In a December 10 article, The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley examined Fox News' coverage of the race for the Republican nomination for president and wrote that Republican “caucus and primary voters have a voice on Fox News,” which “practically owns and operates” the primary. From Stanley's article:
“You don't win Iowa in Iowa, you win it on this couch,” is how the Republican commentator Dick Morris put it on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. Mr. Morris said that the Republican debates and Fox News had forged a national primary that “imposes itself on Iowa.”
It's certainly obvious in Iowa that candidates are investing a lot more time in television interviews than they are on the campaign trail. It's a safe bet: a recent New York Times/CBS News poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus participants showed that 37 percent said they get most of their information from Fox News, that's compared with 27 percent who cited broadcast news and a mere 2 percent who said they relied on MSNBC.
Accordingly, caucus and primary voters have a voice on Fox News. All the networks, broadcast and cable, are closely covering the campaign, but Fox News practically owns and operates it: its viewers are seeing the world through the eyes of a Tea Party activist in Davenport, or a small business leader in Ames -- my own private Iowa.
And that responsibility gives Fox News an oddly bipolar feel these days. Long, detailed interviews with candidates and considered discussions of the pricklier primary issues like immigration and Medicare are woven into the cable channel's customary brisk, blistering brio and hyperbole -- all those flashy news alerts about President Obama waging “class warfare,” updates on an elderly robbery suspect known as the Geezer Bandit and the liberals' “war on Christmas.”