Gretchen Carlson ignored Fox News' own reporting that Fitzgerald requested Obama delay internal review

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

Following President-elect Barack Obama's announcement of his intention to release results of an internal review of contacts between his aides and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office next week, Fox News' Gretchen Carlson stated that "there is varying discussion about whether or not prosecutor [Patrick] Fitzgerald went to him [Obama] and said, hold off for another week." In fact, Fox News' Major Garrett previously reported that Fitzgerald's office "confirms that it made a special request of President-elect Obama's transition team that it not release any of the information involved in this internal search."

On the December 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First, following President-elect Barack Obama's announcement of his intention to release results of an internal review of contacts between his aides and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office next week, co-host Gretchen Carlson stated: "[T]here is varying discussion about whether or not prosecutor [U.S. attorney Patrick] Fitzgerald went to him [Obama] and said, hold off for another week, 'til Christmas week, when a lot of people won't be paying attention to the news, when a lot of people are on vacation." Carlson added: "[T]his is, you know, the best time to leak the hottest information that you have if you don't want a lot of attention on it. You know, so, was is that or is it the fact that the Obama camp just wants to release it at a time when nobody's paying attention?" But contrary to Carlson's claim that "there is varying discussion" about whether Fitzgerald "said hold off for another week," Fox News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett previously reported that Fitzgerald's office "confirms that it made a special request of President-elect Obama's transition team that it not release any of the information involved in this internal search."

During the December 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Garrett reported: "The U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of Illinois confirms that it made a special request of President-elect Obama's transition team that it not release any of the information involved in this internal search. And what we do know is that the internal search says there was no inappropriate context." Garrett concluded his report by stating: "Bottom line is: They say it was OK. Everything was on the up and up. And on December 22nd or sometime later after that, they will release this information for the public to scrutinize -- are not doing so at the request of the U.S. attorney."

From the December 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends First:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): And it's an interesting thing that's happening sometimes with the president-elect. When he gets some question he doesn't like, he tries to stop it in its tracks. Take a listen to what happened when Chicago Tribune reporter John McCormick tried to ask a question, let's say unrelated to education.

[begin video clip]

McCORMICK: Over the weekend, the Tribune reported that Rahm Emanuel, your incoming chief of staff, had presented a list of potential names that --

OBAMA: John. John. Let me just cut you off, because I don't want you to waste your question. The story that you just talked about, in your own paper, I haven't confirmed that it was accurate and I don't want to get into the details at this point. So, do you have another question?

McCORMICK: There's no conflict between what you said your hands-off approach and the possibility that it's --

OBAMA: John, I --

McCORMICK: -- it presents some --

OBAMA: John. I said, the U.S. attorney's office specifically asked us not to release this until next week.

[end video clip]

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): So, what is going on there? Clearly, he does not want to talk about the question that the reporter asked. And when you're having a press conference, you know, the reporters can ask anything, and then again, the person at the microphone can answer any way they want to. But is he simply being smart when it comes to a politically hot potato right now or is he following the instructions of the prosecutor in this case who's said, don't talk about anything until next week.

CARLSON: Well, but the report from the inside of the Obama campaign was supposed to be released this week. Now there is varying discussion about whether or not the prosecutor Fitzgerald went to him and said, hold off for another week, 'til Christmas week, when a lot of people won't be paying attention to the news --

DOOCY: Except us.

CARLSON: -- when a lot of people are on vacation and they're not -- this is, you know, the best time to leak the hottest information that you have if you don't want a lot of attention on it.

KILMEADE: Right.

CARLSON: You know, so, was is that or is it the fact that the Obama camp just wants to release it at a time when nobody's paying attention?

KILMEADE: Dana Milbank writes today that his answers have been very JV -- junior varsity. And he says that Stephen Hayes -- by the way, he quotes Stephen Hayes, who's a -- who writes for -- he's a conservative columnist.

DOOCY: He's got a typewriter.

KILMEADE: He says: It seems as though President-elect Obama tries to be so boring that no one will even notice that he's avoiding taking any questions on anything, any -- on virtually every issue that has arose over the last three months.

DOOCY: True.

KILMEADE: It's true. The press coverages have been kind of boring.

DOOCY: You know, they have been.

From the December 15 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

GARRETT: Good evening, Brit. The U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of Illinois confirms that it made a special request of President-elect Obama's transition team that it not release any of the information involved in this internal search. And what we do know is that the internal search says there was no inappropriate contacts.

Let me read to you a section of that particular statement released by the Obama transition office. Give me just one second, Brit. If you can read -- there we go, guys. Give me just one second. That the president-elect's staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff over the selection of successor as a U.S. senator.

The bottom line, Brit, is that the transition office looked at all the various staff contacts, confirmed that President-elect Obama didn't talk to Governor Blagojevich. No one on the staff did in an inappropriate way, that's their terminology. I've asked them to discuss with me what inappropriate means. Is it a legal term? Does it mean nothing unethical? Does it mean nothing criminal? They won't get back to me on that.

Bottom line is: They say it was OK. Everything was on the up and up. And on December 22nd or sometime later after that, they will release this information for the public to scrutinize -- are not doing so at the request of the U.S. attorney.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Gretchen Carlson
Show/Publication
FOX & Friends First
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