Is there anything more ironic and hypocritical than listening to Fox News pundits clutching their pearls over the disrespect Vice President Biden supposedly showed Paul Ryan in the debate last night?
The whining started immediately after the debate. In a post-debate discussion hosted by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, the first guests were conservative Stephen Hayes and Fox News Democrat Joe Trippi.
Interestingly, Kelly didn’t ask who either thought won, but delved straight into whether Biden went “too far” with “the smirking, such that the substance will be undermined?”
Trippi said he thought Biden “had a very strong debate” but “was diminished, I thought …by the smirking and he overdid it.” Trippi, went on to give some gratuitous props to Paul Ryan, saying he was surprised to see “how strong” he was on “foreign policy.” He allowed as how Biden scored some major points before adding, “But I don’t know about the likeability of that smirking and how he sort of overdid – I found it condescending and overdone.”
Do you think Hayes, on the "other side," had any criticism of Ryan or props for Biden? Of course not! He, too complained about Biden smirking, especially during Ryan’s thank you's t the end which, according to Hayes, “came across as very disrespectful and sort of symbolic of the way that Joe Biden handled the rest of the night."
Next up Brit Hume. He said, “If you read the transcript, you might well conclude that the vice president had a very strong debate… But that’s not all there is to it.” Hume sounded irate as he said that in person, Biden was “smirking, laughing, smiling, mugging.” He thought people would find that “so compelling,” that it would have been hard to take their eyes off Biden and, therefore, it came down to whether or not that was appealing. Hume, predictably, did not. He said, "I thought it was unattractive. I thought it was rude and I have a feeling it will come across to an awful lot of people – it looked like a cranky old man, to some extent, debating a polite young man.”
Greta Van Susteren threw in with the “disrespectful” lot. She claimed to like both men. But she found Ryan “polite and respectful.” But Biden, not so much. “The smiles, the sneers… I thought he was very unlikeable,” Van Susteren said.
Then Chris Wallace made an appearance. He said he didn’t think he had “ever seen a debate in which one participant was as openly disrespectful of the other as Biden was to Paul Ryan was tonight. And that’s what it was… openly contemptuous and disrespectful.”
Nobody’s tender feelings were smarting more than Sean Hannity's. “As I watch a rude, condescending, interruptive, mean-spirited vice president tonight, this is not going to play well. I’ll tell you right now.” He went on to say that two polls say that Romney won the debate.
But despite all that whining, neither Hannity nor any of the others actually said Ryan won.
It’s laughable for anyone on Fox to be complaining about disrespect toward a vice presidential candidate when there probably hasn’t been a day since President Obama’s inauguration that he hasn’t been disrespected on the "fair and balanced" network. He’s been called a socialist, “nauseating” and “disgusting,” portrayed as a traitor who wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon, someone with contempt for the Constitution who wants to undermine the Second Amendment, and, most famously, as an illegitimate president with a phony birth certificate to cover up the fact that he was born in Africa. Fox’s Heather Childers still has a job as a Fox News anchor even after she asked for her Twitter-feed readers’ “thoughts” as to whether, in 2008, the Obama campaign threatened Chelsea Clinton’s life in order to keep her parents quiet over his birth certificate. And Fox Newsies regularly slobber over Birther Boy Donald Trump.
On Fox, personal responsibility is, apparently, reserved for poor people and minorities.