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Chris Wallace Ambushes John Edwards' Communications Director Over Edwards' Boycott of Fox News

Reported by Melanie - January 3, 2008 -

Your World w/Neil Cavuto was preempted today (January 3, 2008) by a two hour "You Decide" special on the Iowa caucuses hosted by Chris Wallace. As the two hours wound down, I began to think that I wouldn't have anything to post as Wallace did a relatively good job (we are talking Fox after all) of covering the major candidates (but not Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, for example), giving them equal time, and letting them or their representative -- when it came to the Democrats -- actually complete whole sentences without interruption.

But alas, with ten minutes to go, Wallace introduced Chris Kofinis, John Edwards' Communications Director. After setting the segment up (video below), Wallace said,

Before we get to the caucuses, let me ask you a question. When is Senator Edwards going to stop boycotting the voters who watch Fox News?

Kofinis replied,

Well, I think Senator Edwards has made it very clear that we have some issues about Fox News in terms of media consolidation and such, so I think that's a question that'll be, you know, we'll discuss later on, but I mean, I think it's an important one. We have some serious differences and those have been voiced very strongly.

Wallace:

But wouldn't it be to his advantage and to the advantage of those voters -- and there are millions of them who watch Fox News -- for them to hear his message of trying to fight for the middle class?

Kofinis:

It isn't about, I think, the viewers at Fox. This isn't actually about announcers at Fox or any of the reporters. You know, this is really about, I think, Rupert Murdoch and media consolidation and some real concerns that Fox sometimes does have a little bit of a bias in terms of how it reports the news, at least at how it comes across, and we've been, you know, very clear about that and very honest about it and we're definitely not the only ones who share that opinion, and hopefully it changes. We're very optimistic it will, and that's where we are.

Wallace asked why, during the 2004 presidential campaign, Edwards appeared on Fox News "dozens of times," and he "appeared on Fox News Sunday dozens of times."

Kofinis said,

Well, I mean, I have to be honest. I think things have gotten a little bit, you know, a little bit sidetracked in terms of coverage and I would say with respect to Fox, you know, the coverage is a little bit off and we have concerns about that and we've raised that.

Here's video:

Comment: I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, Wallace has every right to bring this up but on the other -- and this is my strongest feeling -- I thought it was nasty to do it today, in this context. Wallace highlighted all the other "major candidates" in a relatively fair way but when it came to Edwards, he opened with this. Fox hasn't given Edwards much airtime but labels like "millionaire trial lawyer" still hang in the air from 2004. If any loyal Fox watchers in Iowa were tuned in, chances are Wallace instantaneously turned them against John Edwards. Then again, Wallace probably confirmed for John Edwards why he's boycotting Fox -- because he (and the likes of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich) don't get a fair shake there.