In case you thought the General David Petraeus situation couldn't get any stranger, now Bob Woodward - Hannity's latest BFF - has reported - in the Washington Post Style section, of all places - that Fox News chief Roger Ailes sent messages to Petraeus via Fox News national security analyst and online host K.T. McFarland urging him to position himself to run for president against President Obama in 2012.
So in spring 2011, Ailes asked a Fox News analyst headed to Afghanistan to pass on his thoughts to Petraeus, who was then the commander of U.S. and coalition forces there. Petraeus, Ailes advised, should turn down an expected offer from President Obama to become CIA director and accept nothing less than the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top military post. If Obama did not offer the Joint Chiefs post, Petraeus should resign from the military and run for president, Ailes suggested.
The Fox News chairman’s message was delivered to Petraeus by Kathleen T. McFarland, a Fox News national security analyst and former national security and Pentagon aide in three Republican administrations. She did so at the end of a 90-minute, unfiltered conversation with Petraeus that touched on the general’s future, his relationship with the media and his political aspirations — or lack thereof. The Washington Post has obtained a digital recording from the meeting, which took place in Petraeus’s office in Kabul.
McFarland also said that Ailes — who had a decades-long career as a Republican political consultant, advising Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — might resign as head of Fox to run a Petraeus presidential campaign. At one point, McFarland and Petraeus spoke about the possibility that Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., which owns Fox News, would “bankroll” the campaign.
If your head has stopped spinning yet from this very disturbing news, Media Matters helps us count the ethical problems in this kettle of fish:
This would be an ethical problem by itself: Ailes -- the chief of a supposedly objective news network -- was advising an active general who was commanding U.S. troops in the middle of a war to make demands of the president, and if those demands were not met, to run for president with Ailes acting as his aide.
But the ethics problem is much worse than that. McFarland appeared on Fox's airwaves soon after meeting with Petraeus to praise him as "one of the greatest generals in American history" who will save us from defeat in Afghanistan. While McFarland was putting Petraeus on at least the same level as Ulysses S. Grant, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and Dwight Eisenhower, she provided no disclosure of her and Ailes' advice that Petraeus should consider running for president.
Meanwhile, over at Crooks and Liars, Karoli made this observation:
Earlier in the conversation Petraeus complains that Fox (yes, Fox!!!) has made a skeptical turn about the wars. That's disturbing too. At one point early in the recording, McFarland asks Petraeus what he thinks they're doing right or wrong. Petraeus' response is astonishing: He complains that they don't seem to be as gung-ho on the wars as they once were, and aren't bolstering them like they used to.
By the way, according to the audio that Woodward obtained and has posted along with his article, Petraeus, who nonetheless rejected Ailes' advice, says, "I love Roger. . . . He’s a brilliant guy.”
Can there be any further proof that Fox News is a wing of the Republican Party?