Fox News has aired two favorable interviews of Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker by host Brian Kilmeade in the span of a week, providing the candidate with crucial support in one of the most closely watched Senate midterms in the country.
The segments paired an incoherent candidate with an incoherent television personality in a seeming attempt by the campaign to make Walker appear intelligent by comparison.
On August 1, Fox & Friends aired a segment of Kilmeade ostensibly spending the day with Walker on the campaign trail. The opening seconds of the piece dispelled any pretense of journalistic distance, as Kilmeade literally skipped with excitement toward his interview subject.
“What’s it like, getting into a car that says ‘U.S. Senate’ and with your face on — with your face on it,” Kilmeade asked, giddy with enthusiasm.
Kilmeade accompanied Walker to a roundtable meeting with the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, but the majority of the remaining six-minute piece was an interview made up of a series of softball questions with no follow-up.
“I know you have a different style, but what did you learn from Donald Trump’s rookie run?” Kilmeade asked.
“To be authentic. To be yourself. And to love this country,” Walker responded.
Kilmeade then gave Walker an opportunity to justify not debating his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.
“Why would you commit to October 16?” Kilmeade asked, referring to the proposed date for the debate.
“One of the first things you've got to think about is a debate is for the people and not for any press or for any political party. He keep talking about debates because he don't want to talk about his terrible record,” Walker responded.
Kilmeade also allowed Walker to offer a rambling explanations of the recent revelations that he has three previously publicly unacknowledged children and his false claims that he worked for the FBI. He also gave Walker a chance to spin his bizarre comments from mid-July about how “China’s bad air” moves “over to our good air.”
Fox News had aired an interview between Kilmeade and Walker less than a week earlier, at the Longstreet Cafe in Gainesville, Georgia, touching on many of the same issues. Although Kilmeade didn’t visibly skip in that segment, he did introduce Walker less like a journalist and more like a master of ceremonies. “Herschel Walker, everybody,” Kilmeade said to applause from the gathered diners. (The segment that aired August 1 appears to have been filmed the same day.)
In that interview, Kilmeade began by proactively justifying Walker’s refusal to debate on the grounds that not debating worked well for him in the Republican primary.
“Herschel, Sen. Raphael Warnock wants to debate you. You didn’t debate during the primaries, where you walked away with 68% of the Republican votes. Why won’t you commit to a debate?” Kilmeade asked.
“First of all, Sen. Warnock has nothing else to talk about,” Walker responded. “He don't want talk about the high gas prices. He don’t want to talk about the high groceries. I’ve told him many times, I am ready debate him any time, any day. I want to make it for the fans, not about a political party or about some media. And all they doing is talking. I want to make it a fair and equitable debate for the people.”
At that point, Kilmeade interjected to raise doubts about the moderator. The interview continued much as the more recent one did, with Kilmeade offering Walker a chance to explain the controversy over his unacknowledged children, as well as what both men referred to as China’s “bad air.”
Warnock has a slight polling lead over Walker in a race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Former President Donald Trump initially encouraged Walker to run over the objections of establishment Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who were concerned about Walker’s history, including reports of abusive and threatening behavior. McConnell later endorsed Walker, and the multiple friendly interviews from Fox News demonstrate the importance to conservatives of winning the Georgia Senate seat.