Fox News has seen more than its fill of stories about Mitt Romney’s purported missteps on Libya and on the deadbeat 47%-ers.
The right’s favorite news outlet has responded with a ferocious round of counter-programming. The key feature: flames, lots of flames. Flames, in particular, of American flags being burned by Mideast extremists. The none-too-subtle message: Commander in Chief Obama can’t protect our people, assets, or stars and stripes around the world.
The alternative Fox mix contains many other things, such as pictures of President Dilettante hobnobbing with pop stars Beyonce and Jay-Z at a fundraiser, or yukking it up with David Letterman. Yes, Obama’s fiddling with the fancy folks while Benghazi burns.
It also includes a story about a new Obama campaign graphic that replaces the starry blue field of the American flag with an Obama-blue “O.” “Narcissist in chief,” sneers Fox visitor Michelle Malkin.
It includes “experts” and contributors who say things like this: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton may have signed the “death warrant” of the U.S. ambassador to Libya by refusing to allow ammunition for defense forces. Or, from financial commentator Stuart Varney: “The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” Or, from military expert Ralph Peters: the White House has been “painting itself into a corner with lie after lie.”
Clearly, on Fox, it’s not Mitt Romney who has had a bad few days, but a president, who (as Peters has told us previously) is “indecisive,” “fearful” and “duplicitous.”
The moderators over this sort of flame-throwing hardly moderate. Take Megyn Kelly, host of the afternoon show “America Live.” Kelly will offer the occasional mild challenge of an outrageous claim. But she really speaks in full throat, eyes flashing, when she takes on the role of rage-channeler.
Kelly does this in a mildly artful way, posing some of her most withering critiques in the form of questions or by merely restating the positions of those in the news.
Funny, but if you didn’t listen really closely you would think it was the fiery Ms. Kelly who, for instance, fully embraces the idea of a country made up of makers and takers. And who is convinced that reproductive rights advocate Sandra Fluke really does sound like one of those government-dependent “victims” that Romney told a group of Florida high-rollers about. And, sheesh, Kelly asks, doesn’t the president really sound holier than thou? And wasn’t Margaret Thatcher a fine illustration of the rugged individualist?
The last I checked, the Fox PR machine still insisted that its daytime hosts, like Kelly, presented the news straight down the middle. Maybe that changed around the time that Romney started stumbling and slipping behind in several battleground state polls. That’s another Kelly specialty — presenting the most positive conceivable spin for the Republican on the day’s polling data.
It’s too bad, too, because somewhere inside all that fulminating about socialism and abandoning American values, Fox gets at some real questions worth putting in front of the president.
I left off my Fox viewing Thursday with evening news host Bret Baier announcing he would come back from a commercial with a story about how the Obama administration had changed its description of the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Officials first said it appeared the killing came at the end of a protest. But on Thursday, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said it was “self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
Lest there be any confusion about where the ensuing conversation would end up, Fox left for a commercial with this headline about the Obama administration’s position. “FLIP FLOP.”
Yes, it was in all caps. In a measure of restraint, the headline writers managed to hold back on the exclamation point.