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FOX News' Barack Obama Special A Rehash Of Republican Talking Points With A Nod At Balance

Reported by Ellen - October 19, 2008 -

“Democrat” Greta Van Susteren hosted a FOX News special last night (10/18/08) about Barack Obama that could have been written by Karl Rove then edited with a few bits of footage for balance scattered among the Republican talking points. Just as the title, The Ties That Bind? suggested, the show was framed around the “Cavuto mark” of just how deep Obama's ties to “terrorist” William Ayers and “scandal-ridden” ACORN go. It was perfectly in synch with the McCain campaign's strategy to stay away from issues and focus on personalities. Van Susteren even announced at the end that “a policy will not sit in the Oval Office.” Predictably, the pro-Republican viewpoint dominated throughout.

About half the hour-long special was spent attacking discussing ACORN (and conveniently sowing seeds of doubt about the validity of the election results), and half about “terrorist” William Ayers. Then, at the end, a bit of Rev. Wright, complete with “GD America,” was thrown in. It was quite a contrast to Van Susteren's “frothy, slanted' infotainment interview with Todd Palin that somehow ignored his radical association with the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party and his role in Troopergate.

The final segment, in the video below, was representative of the Republican talking-points focus and the disproportionate amount of time given to their spokespeople.

Van Susteren opened the last segment by asking how important are Obama's connections to Ayers and ACORN. Rather than offer any dispassionate, objective and impartial assessment, she immediately transmitted the McCain campaign's view. “How important is it? Senator John McCain thinks it's very important,” she said.

Viewers got about 45 seconds of McCain's opinion on just how important it is.

For “balance,” we got about 24 seconds of Democrat Bob Beckel.

Van Susteren continued with a tacit admission that the only significance of the issue is political. She said, “The ultimate question, of course, is if Bill Ayers can win Senator John McCain votes.”

Oh, really? Then why go to the trouble of delving into the issue of Obama's character, conducting an entire “investigation” and turning it into an hour-long special if it's only about votes? Why not put it in the context of a political campaign instead?

In response to the “will it win McCain votes” question, Democrat Howard Wolfson said the tactic is not effective. He got about 15 seconds.

But then Van Susteren turned to conservative Dick Morris who, she said, “argues the Ayers card could still be a winner.” After Morris explained how and why, he went on to recommend that the Republicans attack Obama about Rev. Wright. That lasted more than three times the amount of Wolfson's time and also worked in that “GD America” clip FOX News was so attached to during the primaries.

Wolfson got about 15 seconds more -- not to advocate for Obama but to say that McCain has already declared Wright off limits.

Back to Van Susteren. She said, “What about ACORN? You'll be hearing plenty about ACORN whether the campaigns are talking about it or not. Americans don't want to hear that someone may be fooling with our democratic system. So you can bet those investigations across the country will be in the news long after November 4.”

Funny how “fair and balanced” FOX News and “Democrat” Van Susteren spend so much time focusing on voter fraud and never any time discussing voter suppression and/or voter disenfranchisement. Also never discussed but highly relevant to the voter fraud issue is the U.S. Attorney scandal in which U.S. Attorneys were fired for not pursuing Republicans' political agenda of voter suppression via voter fraud prosecution. To quote fired U.S. Attorney of (swing state) New Mexico, David Iglesias:

(The Justice Department was) clearly partisan. I can't reach into their minds and tell you what they were thinking but I am very disturbed to read accounts of what appears to be "voter caging" in Arkansas and other parts of the country. There appears to be a growing body of evidence that suggests that there's voter suppression going on throughout the country. I'm not sure if that happened in New Mexico. All I know is there was an attempted pressure put on me by local Republicans to indict voter fraud cases. I resisted that. I thought I was going to be protected by the Bush Justice Department and I was wrong in that assumption.

It's also funny how despite their obsession with voter fraud, “fair and balanced” FOX News never seems to mind that one of their most frequent guests, Ann “Boombox” Coulter, is probably the most notorious, blatant and well-documented committer of voter fraud.

In her summation, Van Susteren explicitly endorsed McCain's view of Obama. She said, “For Senator Obama supporters, all the issues of his past and present associations are just a red herring. For Senator McCain supporters, they are part of the acid test of character that candidates must pass before they earn the voters' confidence. Policies are extremely important and should be weighed carefully. But when all is said and done, a policy will not sit in the Oval Office. One of two men will. (my emphasis)

In that case, can we expect a similar investigation into McCain's associations with Gordon Liddy? Palin's association with a witch doctor? Don't hold your breath.

Van Susteren asked that everyone send an email to FOX News. “We'd like to know what you thought about this program,” she said.

The address is fncspecials@foxnews.com.