Fox News omits Republican scandals in assessment of Sanford prospects
Research ››› ››› ANDREW WALZER & MORGAN WEILAND
In two segments over the course of four hours on June 25, Fox News' James Rosen highlighted only scandals involving Democrats during reports that purported to examine earlier political sex scandals in an effort to assess South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's situation.
In segments airing between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. ET on June 25, Fox News Washington correspondent James Rosen highlighted only past scandals involving Democrats during reports assessing the potential political impact of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's extramarital affair. Specifically, Rosen's first segment, during the noon ET hour of Fox News' Happening Now, featured pictures of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, former President Bill Clinton hugging then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry. Rosen's second segment, during the 1 p.m. ET hour of Fox News' The Live Desk, featured Clinton-Lewinsky, Barry, and former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey. Neither segment mentioned any of the numerous sex scandals over a similar time period that involved Republican politicians such as Sen. John Ensign (NV), Sen. David Vitter (LA), and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, among others. By contrast, during the 3 p.m. ET hour of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith, Rosen's report about Sanford and prior political sex scandals featured both Democrats -- Clinton and Barry -- and Republicans -- Vitter and former Sen. Larry Craig (ID).
In addition, during Studio B, Smith and correspondent Jonathan Hunt mentioned both Republican and Democratic politicians' sex scandals while discussing other aspects of Sanford's affair. For instance, Smith said that Sanford "isn't the only political figure allegedly using money inappropriately," and Hunt then noted that Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has "filed two complaints about [Ensign] wanting to know more about the alleged severance payments he made to the woman who was a campaign aide and with whom he admitted he had an affair." Hunt also noted that former George H.W. Bush White House chief of staff John Sununu and former Clinton Office of Administration director David Watkins inappropriately used taxpayer money.
Smith went on to note other politicians' responses to the Sanford scandal, reading statements from House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who Smith said "has his own problems of late." Smith then added: "We're also hearing from governors who've gone through similar scandals. The former New Jersey Democratic governor, James McGreevey, resigned after admitting that he cheated on his wife with a man."
From the noon ET hour of Fox News' Happening Now (Spitzer; Clinton and Lewinsky; Clinton; Barry):
From the 1 p.m. ET hour of Fox News' The Live Desk (Clinton and Lewinsky; Barry; McGreevey):
From Rosen's report on the June 25 edition of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith (Barry; Vitter; Craig):
From the June 25 edition of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith:
SMITH: Now, Governor Sanford isn't the only political figure allegedly using money inappropriately.
HUNT: That's for sure. And it's not always about sex, and it certainly isn't about one particular party. Take, for instance, most recently, Republican Senator John Ensign. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has just filed two complaints about him, wanting to know more about the alleged severance payments he made to the woman who was a campaign aide and with whom he admitted he had an affair. Go back a good bit further, 1991, then-White House chief of staff in the first President Bush administration John Sununu got into hot water for using military aircraft for personal trips and for taking a White House limo and driver to a stamp auction, of all things. And then, in the first Clinton administration, David Watkins was director of the White House Office of Administration. He had to resign after taking Marine One on a golf trip. So it crosses party divides and all reasons.
SMITH: The governor's fellow Republicans are now speaking out about the affair and the future of the Republican Party. Sanford had been talked about as a possible 2012 presidential candidate. The House minority whip, Eric Cantor -- a Republican, obviously -- said, "I don't think our party has a scandal and I think we can focus on the issues." Huh. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said -- who's has his own problems of late -- he said, "I think it is a personal tragedy and I think it will be a hard time for him and his family dealing with these challenges." And the man replacing Sanford as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, the Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, with very few words about the situation.
BARBOUR [video clip]: I've made it a policy in my career that I don't talk about people's personal problems. I don't think it's polite, I don't think it's appropriate, I don't think it advances the ball down the field.
SMITH: We're also hearing from governors who've gone through similar scandals. The former New Jersey Democratic governor, James McGreevey, resigned after admitting that he cheated on his wife with a man. So what'd he said on NBC's Today show?
McGREEVEY [video clip]: We all fail. It's how we grapple with that failure, how we grapple with that, you know, sinful nature to be able to move to the next point of our lives. And this isn't something to be ignored. This is something I believe with integrity, if the governor embraces it with honesty, he can be that much more of a better governor.
SMITH: Former Governor McGreevey and his wife divorced last year.