Fox prime-time hosts mum on Coburn's slap at Fox

Blog ››› ››› TERRY KREPEL

As we've previously noted, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn's advice to a constituent to not "catch yourself being biased by Fox News" is a ready-made situation for the trademark snark Fox typically issues to its critics, yet it hasn't uttered a peep about Coburn.

That silence extends to Fox's prime-time lineup. Its most-viewed hosts -- Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren -- said nary a word about Coburn's remark on their April 6 broadcasts. By contrast, these same hosts tend to follow the corporate line in defending their employer against other critics -- say, liberals or the Obama White House.

Then again, they may be too close to Coburn to take the usual scorched-earth approach to criticism. Coburn is a Republican after all, and he has received favorable treatment from at least two of these hosts when he appeared on their shows.

On the December 16, 2009, edition of his radio show, Hannity said to Coburn, "I hear you're really ticking off Bernie Sanders when you demanded his 765-page amendment [to the Senate health care reform bill] be read on the floor [of the Senate] today." Hannity went on to praise Coburn and fellow guest Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) for "standing really strong here and you're using every parliamentary procedure at your disposal."

On the December 21, 2009, edition of her show, Van Susteren allowed Coburn to tell "his side of the story" regarding his comment on the Senate floor that "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote" on the Senate health care reform bill and also allowed Coburn to falsely claim that the bill permits federal funding of abortion. Van Susteren also interviewed Coburn in his Senate office for the October 6, 2009, edition of her show. Van Susteren said: "Nice to be in your office too. You're working hard."

It's difficult to bash or snark about a guy when you've gushed about being in the same room as him.

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