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Mitt Romney Gets Free Campaign Ad On Fox News

Reported by Chrish - January 14, 2008 -

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla

I might be willing to accept that the Fox’s election special (You Decide, 2008), which pre-empted “Hannity’s America” last night 1/13/08 was “fair and balanced” were it not for a 6 minute segment which amounted to free air time for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

The rest of the show was standard political reporting with reporters “on the scene” in various locations and a panel consisting of Republican John Kasich, Democrat Susan Estrich, and a reporter from Politico. However, despite having mentioned McCain’s high poll numbers, at the beginning of the program Bret Baier interviewed Mitt Romney and no other candidate. Romney received 6 minutes during which he promoted himself and criticized his opposition.

Baier began by playing a clip of Republican candidate Mike Huckabee discussing the layoffs done by Romney’s companies and asked Romney to respond. Not surprisingly, Romney asserted that Huckabee hasn’t had the experiences in the private sector that he has had. Romney stated that he has had 25 years in the business sector and that Huckabee “doesn’t have the credentials or the experience.”

Baier then asked Romney to define the difference between him and John McCain. Romney claimed that McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts because “he didn’t like them.” (Comment: McCain voted against the tax cuts because he didn’t see a commensurate cutback in government spending – but details, details!) In the final softball question, Baier asked Romney to explain the difference between attack ads and contrast ads. Romney explained that his ads were “contrast” ads which point out legitimate differences between him and the other candidates and that he never made personal attacks. (Comment: the other candidates don’t see it that way.)

Comment: The entire “interview” was a means for Romney to promote himself with no real opportunity for Baier to do the kind of interview whereby he could have presented the other candidates comments regarding the positions that Romney was taking. Some of these “attack” ads referenced the many documented Romney flip flops, but Baier didn’t say anything about that. Romney’s unchallenged claim that Huckabee had no relevant managerial experience was not just a “contrast.” Both Baier’s questions and Romney’s commentary were superficial at best, but superficiality is what Fox does best.

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla