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Republican publicity stunt aided and abetted by FOX crews

Reported by Chrish - August 4, 2008 -

As Deborah noted, Fred Barnes admitted that Friday's Republican sit-in after Congress adjourned for vacation was a publicity stunt. The publicity part of the stunt was supplied by FOX News, surprise, surprise, and one could legitimately wonder if the whole drama wasn't well coordinated beforehand. FOX head Roger Ailes is, after all the Bush's man.

Chad Pergram of the FOX News crews, who were happily still there after Speaker Pelosi closed the session, wrote at FOXNews.com:

"But Republicans commandeered the floor and held a rump session to lambaste the Democrats. And nearly 50 House GOPers did just that for the next several hours.

It was an extraordinary scene. I ran out to the press gallery that overlooks the floor to soak in the spectacle. The Speaker’s Office had ordered the chamber closed and were on the verge of kicking out the press. But they wouldn’t do that so long as a Member of Congress asked them not to. House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) stationed himself in the press gallery."

Ah, yes. Roy Blunt.

"Blunt then escorted yours truly and Congressional Quarterly reporters Liriel Higa and Ed Epstein to the floor. Reporters generally aren’t allowed on the floor of the House. But again, this was different. House aides looked shocked as Blunt paraded us into the chamber.

Epstein, an excellent reporter and good friend, then suggested I ask Blunt if I could bring a camera into the chamber. I asked the Whip. And he demurred, arguing that the rules are very strict about cameras in the chamber.

This was the irony. Republicans were stirring up all sorts of trouble inside the chamber. But no one could see it. That is except for the aides and the tourists watching the show from the gallery. I later put the same question to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN). He told me that lawmakers had to obey the rules."

I recall tales of Democrats being forced to hold meetings in the basement before they regained control of Congress in 2006, and nobody at FOX (or anywhere in the MSM) was doing their noble journalistic duty to get us video. In fact, Congress operated pretty much under the media radar in those days.


"White House Correspondent Wendell Goler was preparing a package about energy. I asked him if he wanted stuff from the House. He pointed out that it would be a hard tale to tell without video. I then ran into Mike Majchrowitz. He’s the Capitol Hill Correspondent for FOX News Radio. Mike told me he gave his radio recording gear to an unnamed Member and persuaded him to record some audio inside the chamber. That was a start.

Then I was on a mission. We had to get video from inside the chamber.

I’ve always known that the best way to get what you need in journalism is to rely on guerilla tactics. And like any reporter worth their salt, I don’t reveal sources and methods. But FOX was able to sneak in a ComVu phone into the House chamber to broadcast live video from inside the chamber.

This was historic. Because live video (and rarely private video) has never been streamed from the House chamber. Ever. But we did that today. On FOX."

He closes by promising more shenanigans: "Beware the Ides of August. And we’re just beginning the month."

Yes, they're pulling out all the stops to get their oil front-man in the White House. Fair and balanced like George Foreman and Kristi Yamaguchi on a see-saw.