This morning, Media Matters released a leaked email sent by Fox News' Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon during the height of the health care reform debate instructing Fox's journalists not to use the phrase "public option." As we detailed, Sammon's directive echoed advice from a Republican pollster on how to turn public opinion against reform.
Responding to The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz about the leaked email, Sammon reportedly defended his directive, and also objected to being characterized as conservative:
Sammon said in the interview that he was a newspaper reporter for 25 years and his record demonstrates that he hasn't favored either side. "Have I said things where I take a conservative view? Give me specifics," he said.
Kurtz lists several examples from Sammon's appearances on Fox since he became managing editor:
In his Fox appearances since his promotion last year, Sammon has been notably unsympathetic to the Obama administration. "The mainstream media hates the Tea Party movement almost as much as it hates Sarah Palin," he said this year. "And the reason is simple. That's because both are a threat." Less than a month after the president took office, Sammon said of the stimulus bill: "I think this has turned into a public-relations disaster for Obama. People look at this thing and see, you know, some mouses being protected in Pelosi's district, some rail lines being built in Harry Reid's state... I think as we get deeper into the details of this bill, it's going to get uglier and uglier. So yes, Obama won, but he won ugly."
Sammon has also accused Obama of making decisions that "take America off its war footing... the opposite of what the Bush and Cheney folks did in the wake of 9/11." And during a discussion of Iraq last year, he said: "That's the difference between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives have the intellectual honesty like Bill Kristol here to support both surges, whereas a lot of Democrats reflexively opposed George Bush's surge because--it wasn't so much because they were antiwar. It's because they wanted to destroy the Bush presidency."
And evidence that Sammon pushes a conservative viewpoint goes back much farther.
As we documented earlier this year, Sammon wrote numerous fawning books about the Bush administration, most of which were published by the Regnery Company, which describes itself as "central to the conservative movement" and "the nation's preeminent conservative publisher."
Sammon's books didn't really try to hide his viewpoint, and in fact were identified by reviewers as "conservative polemic" that show his "admiration" of President Bush:
- At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election
- Fighting Back: The War on Terrorism From Inside the Bush White House
- Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias, and the Bush Haters
- Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media
- The Evangelical President: George Bush's Struggle to Spread a Moral Democracy Throughout the World
But you don't have to take our word for it about Sammon's conservative bona fides, just ask two of Fox News' most prominent on-air personalities.
In a June 2001 interview on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly introduced Sammon by saying: "Mr. Sammon obviously is a conservative and coming from that point of view." Sammon did not object to O'Reilly designation.
More recently, on the August 2009 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co's Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace told Sammon that "I think it's fair to say you tilt conservative in your views." Once again, Sammon did not reject Wallace's characterization.
Is that "specific" enough, Mr. Sammon?