Media

Liberals Still Appear on Fox News, Not Faring Well

| by Reason Foundation

by Michael C. Moynihan

Politico's Daniel Libit has an interesting piece on those liberal quislings appearing regularly on Fox News. Some, like former White House counsel Lanny Davis, see Fox as more willing to do battle with ideological opposites; other simply can't turn down an opportunity to reach such a large audience, like Democratic consultant Liz Chadderdon:

“It sucks,” says Democratic direct-mail consultant Liz Chadderdon, a regular on the network. “It is very, very tough to be a Democrat on Fox.”

During an October 2007 hit on “The Factor,” Chadderdon referred to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay as “victims.” It was a verbal faux pas, and she knew it. But no sooner did she get off the air than she received a death threat — the first of a handful she says she’s received after appearing on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox show.

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More recently, Chadderdon has been invited to talk business with Fox’s Neil Cavuto — on the main network and on the two-year-old Fox Business Network — even though she readily admits that she has no background in economics.

“Speaking about those issues is not my forte,” said Chadderdon. “And I’m getting the tar kicked out of me.”

So why does she keep doing it? For pretty much the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks. Fox is where the viewers are — No. 1 in the prime-time news ratings and drawing more than twice as many viewers on weeknights as either MSNBC or CNN.

This gets to the heart of an often-repeated complaint of liberal media critics: While Fox might periodically have left-leaning guests, unlike MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, they are typically ideological squishes, embarrassingly outmatched (like Chadderdon, who is clearly unqualified to discuss economic issues), or simply out numbered. There is something to this, of course, though I always bristled at criticism of Alan Colmes as the left's spineless, intellectually timid, Uncle Tom figure. He has always struck me as far smarter and a far more impressive polemicist than Sean Hannity. But the same is obviously true of places like MSNBC, who feature one heterodox Republican (Joe Scarborough) that frequently denounces conservatives as nutters and one Republican (Pat Buchanan) that consistently proves his point.

But it isn't only unknown quantities like Chadderdon willing to swallow their pride appear on the Lord Haw-Haw Traitor Hour. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, who recently told "Meet the Press" host David Gregory that Fox was quite obviously an arm of the Republican Party, will be promoting his book on the Greta van Susteren this week. From Swampland:

President Barack Obama, whose election campaign is chronicled in Plouffe's book, has cut Fox out of his own recent network news appearances, with White House aides dismissing Fox as an arm of the GOP. (Though a Fox executive dropped in at the West Wing last week to see about ironing some wrinkles out of the relationship).

Yet, although author Plouffe made an appearance on NBC News' "Meet the Press" over the weekend, where he spoke of the " some of the irresponsibility coming out of that (Fox) network'' and called it a "24-hour propaganda channel'' for the McCain campaign, The Swamp has learned that Plouffe stands ready for some book promotion Thursday night on Fox's On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.

For whatever complaints that Plouffe has about Fox, it appears, Van Susteren's regular audience of about 2 million viewers - that was her average draw in October -- is too much to resist in an inevitable book promotional tour of the networks. The Swamp inquired this morning, and Fox confirmed that Plouffe will be on Thursday night.