Fox News: Media would have skewered us for planting questions
CNN is getting a free pass for selecting questioners with ties to Democrats during its recent YouTube Republican debate, according to hosts on the Fox News morning program Fox and Friends, who say their own network would have been far more harshly treated in the press had it "planted" questions in a debate.
Shortly after the Wednesday evening's debate, bloggers discovered that one questioner, a retired gay brigadier general, was a member of a Clinton steering committee. CNN acknowledged the connection, but said the network had not been aware, and the Clinton campaign denied planting the general.
Fox and Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson, however, suggested that the media was holding Fox News to a double standard.
"Some Democrats, most of the Democrats running for president have said 'hey we're not going to go on Fox News to do a debate, because, well you know how we feel about Fox News,'" she said. "Just put that into perspective here. Now you have this CNN debacle, and you've got to wonder if Fox News had planted questioners at any debate that they did, what kind of trouble would we be in? It would be a huge, huge mainstream media story."
The hosts pointed to right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin, who says she has identified other "planted" questioners with Democratic connections or sympathies.
"This is a problem for CNN right now," said Kelly. "Even when you were looking at the individuals, they did not...it didn't seem terribly Republican. They seemed like they were from a left-wing constituency." He later cautioned that there was no proof that any political campaigns had orchestrated any of the questions.
But co-host Steve Doocy agreed that the "mainstream media" would have been far harsher to Fox than it had been to CNN.
"Had Fox done it, it would have been the cover of the New York Times every day for the next month," said Doocy. "Why is it when we do stuff, we become fodder for the mainstream media, but when CNN does it, nothing?" He later asked viewers to vote on whether CNN's chosen questioners were due to "conspiracy or incompetence."
Later in the program, Dick Morris, a Republican strategist who formerly advised President Bill Clinton, said the debate appearance by the general was a Nixon-style "dirty trick" orchestrated by Sen. Clinton.
"You know, listen, let's put the blame where it's due -- this is a dirty trick by the Hillary Clinton campaign," said Morris. The former consultant also said he believed Clinton was behind the recent story, broken by Politico, that Rudy Giuliani obscured security expenses to disguise an extra-marital affair during his tenure as New York mayor.
In 1996, Morris stepped down from managing President Clinton's reelection campaign after it was revealed that he had allowed a prostitute to eavesdrop on telephone calls with the president.
This video is from Fox's Fox & Friends, broadcast on November 30, 2007.