Last week, Fox host Neil Cavuto blatantly promoted a presidential run by John Kasich (R-OH). Yesterday, Chris Wallace joined the campaign effort with an even more blatant promotion on Fox News Sunday. Coincidentally, Kasich is also a former Fox News host.
Wallace set the tone of the interview with his fawning introduction:
With two years until the 2016 presidential election, there’s a lot of talk the strongest GOP nominee would be a governor from the Midwest. One possibility from the key electoral state of Ohio is making his state’s economic turnaround the basis for his re-election bid in November. Joining us now from Columbus, Ohio, Governor John Kasich and, Governor, welcome back to Fox News Sunday.
Notice something missing? Like, maybe, the fact that Kasich is a former colleague?
No matter. Wallace was so palsy – some might call it “slobbering” – that even if you didn’t know Kasich was a former colleague, there was no doubt of their collegiality.
For example, Wallace’s first question:
You have engineered quite a turnaround in Ohio since you took office in 2011 and let’s put up part of your record. Your state has been the number five job creator in the nation over that period of time. And number one in the Midwest. Unemployment is now 6.5 percent - the lowest in your state since June of 2008. And Ohio has gone from an $8 billion deficit to a $1½ billion surplus. Question: what’s the secret to your success?
As we pointed out when Kasich appeared on Cavuto's Your World show last week, it just so happens that Kasich’s gubernatorial opponent has moved within striking distance in the polls. But Fox News seems to have its sights on a bigger role for Kasich than governor. Last week, Cavuto said:
(W)hen I hear reports that George Soros fears you the most of any prospective (2016) candidate - maybe owing back to the success you’ve had with the private sector job growth, maybe owing to the fact that income increases are running double the national average in your state …So I’m just saying that he ... has reason to fear you.
…You’ve done this with none of the sort of bravado that associates, fairly or not, with Chris Christie. You’ve agitated people on the left and right, kind of like Chris Christie, but that that temperament, that tone, and probably from a governor, is the Republican party’s best chance.
Yesterday, on Fox News Sunday, Wallace all but pushed Kasich to promote an anti-Obama national economic policy:
(T)he national economy is also in the midst of a recovery. Have President Obama’s policies been part of the solution?
Later, Wallace said:
Governor, if you are re-elected, you would be an obvious candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2016. You went on the record this week as saying you are not interested in that. On the other hand, your opponent, Ed FitzGerald, has put up a website with a pledge that …whoever gets elected will serve a full four year term. Why not sign that if you have no interest in running for president?
Media Matters found other examples of Fox promoting Kasich for president. The website also noted that Kasich has long profited from his association with Fox:
Fox News treated Kasich to numerous softball interviews during his successful 2010 run. Sean Hannity told Kasich during one such interview: “You do me a favor. Go get elected governor” and “You can help us. Win the state of Ohio.” During an appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, Kasich asked for donations while Fox News put his website address on-screen (which drew a complaint from the Democratic Governors Association).
Kasich’s gubernatorial campaign also received fundraising support from Fox News. Sean Hannity headlined a “high-dollar fund-raiser” for Kasich in October 2009. Mike Huckabee appeared at a 2009 Kasich campaign event. Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch and his then-wife contributed $20,000 to the campaign, and then-Fox News parent company News Corporation gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which helped elect Kasich.
Fox News and the GOP: One big happy party family.