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Post-interview analysis emphasizes negative for Clinton, positives for Republicans

Reported by Chrish - December 17, 2007 -

Let's analyze the "fairness" and "balance" on FOX and Friends this morning 12/17/07, shall we? In the FOX and Friends First (ungodly) hour, which I missed, apparently the trio interviewed John McCain and Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat-turned-Independent who has announced his endorsement of Republican McCain. In the second hour (which is really the first hour of "FOX and Friends) they had live interviews, via feeds, with Republican Fred Thompson and Democrat Hillary Clinton. It was the third hour (or the second hour of the second show, if you prefer) that exhibited the FOXian agenda and tactics.

The questions asked of the two candidates were different. Paraphrased, Thompson was asked
- You're on a campaign blitz. In 30 seconds, what's your closing argument? (Refers to Law and Order character, allows thirty second stump.)
- Show of hands - how many felt moderator was crazy to want global warming stance defined with a show of hands? ((Allows rehabilitation of any negative impressions for not co-operating; still did not address issue one way or another.)
- You had a strong showing in that debate. What do you need to do for a strong showing in Iowa? (Positive word, allows Thompson to highlight strength - no flip-flops, no ethical problems, etc. It should be noted that during much of his answer he refered to himself in the plural - "we" and "our.")
- You remain hopeful, but why has Huckabee caught fire recently? (Opening for Thompson to speculate on Huckabee's longevity.)
- You contend you're clearly the conservative choice (which was followed through with a chyron for part of the remaining segment). How will you prove it? (Obvious.)
- "They say" youhave to be at least third in Iowa to compete - what'll you do if you're not? (Thompson's aiming for first.)
- You're so animated - are you hitting your stride? (He's come from behind before (makes me wonder what kind of voting machines they had in TN if he went from -20 to +20) and he'll just keep on being Fred. He's never lost yet.)

In the following segment Clinton was asked (after banter about where she was (Drake's Diner in Des Moines - Doocy was familiar with it)
- Somebody's out at the airport gassing up the Hill-icopter - what's that? ((Compared to good old Fred, who's taking the bus.)
- The Friends had asked people to email in questions for Hillary - not Fred - or so they said. "Emailers" wanted to know what she thinks is the most important issue facing America right now? (Clinton named two, ending the Iraq war and Healthcare - tipping her hand and letting Dick Morris know what to dig deepest on, letting FOX know what to ridicule her most on. Thompson spoke in platitudes and answered no specifics.)
- People are really worried about the 'global war on terror;' how will she fight it? (Good for Clinton, she emphasized that she will bring in competent, qualified people, in comparison to this crew. Hm, how will Fred fight it? Don't know.)
- What do you make of Obama's surge? (Reinforces negative about her campaign; portrays her as vulnerable. She answers Not much, takes longer view.)
- Your husband said it will take a miracle for you to win Iowa. The "comeback kid" is already taken - what would you be? Gal?
- How do you keep yourself going? It's so grueling. (Has a man been asked that recently, or just the fairer sex?)

They got about the same amount of time, slightly more for Clinton. But she got way more attention in the following hour, 3:1. Hillary One-on-One - Did she make her case?" asked the teaser chyron, as Kelly Wright (in for Kilmeade) asked aloud "... you heard her on the war on terror, healthcare, and the battle for Iowa - but did she make her case?"

First, Bill Kristol was invited to comment . (They don't come any more dangerous or radical right, no matter how aw shucks pleasant he pretends to be.)

Asked by Wright if Clinton is worried about Iowa, Kristol replied that of course she 's worried, that's why she did all six morning shows this morning. "She's worried, the campaign is worried, there's a lot of internal turmoil, a lot of second-guessing on some of her team." The main thing, he says, is that she was running as the inevitable nominee, and now it doesn't appear so. An Iowa Congressman has backed Obama and the Governor's wife id endorsing Edwards (although moments later the endorsement of Clinton by the Des Moines Register is downplayed in the chyron - "Does Register's Praise Matter?").

Asked about the Republican side, he had laludatory comments for all but ended up predicting that Thompson and McCain might prevail in the end.

A bit later the couch-sitters discussed Clinton again. They repeated the talking point that she's slipping inthe polls (although that might be true in individual states she still has a substantial lead in virtually all national polls) and Kelly Wright, who did not participate in the interview, noted that she displayed her "likeability." It was nice knowing ya, Kelly.

Doocy spoke to the camera and reiterated that they had opened the questions up to the viewers, and a lot wanted to know how she was going to fight the GWoT, and lots of other questions, "and a lot of [you] out there who had some really hard questions, if we would have asked she probably wouldn't have returned for another eleven years." They laughed, ha ha ha ha, and congratulated themselves on "a very fair and balanced interview."

Another interesting thing, said Gretchen Carlson, is that her husband Bill, her star power, recently has said some thigs that don't gel with her campaign. On Charlie Rose last week he said voting for Barack Obama was a roll of the dice, basically, so very interesting that on the one hand we have him speaking out, will it hurt or help Hill, and on the other hand we have iowa January 3rd.

What? That was a very clumsy way of introducing the image of behind the scenes tensions at Chez Clinton.

Doocy picked up on it anyway, detailing that Clinton (Bill) said that electing Obama would be like electing a gifted television commentator, simply not ready for the job. Wright interjected that Obama had responded by reminding folks that Bill Clinton in 1992 was similarly inexperienced but brought a freshness, a newness, and that's what Obama brings.

Doocy riffed off that to remind all that Barack Obama has not been on FOX and Friends and if his camp was watching, there's an open invitation.

Somehow, after Doocy's smears of Obama, alluding he went to a madrassah and is a radical Muslim, I don't think so.

As has been said many times, it's not always what FOX does to a guest when they're there; sometimes it's the "analysis" that follows that gets the message out.