After spending years promoting his career, Fox News is pushing former employee Scott Brown across the finish line in his New Hampshire Senate race.
Both nights this weekend, just days before Tuesday's midterm elections, Fox is re-airing its documentary about health care reform in the state, Live Free or Die: Obamacare In New Hampshire.The special, which features Brown, first aired in August and was dismissed by the state's Democratic party as “a blatant attempt to prop up their former employee's campaign, full of half-truths and misleading rhetoric.”
Brown promoted the initial airing on his Twitter feed, telling followers to “Tune into @FoxNews tonight at 10 to watch my discussion with @BretBaier on the 'ObamaCare in New Hampshire' documentary.” The special is so favorable to Brown that his campaign has since screened it for voters.
His campaign website announced in late August that it was planning to hold a “special screening” of Live Free or Die for supporters. A campaign poster touting the event called the Fox special “The Documentary That Senator Shaheen Doesn't Want You To See.” A week later, Brown invited people to his campaign's headquarters for a second screening.
Devoting significant airtime to a pro-Brown documentary shortly before the election isn't the only way Fox has been trying to give Brown a late boost.
Earlier this week Fox & Friends hosted Brown for an embarrassing interview. During the conversation, Brian Kilmeade told Brown that “both sides are saying you're one of the finest politicians that they've seen because you like people, and you like meeting them, and you'll have a few beers with them.” Promoting one of the principle talking points of Brown's campaign, Steve Doocy claimed Brown's opponent, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, “has been, essentially, a rubber stamp for Barack Obama.”
Attempting to contrast Brown's behavior during his time in Senate, Doocy offered, “When you were in the U.S. Senate, you were not a rubber stamp, an automatic rubber stamp for George Bush's policies.” Brown was forced to correct Doocy's bungled talking point, noting he didn't serve while President Bush was in office.
It was a strange mistake from Doocy, who should be well-acquainted with Brown's time in the Senate, considering Fox & Friends and the rest of the network went all-out to help get him elected during his run for a Massachusetts Senate seat in 2009 and 2010 (including Doocy and his co-hosts playing with a Scott Brown action figure on-air):
When Brown lost his 2012 re-election bid, he was quickly hired by Fox News as a contributor. According to the network, he was going to bring his “out of the box thinking” to the airwaves. It quickly became clear that Brown and Fox News were mostly teaming up to help prep the next stage of his political career.
Brown was repeatedly hosted -- while still cashing a paycheck from the network -- to give what sounded like campaign stump speeches, including attacking his eventual election opponent. His columns for FoxNews.com -- featuring headlines like “GOP can once again lead as the party of fiscal responsibility” and “Time to hold Democrats in Congress responsible for the mess they created.” -- also read like campaign material.
The network and Brown worked to insulate him from inevitable criticism for running for office in New Hampshire after serving as a Massachusetts Senator, starting very shortly after his hiring.
During an appearance on Fox News Sunday in March 2013, host Chris Wallace pointed to the “talk” that Brown might run, prompting an inevitable dodge from Brown. Karl Rove, the Fox News contributor whose Crossroads political groups have recently spent millions trying to get Brown elected, helpfully chimed in that Brown is “a ninth generation New Hampshire-ite. That's the dirty little secret. His mother lives there.”
One of his last appearances before Fox severed his contract featured Brown telling viewers that he has “long and strong ties to New Hampshire, you know, going back generations.”
After he left the network, Fox's coverage of Brown's primary race was so unbalanced that his then-Republican primary opponent, former Republican Sen. Bob Smith, called foul, claiming the network had showered Brown with “flattering” coverage while ignoring his own campaign.
Brown credited his employment with Fox News for motivating him to run for office again, stating in an interview that “being on Fox ... really charged me up to get involved again.”
And with the election mere days away, Fox is now re-airing -- twice -- the special that Brown deemed worthy of using as campaign propaganda.