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Fox News Trots Out Karl Rove To “Ask” If White House And Democrats Are “Encouraging Illegal Activity” And “Anarchy” In Wisconsin Protests

Reported by Ellen - February 19, 2011 -

Why did Fox News trot out Karl Rove at least twice yesterday (2/18/11) if not to spin the Wisconsin public employee protests for the Republicans? It’s not as though Rove has any connection to Wisconsin or to labor unions or to public employees. In case there’s any doubt that it was for the express purpose of promoting a Republican point of view (which always means attacking Democrats), take a look at how the supposedly “fair and balanced” FoxNews.com titled its two videos of him (screen grabs after the jump, below the videos).

Predictably, the politicization was a collaborative effort. First, Megyn Kelly, with her trademark outrage, announced that “Organizing for America, which is President Obama’s campaign group” and the DNC had been “encouraging teachers to show up at the capital now, instead of at the classroom. They are encouraging these rallies.”

Then, laughably, attorney Kelly asked non-attorney Rove, “Is there a potential legal problem because these teachers have contracts that require them to show up at school?” America Live is supposed to be part of Fox News’“objective” news line up. If that’s the case, why on earth would Kelly have asked such a question of such a partisan as Rove?

Rove, of course, couldn’t answer about the legality. But he said “the question” is whether “the Democratic National Committee and the Obama White House are encouraging illegal wildcat strikes, are they encouraging teachers to lie to their principals and local officials by saying they’re ill when they’re really attending a rally and if the Democratic National Committee is putting money and resources into having, say, state government employees walk out of the workplace, be conveyed to a rally at the state capital, again in violation of perhaps state law but certainly in violation of the collective bargaining agreement." Rove concluded by "asking," "Is this appropriate for the Obama White House to be encouraging anarchy, wildcat strikes, illegal activity and using the Democratic National Committee as a front?”

Of course, nobody had reported that the Obama White House had done any of those things but as Rove and Fox News higher ups surely know, raising the question is next best to saying it's so. Rove went the extra mile by adding, “This is a little disturbing,” as though he had some real facts at hand.

Did Kelly challenge his tactics? Heck no. But she helpfully named which laws the Obama administration and/or DNC might have broken and what kind of lawsuit might arise. The key term was "tortious interference."

After that, Rove slyly went from “questioning” the Obama administration’s actions to calling them outright illegal.

They’re providing transportation to move these people to the rallies, they’re encouraging them to attend the rallies, and is this appropriate for the President of the United States to be encouraging teachers and state workers to fail to live up to their moral obligation, if not their legal obligation to the taxpayers of the state? …Sort of like the prime minister of Greece encouraging the employees of the Greek government to go out in the streets and protest…

Kelly let that sleight of hand go by, too. Instead she went on to quote critical-of-Obama statements from John Boehner. For good measure, she said, “You have to wonder what would happen if President Bush engaged in similar tactics.”

Rove said, “We have in essence the White House encouraging anarchy in Wisconsin.” He concluded by saying that there would be “severe consequences and blowback” for the people “engaged” in the protests.

Maybe it’s just me, but he sounded just a little too nervous for his bravado to be believable.

Nevertheless, Fox News producers obviously liked what Rove said so much, they brought him back on “liberal” Greta Van Susteren’s “On The Record” show - where he repeated much of what he had said previously.

“Liberal” Van Susteren made a point of noting that George W. Bush had stayed out of the fray when Texas Democrats had fled the state during a redistricting fight. Van Susteren claimed she had researched the subject but she failed to mention that Democrats believed Rove had orchestrated that particular power grab. But even if you believe that nobody in the Bush administration had anything to do with the Texas controversy there’s a big difference between redistricting and what the public employees see as an attempt to union bust in Wisconsin. That was another point Van Susteren missed. She did wonder “whether (Obama’s) worried about losing Wisconsin” in 2012.

Finally, Van Susteren opined, “As long as it’s not unlawful and I don’t think it’s unlawful.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement but, unlike Rove, Van Susteren is an attorney. She said, “There’s a political thread through this… He’s gotta keep these unions happy and he’s gotta win this issue in Wisconsin or he’s gonna have big trouble next in Ohio.”

Rove asked, “Is it legal?” and then went on to say he thought, as Kelly had previously suggested, that “tortious interference” (he pronounced it “torturous”) had, in fact, been committed by OFA and the DNC.

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