveness as mayor. She did bring up his lobbying for drug companies to block importing drugs from Canada, but Bleier shouted her down with, "You mean he knows how to make money in the real world? What a shock!" Lobbying is the "real world"?

Schwartz got a little help from Bob Froehlich, of DWS Scudder, who voiced some skepticism of Giuliani. "I think the bigger issue is not what Wall Street wants but what Main Street wants," he said, noting that many Americans are nervous about saving for retirement and other issues that Wall Street is less concerned about. Froelich also warned that Giuliani's three marriages may be an issue with social conservatives.

Pat Dorsey, of morningstar.com, the show's token moderate, also warned that too little is known about Giuliani's beliefs on key issues, such as free trade and widening income inequality.

The overall impression created for viewers, however, was that Giuliani was where the "smart money" is and that that was the bigger story of the day, not Obama's announcement.

Ignoring the major news event of the day in order to skew coverage to something else is not only an exercise in mental gymnastics but often a sign of another agenda, in this case, dissing Obama and promoting Giuliani.

And live coverage of Obama's announcement doesn't make up for that.