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Fox Morning Show Lies About Political Firings of U.S. Attorneys

Reported by Judy - March 14, 2007 -

The co-hosts of Fox News' morning show Wednesday (March 14, 2007) lied about the nub of controversy over the Bush administration's firing of eight U.S. attorneys and made an outrageous claim that President Clinton did the same thing. Then they offered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a chance to respond to his critics in an interview that failed to challenge him on why the attorneys were fired. With video.

"Fox and Friends First" portrayed the controversy over the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys as mostly an issue of whether President Bush has the authority to fire U.S. attorneys, something that is not an issue.

The co-hosts interviewed right-wing writer Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner, who framed the issues as whether it was proper to fire the attorneys and whether Gonzales' staff fully briefed Congress on the firings. Nothing about whether the attorneys were fired because they failed to aggressively pursue cases against Democrats.

Then co-host Steve Doocy claimed, "In fact, I think it was March 24, 1993, Mr. Sammon, that Attorney General Janet Reno demanded the prompt resignation of all U.S. attorneys, wasn't it?"

Replied Sammon, "Yes, all 93 were summarily fired."

Said Doocy, "I don't remember that being a big storm."

Sammon went on to criticize Sen. Hillary Clinton for speaking out about the firings, distorting her words to say that she implied that if Bush had fired all 93, that would be OK. "Instead Bush was restrained" in firing only eight, Sammon said.

Of course, Sammon did not point out that the Clinton administration had just come into office and was in the process of putting together its team in the Justice Department. Didn't Bush fire all the Clinton prosecutors when he first took office?

Later in the program, co-host Gretchen Carlson interviewed Gonzales about the firings. When she asked Gonzales if the attorneys were fired for poor performance or for political reasons, Gonzales said they were fired for "dissatisfaction."

Rather than press him about what kind exactly he meant by "dissatisfaction," Carlson let it pass. She did not insist that he answer questions about specific cases, such as the attorney fired for prosecuting Republican Rep. Randy Cunningham.

And she let Gonzales stress that he will not resign, but serves at the pleasure of the president.

Fox News -- where Republicans in trouble go for soft-ball interviews. Fittingly, the show had a "spring training day" theme.