Fox News is doing its best to help Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Party's nominee for the U.S. Senate in Missouri, recover from the growing firestorm over his statement that it is “really rare” for women subjected to “legitimate rape” to become pregnant. As analysts predict that Akin's remark could put a winnable seat for the GOP at risk, the network is trying to downplay the comments.
In their first and as of yet only report on the comments, America's Newsroom anchor Martha MacCallum neither played Akin's comment nor read it, describing it only as “what he said about 'legitimate rape'” and adding that he “had to do some serious correction on that comment over the weekend.” Viewers unfamiliar with the story would have absolutely no idea what Akin had said.
MacCallum did not give Akin's remark its own segment, but rather highlighted it along with a Politico article about a GOP congressman skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee. She also framed the discussion as a media analysis story, noting that the two topics are “getting a lot of attention around some of the other media outlets” and asking “how significant” the stories are and whether “they deserve the attention they are getting.”
Indeed, both CNN and MSNBC have devoted multiple segments to the controversy this morning, in most instances airing Akin's comments in full.
As MacCallum referenced Akin, Fox suggested that the discussion over the comments is illegitimate, airing the caption, “Will the media seize on Rep Akin's (R-MO) comments & GOP 2011 behavior in Israel?”
Notably, Fox political analyst Karl Rove, to whom MacCallum turned for analysis on Akin's remarks, has founded organizations that have spent more than $5 million to win the Missouri Senate seat for Republicans.*
From this morning's America's Newsroom:
According to Politico, Crossroads has pulled its ads from the Missouri Senate race following the controversy over Akin's comments:
The group had originally booked a new round of ads to start Wednesday but began canceling them earlier today. The decision comes in the wake of comments by Missouri Rep. and GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin questioning how often women can get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”
Contacted about the decision to withdraw its resources from Missouri, Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson responded: “The act speaks for itself.”
* As originally written, this post undercounted the amount of money Rove's groups had invested in Missouri. It has since been updated.