Choosing sides: Fox figures defend Paladino after he threatens their News Corp. colleague

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino threatened a New York Post editor during what the Post called an "angry confrontation." Fox personalities have since praised Paladino for the altercation, calling him "refreshingly honest" and "iconoclastic," while criticizing the editor for being "unprofessional."

"Angry confrontation" leads to Paladino's threat to Post editor

On September 30, the New York Post reported on an "angry confrontation" the night before between Paladino and Post state editor Frederic Dicker:

It started when Dicker asked Paladino if he had any proof of his shocking allegation that Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo cheated on his former wife during their marriage.

"What evidence do you have for something most people would consider a smear?" Dicker asked.

Instead of responding to Dicker's question, Paladino accused him of sending a "goon" to stake out his former mistress at the home where she lives with their love child.

Sunday's Post featured a front-page story about Paladino's wife, Cathy, and his ex-lover, Suzanne Brady. It included an exclusive interview with Cathy Paladino.

"You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy!" Paladino told Dicker.

When Dicker asked how he planned to do that, Paladino replied, "Watch!"

"Are you threatening me?" Dicker asked.

When the candidate's aides jumped in to separate the men, Paladino, referring to Dicker, told them, "F- -k him."

Fox personalities back "iconoclastic" Paladino, criticize "unprofessional" NY Post

Huckabee: "I really like" Paladino, NY Post "stepped way over the line." On the September 30 edition of Hannity, Fox host Mike Huckabee commented that Dicker "stepped way over the line," adding: "No matter what Carl Paladino said to him that may have seemingly provoked him, it was his professional duty to remain detached and to remain objective. He failed to do that." He went on to criticize Dicker for having "injected himself into the story" and being "unprofessional" and "confrontational."

Huckabee also said of Paladino: "I've never met Carl Paladino, but I'll be honest with you, Sean, I'm getting where I really like this guy. I like him because he just -- he says all the stuff I always wanted to say but never could get away with."

O'Reilly: Paladino "helped himself" with altercation because "people are so fed up." On his October 1 show, Bill O'Reilly said: "I think Paladino doing what he did, you know, the wisdom is that he hurt himself. I think he helped himself. I think people in New York are so fed up. They despise Albany so much. The state is so dysfunctional that, even though he's a mad man, OK, that even though there's no censorship on him at all, they're going to say, 'You know what? That might be what we need to get this state under control.' " He added: "This year, all bets are off. And anything can happen because people are angry, and they're as angry as Paladino. Paladino reflects their anger."

Asman: "How many Americans are going to be cheering the politicians taking on the journalist?" On the October 1 edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, after Democratic strategist Christopher Hahn said that Paladino "derail[ed] his campaign," Asman replied, "I would not be so sure of that. By the way, a guy standing up to a guy in the media -- the media, after all, is down there along with Congress in terms of low opinion." He later added, "How many Americans are going to be cheering the politicians taking on the journalist?" He also said that "Real people have real issues, and the American people want real people in power."

Carlson: "It almost seemed like" NY Post editor "was working for Cuomo." On the September 30 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said of Dicker: "I have to say, after seeing that now, that reporter was in his face. That reporter -- it almost seemed like he was working on behalf of Cuomo, almost, a little bit." She added that she was not going to "defend what Paladino said at the end, because that did sound like a threat."

Hannity on Paladino: "I love his confrontational style. He's refreshingly honest." On his September 30 show, Hannity said that Dicker's original question to Paladino was "legitimate," but nonetheless praised Paladino's reaction, saying, "I'm kind of enjoying that he's got the establishment off-balance, and they don't know how to deal with this guy 'cause he's so outspoken." On the October 1 edition of his Fox show, he said of Paladino: "I love his confrontational style. He's refreshingly honest" (accessed from Nexis).

Paladino "speaks through Fox" in attempt to diffuse issue

Paladino sits for interviews on altercation with Kelly, Hannity, Shawn. Paladino gave October 1 interviews in which he discussed the incident to Megyn Kelly on America Live and Sean Hannity on Hannity. He was also interviewed by anchor Eric Shawn on the October 3 edition of America's News HQ. Fox News contributor Sarah Palin has advised Christine O'Donnell, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Delaware, to "speak to the American people. Speak through Fox News and let the independents who are tuning in to you, let them know what it is that she stands for, the principles behind her positions."

Fox rushed to GOP candidate Meg Whitman's defense

Following allegations that Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman knowingly employed an undocumented immigrant, Fox News took pains to cast doubt on the charges, alleging a "political stunt" by her Democratic opponent and that Whitman is the "victim of a last-minute smear campaign." Fox personalities previously criticized Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner for similar issues.

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