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After Dismissing And Excusing Attacks On Democrats, Fox Helps Cantor Make Partisan Hay Out Of Shots Fired At His Office

Reported by Ellen - March 25, 2010 -

For the past few days, Fox News (Shepard Smith notwithstanding) has mostly either underplayed, ignored, dismissed or excused the violent, bigoted rhetoric and actual violence that has erupted against Democrats over health care reform. But now that shots have been fired at Republican Eric Cantor’s office, Fox is singing a whole new tune. Even worse, they are using the incident to ramp up further hostilities against Democrats, even suggesting anti-Semitism may have been involved in the attack on Cantor. With video.

UPDATE: More and more holes in Cantor's story have arisen. Yet Fox News keeps pushing his implausible spin. Video from DailyKos after the jump.

Megyn Kelly opened her America Live show today with a Fox News alert and a clip of Cantor railing against Democrats for the attack. I’ve missed America Live for the past few days so I can’t swear that attacks against Democrats were not the top story earlier in the week, but I’m willing to bet money they were not.

She trotted out Special Report host Bret Baier to rehash and give the imprimatur of legitimacy to Cantor’s over-the-top and inflammatory anti-Democratic comments. Kelly said, “This is rather extraordinary, what Cantor said… He went after some top Democrats in connection with all of this.” Kelly never endorsed Cantor's words but she gave the opening to Baier to frame them in the most sympathetic light.

Baier said, “He (Cantor) did, specifically referring to comments made by Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen (Baier, of course, reiterated Hollen's inflammatory comments without noting any of the inflammatory rhetoric from the other side)… Now you have a shot being fired at the Campaign office of the House minority whip, a Republican. He is the highest elected Jewish lawmaker… He asked for more security from the U.S. Capitol police… It had previously been reported that only Democratic lawmakers (had requested that security)… The point being here that the minority whip is saying, ‘Listen, enough is enough’ and Republicans have come out against violence or this kind of action but it’s not just Democratic lawmakers (being attacked) after this health care vote.”

Kelly helpfully (to the GOP) added that Leader John Boehner had “denounced the violence and the threats in no uncertain terms.” She also failed to mention the awful rhetoric that had come from the other side.

Then she further helpfully (to the GOP) added, “Nonetheless, Democrats are trying to POLITICIZE (her emphasis) this. Here’s just a sample.” But, as it turned out, instead of a sample, she replayed Cantor accusing Democrats of “dangerously fanning the flames” and using “these incidents as a political weapon.”

The two hosts were astoundingly oblivious to the possibility that Cantor, himself, might be using the incident as a political weapon.

Instead, Kelly disingenuously “asked” Baier to give some examples of what Cantor meant.

Baier had them at the ready! He further summarized his examples by saying they were “essentially an effort to paint the Republican Party as being behind all of these threats, all of this vandalism.” Baier further helpfully (to Cantor and the GOP) reiterated that Cantor felt “that is not something you should do at a time like this.”

I don't mean to suggest that Fox should not have denounced the shots fired at Cantor's office. But they should be doing everything they can to calm the waters. Instead, they seem to be looking for opportunities to inflame emotions further - but always against Democrats. Shame on them.

Feel free to contact Fox News at kelly@foxnews.com.

UPDATE: Since this post was made, Cantor's version of events has been cast into doubt. Check out the second video below from DailyKos TV.