Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Bob Shrum Aids And Abets The FOX News Agenda

Reported by Ellen - June 5, 2007 -

Retired Democratic consultant Bob Shrum did FOX News’ handiwork for them on last night’s (6/4/07) Hannity & Colmes by allowing the sections of his new book that maligned presidential candidate John Edwards to be highlighted and by making only a weak attempt to put them in any kind of larger context. With video.

According to Amazon.com, Shrum’s book has 544 pages and includes details about Ted Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and John Kerry, among others. But predictably, Fox focused on the swipes taken at Edwards. During much of the interview, the chyron read, “Shrum dishes the dirt about former Senator John Edwards.” They couldn’t even be honest enough to admit that the dish was really about dirtying a presidential candidate.

Sean Hannity sounded delighted as he told Shrum that he had used “pretty harsh words” about Edwards.

Shrum answered, “That was a big rollup,” whatever that meant.

“Is he a lightweight?” Hannity asked with the kind of enthusiasm rarely seen when he interviews Democrats.

If Shrum didn’t recognize what was going on, he ought to give back every cent he made as a political expert. But he did next to nothing to counter it. “I think he wasn’t ready to run for president in 2004,” Shrum answered. Fair enough. But instead of emphasizing how much Edwards has grown, developed and matured as a candidate, Shrum damned him further with rather faint praise. “Since then, he’s done a huge amount of work on poverty. I think it’s great that he’s brought the issue of poverty back to the Democratic Party. He’s got a serious health care plan but I was writing not a book about stick figures and paper mache people… but about people who have flaws.” Then Shrum launched into a defense of his claim that Edwards had said he doesn’t feel comfortable around gays.

Hannity, still unusually amiable and enthusiastic asked, "What does that tell you?"

That was the perfect opportunity for Shrum to build up Edwards or to put the incident into a context of the larger field of strong candidates or even to point out how all candidates, including Republicans, have their vulnerabilities and inconsistencies. Instead, Shrum replied, “People are mixtures of ambition and idealism, hope and maneuvering,” Then, as Alan Colmes broke in to begin his portion of the interview, Shrum finally said, “(Edwards has) clearly evolved on that. I think his evolution is genuine.”

It was Alan Colmes who brought up the fact that Edwards supports civil unions, the Ryan White care act and non-discrimination in employment. “You have no question about his support,” Colmes half-asked, half-announced.

“This wasn’t an attempt to write a gotcha,” Shrum insisted. “I describe the evolution of other people in this book.” But he made no attempt to elaborate. He simply went back to talking about Edwards' alleged dislike of gays. “John Edwards, himself, said a few months ago, up in New Hampshire, that the background he came from made it very difficult for him to come to terms with (gay marriage).” Shrum added, “I think he HAS evolved. I absolutely believe it.”

Regular readers know that I adamantly believe that Democrats should appear on FOX News as often as possible. But I am just as adamant that when they do, they should understand and be prepared for the kinds of tactics they will face. Sadly, Democratic preparedness is a rarety on FOX. Was Shrum another clueless Dem, unaware that he was playing right into the FOX News agenda or was he so eager to sell his book that he didn’t care? I report, you decide.

Update: The headline for video of this segment on FOXNews.com says, Blasting John Edwards. Author and Democratic political consultant Bob Shrum on surprising revelations in his tell all tome