Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace allowed Bill Kristol to attack the nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary without disclosing that Kristol is currently waging a full-scale campaign to oppose the nominee. Wallace further failed to challenge Kristol on his previous support of Hagel until he publicly supported a withdrawal from the Iraq War.
Fox News contributor Bill Kristol has been leading a relentless attack campaign against former Republican senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary. During television appearances and on his site The Weekly Standard, Kristol is actively encouraging the Senate to block Hagel's nomination. The Emergency Committee for Israel, a political advocacy group Kristol founded, has even launched an anti-Hagel website complete with attack ads.
Yet on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Kristol to opine on Hagel's nomination without any mention of his advocacy to prevent Hagel from becoming defense secretary. After saying Hagel is a "controversial pick for defense secretary," Wallace directed Kristol: "Your comments on Hagel?" Kristol replied, "I don't think Chuck Hagel is the right man to be secretary of defense. We'll see if the United [States] Senate agrees with that." Kristol opposes the nomination on the false grounds that Hagel is hostile to Israel and sympathetic to Iran.
Kristol even interjected Hagel attacks into unrelated conversations.
When the panel discussed Vice President Biden's gun control task force, Wallace asked Kristol if he foresaw Congress passing new gun control legislation. Kristol answered, in part, by claiming Hagel is "anti-Israel": "The president didn't campaign on gun control. Second-term presidents do well when they actually try to implement things they've told the voters they are going to focus on. President Obama was going to focus on the economy. He was pro-Israel, and now he's nominated one of the most anti-Israel senators to be secretary of defense."
And later, on the topic of Obama's second-term strategy for working with Republicans, Kristol asserted, "In fact, if I can just get back to the Chuck Hagel nomination one more time, [Obama] ran as an extremely pro-Israel and tough on Iran, pro-Iran sanctions guy. And now he's nominated a defense secretary who's not on board with that. Which is why I think Republicans feel no compunction about opposing Senator Hagel."
Along with giving Kristol a uncritical platform to continue his attack campaign, Wallace also failed to question Kristol about his previous support of Hagel. In 2007, before Hagel voiced his opposition to the Iraq war, Kristol called him an "impressive and attractive first-term senator" who had a "decent shot" at becoming vice president for George W. Bush.