Fox host: 'If they cared about us,' CNN debate would have asked about Miss Puerto Rico
If CNN had cared about catering to Fox News priorities during its presentation of the Republican YouTube debate, the network would have spent less time on immigration issues and more on Miss Puerto Rico, according to Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade.
During a discussion about a recent Los Angeles Times editorial, which accused CNN of focusing its debate on illegal immigration in order to boost the ratings of the network's marquee anchor, Lou Dobbs, Kilmeade suggested that the personal interests of the Fox and Friends co-hosts had been ignored.
"If they really cared about us, they'd be asking Miss America stories," said Kilmeade, possibly offering a tongue-in-cheek critique of Fox and Friends' typically light programming fare. "We love the Miss America stories, Miss Puerto Rico, and things like that, if they wanted to kiss up to us. But no one really wants to do that."
"Meaning the three of us?" co-host Alisyn Camerota asked Kilmeade, referring to her and fellow host Steve Doocy. "Yes, the three of us. We seem to thrive on that," Kilmeade responded. Ingrid Marie Rivera, named Miss Puerto Rico Universe last month, recently made the apparently erroneous claim that her clothing and makeup were doused with pepper spray in a sabotage attempt during the title pageant.
Fox and Friends has routinely pounded CNN for its handling of the Republican debate, and continued the barbs on Tuesday. "It was a stinker," laughed Fox's Steve Doocy in opening a segment headed "Debate Debacle."
Early criticisms of last week's debate were focused on the presence of a number of unidentified Democratic supporters among the questioners and had a clearly partisan Republican bias. However, two newspaper columns over the weekend, both of which were cited by the Fox hosts, raised more serious concerns about CNN's overall skewing of the debate topics.
St. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler complained "CNN did a lousy, even offensive, job in Wednesday night's debate in St. Petersburg. I don't just mean that they let in Democratic ringers. I mean that CNN put on a parody of what it thought ought to be a Republican debate."
Troxler objected that not only did many of the questioners seem like liberal stereotypes of right-wing extremists, but the questions themselves were skewed towards hot-button issues. "Sure, there were some good questions," he wrote. "But notice that none was about the economy. None was about Putin in Russia or Chavez in Venezuela. Nobody asked what we should do about our mortgage disaster. There was not a single question about health care, or overpaid U.S. executives, or our energy future, or the safety of our food supply."
Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten came down even harder on CNN, writing, "The United States is at war in the Middle East and Central Asia, the economy is writhing like a snake with a broken back, oil prices are relentlessly climbing toward $100 a barrel and an increasing number of Americans just can't afford to be sick with anything that won't be treated with aspirin and bed rest. So, when CNN brought the Republican presidential candidates together this week for what is loosely termed a 'debate,' what did the country get but a discussion of immigration, Biblical inerrancy and the propriety of flying the Confederate flag?"
Rutten went on to suggest that "CNN chose to devote the first 35 minutes of this critical debate to a single issue -- immigration" only because "CNN's most popular news-oriented personality, Lou Dobbs, has made opposition to illegal immigration and free trade the centerpiece of his neonativist/neopopulist platform. In fact, Dobbs led into Wednesday's debate with a good solid dose of immigrant bashing. His network is in a desperate ratings battle with Fox News and, in a critical prime-time slot, with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. So, what's good for Dobbs is good for CNN."
This video is from Fox's Fox & Friends, broadcast on December 4, 2007.