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Karl Rove and Chris Van Hollen face off on FOX News Sunday

Reported by Chrish - December 2, 2007 -

Chris Wallace "moderated" the discussion between Bush adviser Karl Rove and DCCC chair and US Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D - MD) this morning 12/2/07 on FOX News Sunday. Rove frequently interrupted and overtalked Van Hollen, and at times Wallace laughed as if at a wayward, unruly child.

Rove was presented as a "mastermind" behind two "victories" while Van Hollen was portrayed as trying to "hold onto control." Subtle.

About 5.5 minutes into the segment (part one) note that Chris Wallace posed a question to Chris Van Hollen. He got out one sentence in reply when Rove laughed loudly and began to interrupt and badger. When Van Hollen insisted the question was to him, Rove falsely asserted that Van Hollen had passed it to him, overtalked all his points, and well within a minute Wallace said that the Congressman had made his point (who could hear it, with Rove talking the whole time?) and passed the floor to Rove. When Van Hollen finally answered, a minute later, Rove immediately interrupted again and Wallace admonished him to let Van Hollen finish. Rove continued to overtalk and argue and Wallace gave up, laughing, and shortly after said he was going to 'pretend' he was in control, introducing another topic.

Later on, beginning part two, Rove was allowed to put forth Republican talking points defending their chances in 2008 and propagandizing soundbites about the what the Democrats will do - increased taxes, more regulation, decreased support of the military, increased spending - without rebuttal. However, Van Hollen introduced a topic on his own and suggested Rove take the opportunity to set the record straight about his revisionist comments that Congress pushed Bush into invading Iraq "prematurely." Rove was prepared, with extensive notes, and took the floor for over a minute. Wallace 'pretended' to attempt to put the discussion back on the present but Rove insisted on reading more quotes to defend himself (and Bush, by extension). Van Hollen was allowed to read "one" quote (which he slipped from his pocket) by Ari Fleischer refuting Rove's claims, Rove disagreed, and Wallace struggled to regain the moderator's seat.

Wallace referenced Senator Murtha's recent assessment that "the surge is starting to work" - on FOX it's always compressed into that Republican talking point, when Murtha has clarified what he sees as a misinterpretation of his words, saying

"The military surge has created a window of opportunity for the Iraqi government," Murtha said Friday. "Unfortunately, the sacrifice of our troops has not been met by the Iraqi government and they have failed to capitalize on the political and diplomatic steps that the surge was designed to provide."
Wallace asked Van Hollen, essentially, if the war goes well or becomes less of an issue, will that harm Democrats in 2008?

He was allowed to answer, uninterrupted, and Rove got a different question. Wallace referred to an unnamed poll that said the number of Americans who think the war is going well is up sharply, but the same poll found that a sizeable majority still wants the troops brought home "faster than Bush is calling for." (Comment: Bush has said it will not be his problem and doesn't see withdrawal of any meaningful number of troops while he is still in office, so Wallace's portrayal that Bush's withdrawal is simply too slow for most is disingenuous at best.) He asked Rove if the war, no matter how it's going, won't be a drag on Republicans? Of course Rove said no, and said "the same poll" said that only a small amount of Americans support Democrats like Van Hollen who want the US to get out "precipitously." (Apparently Mr. Rove was prepped and knew which poll Wallace was using because the host never named it or showed it.)

Van Hollen was allowed to rebut for a moment but was interrupted by the host this time, who cut him off mid-sentence and changed the subject to presidential candidates' polling numbers.

Speculation and fortune-telling commenced. Rove spoke uninterrupted for a minute, and Van Hollen spoke for about twenty seconds, with his remaining time spent on "analysis" of Hillary Clinton's troubles by Rove.

Wallace invited them both back, and Van Hollen accepted while Rove stipulated "only if he stops touching me."

No big dramatic blow-ups, but Rove dominated with tactics we see all the time from Hannity and O'Reilly and other rude FOX hosts - interrupting, overtalking, and badgering.


Part 1

Part 2