During a discussion about the role of political operatives who also appear as television pundits, Howard Kurtz highlighted Karl Rove's role in "pushing an agenda" for Republicans in his role as a political analyst Fox News while raising millions to back GOP candidates.
On the September 8 edition of Fox News' #MediaBuzz, Kurtz and his panel discussed a recent White House meeting on Syria with former White House staffers including Stephanie Cutter, Robert Gibbs, and David Axelrod, who currently appear as pundits on CNN and MSNBC.
In the course of that discussion, Kurtz took note of Karl Rove's history of using Fox News airtime to promote the Republican political agenda he was involved in developing at the time: "When Karl Rove appears on Fox and he's involved in raising many millions of dollars for Republican candidates and presidential candidates, possibly, last time around Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum appeared on Fox, it was fair to also question whether they are pushing an agenda."
Media Matters has extensively documented Rove's history of serving as an activeparticipant in Republican politics who raised millions to support their candidates whilebeing positioned by Fox News as a pundit who is simply analyzing the news from a conservative perspective.
Kurtz's criticism of his own network is refreshing. He has largely been silent about controversies involving Fox News since joining it in July. Kurtz said when he was hired by Fox that he would be bringing to the network his "independent brand of media criticism" with "the freedom to criticize anyone," including his new employer.
Like Rove, another former Bush staffer -- press secretary Dana Perino -- is also employed by the network as co-host of The Five. Perino has endorsed Republican candidates and appeared at events and fundraisers for the Republican Party while employed by Fox. Liz Cheney, who worked in the State Department under Bush, was employed as a Fox contributor while promoting Republican causes, and has used her visibility with the network to launch a Senate campaign.
Other Fox personalities have also used the network to double-dip as GOP activists.
Host Mike Huckabee runs a conservative PAC and has used Fox airtime to fundraise for it while also regularly hinting at a possible presidential run. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, a Fox contributor, also has a PAC. In the past, former Fox contributors Dick Morris and Rick Santorum also used Fox to promote their Republican PACs and candidates.
During the 2011-2012 election cycle, 32 Fox News figures traveled across the country to campaign and fundraise for Republicans, most notably presidential candidate Mitt Romney.