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When Democrats fight, Republicans win, so FOX exaggerates Democrats' disagreements.

Reported by Chrish - January 24, 2008

The talking point repeated this morning 1/24/08 on FOX and Friends is that there is an unseemly "foodfight" going on between Democratic frontrunners Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that will ultimately benefit the Republican nominee, whoever it is.

Guests Terry Holt, former advisor to the RNC, and Lanny Davis, former Bill Clinton White House counsel, discussed the "political jabs." Davis made the points that Clinton's response (bringing up Obama's ties to Tony Rezko, an alleged slumlord) to the Wal-Mart "attack" in the debate the other night was acceptable, and further said that Obama "sets a sanctimonious standard" that he has to live up to.

Doocy introduced the meme that after the debate "a lot of people" said the winner is the Republican nominee because of all the "mud-slinging," and Terry Holt agreed, saying the "long knives have come out" and while Clinton doesn't need to win in South Carolina, she needs to blunt the pendulum swing towards Obama (which, it should be noted, she's done since New Hampshire).

After a break, Brian Kilmeade summarized where the candidates ("all" five of them, both parties) are: McCain will be on FOX and Friends later; Romney's at a pre-debate party; Hillary is finally back in SOuth Carolina; Barack never left and is attending town meetings and round tables; and John Edwards has "scheduled events to remind voters he's back home, after being on Tyra and Letterman and having his hair messed up." Virtually every time John Edwards is mentioned on FOX the comment is belittling or insulting or dismissive. Is this really good for America, from the network that says they love it?

Later Florida Governor Charlie Crist reinforced the image of a "fight" between the Democrats, responding to the leading question from Brian Kilmeade "What do you hope happens (in the debate tonight)? Do you want to see these candidates head-to-head on the issues? Do you want to see some of what we saw on Monday with the Democrats?" Crist answered "I think what we'll see tonight is a great debate about issues that matter to the people of our country. It'll be a debate that I think'll be civil, respectful; that's how they always should be. I think it was unfortunate the other night that it wasn't quite like that..." etc.

Later still Rev. Al Sharpton was brought on to discuss (what else?) race and followed right along with the framing set up by FOX: he alluded to "acrimony" and "mud-slinging," and speculated that if the rhetoric isn't toned down and the issues raised up, Republicans will use soundbites in commercials over the summer to hurt the Democratic nominee.

If you only watch FOX you'd think the debate Tuesday was a disaster of personality clashes and insults. Jon Stewart had a different take. It's a sad state of affairs when a program on Comedy Central gives better information than one on a supposed news network.

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