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Why Isn’t Fox News Vociferously Defending Karl Rove’s Independent Views On O'Donnell?

Reported by Ellen - September 16, 2010 -

There was an interesting discussion on America’s Newsroom this morning during which host Martha MacCallum put Karl Rove on the hot seat for being critical of Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Rove was obviously taken aback by all the attacks on him since his on-air criticisms of O’Donnell the night she won the primary. And he clearly tried to show more support for O'Donnell and the Tea Party during the interview. The Republican Party’s intolerance for disagreement from one of their most stalwart, effective operatives is their own business. But why hasn’t Fox News leapt to defend the right of one of their analysts to offer what was presumably legitimate analysis without being branded as a turncoat?

In this exchange (h/t Marlowe C.), MacCallum does question whether “we are at a stage in all of this where if you’re not particularly in favor of one candidate and you have some reasons to back that up, that suddenly you don’t like the whole tea party?” But at no point did she offer any substantial support for her colleague.

Instead, MacCallum repeatedly pressured Rove with “questions” about his lack of support for O’Donnell. “Will you do what she asks last night on Greta (O’Donnell actually appeared on Hannity)? Will you help her win?”

More tellingly, at about the 2:57 mark, MacCallum said, “I don’t have to tell you that a lot of folks have been screamin’ and yelling saying that your comments and not backing her could cost the majority in the Senate, that what they want is to make sure that they get that majority in the senate and they’re afraid that you’re shooting them in the (tank? back?)”

Rove made an important point in his answer. “Martha, my job as a Fox analyst is to give the best insights. (O’Donnell’s) 11 points behind in the Rasmussen poll behind the Democrat nominee, Coons. So my job as a Fox analyst is to call it as I see ‘em. My job is not to be a cheerleader for every Republican. It’s to call ‘em as I see ‘em.” Rove noted he had a different job outside of Fox, where he actively works for Republicans. But, he added, “When I come on Fox, you and your viewers expect me to shoot straight with you and not…”

“Absolutely,” MacCallum interrupted. But as soon as Rove said that O’Donnell could potentially turn it around and get back in the game, MacCallum asked, “So, if she does that to your satisfaction, what kind of support (can she expect from you)?”

MacCallum is not the only one of Rove's Fox News colleagues to distance themselves from him. Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin have been outright critical and even "Democrat" Greta Van Susteren offered Rove no support for his views.

So why isn't the “fair and balanced” network vigorously standing up against the right wing’s assault on Rove for merely doing his job at Fox? I can only think of one reason: That loyalty to GOP victory trumps everything else at Fox News. Rove seems to be getting that message now loud and clear.



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