As the clock winds down for the Wisconsin recall election, Scott Walker made at least three visits to Republican Central, otherwise known as Fox News, tonight. During his third and presumably final visit, to On The Record, a banner saying “BREAKING NEWS” displayed on the screen. What was breaking other than, possibly, a record for how many appearances on Fox a Republican candidate can make in one day? I never figured it out.
In addition to On The Record, Walker’s Fox News campaign schedule also included 11:25 minutes with Neil Cavuto on Your World as well as 5:33 with Bret Baier on Special Report. That’s not counting the other Fox News cheerleading today.
Van Susteren wasn’t a total lapdog, but she certainly threw her share of chummy softballs. Some of her questions were:
Are you nervous?
If you get elected again tomorrow… what’s the first thing you’re going to do professionally as a governor? Have you thought ahead about what you’re gonna do?
How’s your ground game?
I read an editorial… that if you win tomorrow, that your star is just going to take off… and that you would be someone that would be looked at as a vice presidential candidate. Any interest in that?
Even worse, Van Susteren used the Fox News technique of what I call the “faux challenge.” It’s a question that gives an illusion of balance and distance but in reality is an opportunity for the interviewee to spin:
You got a lot of money from out of state? Any problem with that?
Why are you getting recalled?
Van Susteren surely knows why Walker is facing a recall election. But rather than offer her viewers any kind of neutral rundown of the events leading up to the recall, she let Walker tell his side of the story, only, without any interference from her. Same thing with the money from out of state. Of course, Walker is not going to announce that he has a problem with his donations. It’s her job to inform her audience of what the potential problems may be and to do at least some digging to see if any are there.
If that wasn’t enough of the anti-fairness and balance for you, fear not… there was more. Not a single Democrat visited the set with Van Susteren tonight. Her other guests were: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Craig Gilbert, Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, and Amy Kremer from the Tea Party Express. Plus there were clips from Rush Limbaugh sounding off about Wisconsin and a special report called “New GSA Trouble.” I’m surprised Fox hasn’t called it “Obama’s GSA” yet.
Van Susteren said the show had invited Walker’s opponent, Tom Barrett, but that he declined. Don’t tell me they couldn’t find a single Democratic surrogate to speak on his behalf.
Or maybe they decided that mainstream-media-so-he-must-be-liberal Journal Sentinel reporter Gilbert was close enough.
I find it interesting that GOP talking points about this recall mention that recalls shouldn’t happen unless someone has broken a law or “done something wrong.” Walker did do something wrong – he openly attacked union workers in his state. But none of these people are talking about how much they were crowing about Governor Gray Davis getting recalled in California in 2003 after a big effort by Darrel Issa, who had clearly thought this would be his big chance to get the big seat and wound up dropping out in tears when it became clear that Arnold Schwarzenegger had much more support.
The Frank Luntz focus group on the prior hour on Hannity was really, really scary. The level of anger and sheer hatred on the part of the Walker supporters in that room (and they easily outnumbered the small handful of opponents) was palpable. When the opponents got a moment to say something, they were usually shouted down fairly quickly or interrupted by Luntz so he could show another campaign ad to throw off their answers. It was frustrating to see the two women getting thrown so easilly, but it was easy to see why it was happening. I wanted to ask some of the Walker supporters if they just wanted the teachers to get paid minimum wage with no benefits, and hope that their kids got good educations that way. Because that’s what this comes down to – do you want to support the people in local and state government who do the jobs that take care of everyone (teachers, public hospital nurses and staff, firemen, police) or do you not want to pay for these services for anyone? In that case, we can all just home school our kids, hope that we never need to go to the hospital, and hope that we never need to call a cop or a fireman to help us. Because they won’t be there when we need them.
This is assuming we’re getting real numbers on him… he’s more than proven that any set of numbers his office gets their hands on, he’ll have them cooked.