Fox & Friends' "Pledge to America" reporting: A great pledge or the greatest pledge?
Research ››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN
Despite vowing to report both sides of the story "and let you decide," Fox & Friends' coverage of the GOP "Pledge to America" consisted almost entirely of conservatives who love the pledge and Republicans who want to promote it. However, Fox ignored that several conservatives have panned the "Pledge to America."
Fox vows to "report" both sides of "pledge to America" story and let "you decide"
Carlson's promise on pledge coverage: "We're going to report and let you decide." Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson opened the September 23 show by announcing: "The GOP out with a solution to save America this morning. But some say it's actually a pledge to the same people that got us into this mess. So who's right? We're going to report and let you decide."
But then Fox just decided: Coverage consisted almost entirely of support for the "solution to save America"
Fox & Friends' "point-counterpoint": Three Republicans who love the plan. In Fox & Friends' first segment on the Republican's pledge, correspondent Julie Kirtz reported on the elements of the pledge, including that it "promises to stop what Republicans call job-killing tax hikes." Co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy then purported to offer a "point-counterpoint" on the pledge, saying, "let's just listen to both sides," and aired a video consisting entirely of clips of Congresswoman Michele Bachman (R-MN), Congresswoman Shelley Moore (R-WV), and Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) all offering their support for the pledge.
The only opposition to the pledge Fox & Friends airs is Steny Hoyer's poem mocking the plan. Later during that segment, after Carlson explained that the Republicans came up with a "very massive, structured, specific plan" to counter the notion that they are simply "the party of no," Doocy mentioned Steny Hoyer's (D-MD) response to "what he thinks [the pledge] will say," and read the following:
I pledge allegiance to the hedge fund managers of Wall Street, and the consumer protections I want to take away... I pledge allegiance to the insurance companies, who we want to put back in charge of health care... I pledge allegiance to the wealthiest of the wealthy who I will protect before the middle class... I pledge allegiance to the oil companies whom we apologized to ... I pledge allegiance to big corporations and the jobs they outsource... with a recession and huge deficits for all.
Discussing Hoyer's statement again in the second hour of the show, Kilmeade called Hoyer "the voice of sarcasm." He then read a portion of Hoyer's comments and added: "You get the idea. So Steny Hoyer being sarcastic about the pledge, and sarcastic about what he claims to be the Republican agenda." Fox & Friends aired no comments from other people criticizing the pledge.
Carlson's softball interview with Rep. Pence: "I guess the Democrats can't say that the Republicans are the 'Party of No' anymore." In a subsequent segment on the Republican's pledge, Fox & Friends hosted Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN) to promote the Republican's pledge. Carlson began the interview by asking Pence: "Well I guess the Democrats can't say that the Republicans are the 'Party of No' anymore, can they?" Carlson then asked Pence if the pledge was a "tip of the hat to the tea party movement," and why "it was so important" to have a commitment to "families, traditional marriage and private and faith-based organizations" and to end "all public funding for abortion at home and abroad."
Fox & Friends hosted Malkin to say pledge shows GOP "is clearly listening" to its base. Later during the program, Fox & Friends hosted Michelle Makin to discuss the pledge. Malkin said that the pledge showed that Republicans are "clearly listening to the grassroots base of the Republican party who've been demanding some sort of written contract." She added that the pledge is "a good rejoinder to all of the knocks from the Democrats and the White House that the Republicans are simply the 'Party of No'." She also expressed concern that in the past, conservatives have seen "so many Republicans make these grand pledges and then forsake them in times of crisis," but "they've got an agenda now" and "of course they [had] to produce something." Carlson then agreed that "they have to produce it so that they're no longer the 'Party of No,'" and that "there's a tremendous amount of imagery and thought that went into this whole thing to appeal to the American public."
What Fox didn't tell you: Not all conservatives loved the pledge
Erick Erickson: Pledge is "Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan." In a September 22 post, RedState blogger and CNN contributor Erickson wrote of the pledge:
These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious [sic] of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama.
I have one message for John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the House GOP Leadership: If they do not want to use the GOP to lead, I would like to borrow it for a time.
The entirety of this Promise is laughable. Why? It is an illusion that fixates on stuff the GOP already should be doing while not daring to touch on stuff that will have any meaningful longterm effects on the size and scope of the federal government.
This document proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy. All the good stuff in it is stuff we expect them to do. What is not in it is more than a little telling that the House GOP has not learned much of anything from 2006.
RedState's Hogan: "The Pledge to Nowhere." In a September 23 post to RedState.com, blogger Hogan wrote that "Yesterday's much anticipated 'Pledge to America' represents a glimpse into how Republicans plan to govern, and simply put, it's a pledge to nowhere." He continued:
At a time when America needs a bold, simple, fresh plan for putting America on the path to fiscal and constitutional sanity - we get instead an almost 8000 word term paper of inside-the-beltway regurgitation that lacks the one thing the American people seem to be dying to have... actual leadership. Harsh? Hardly.
In one asinine move, the GOP House leadership demonstrated that it is more interested in votes than in changing Washington and that it has learned nothing. In fact, all you need to know is that the ever-inspiring and bold David Frum wrote yesterday about the Pledge, "GOP to Tea Party: Your Votes Yes, Your Ideas No."
Frum: "A Pledge to Do Nothing." In a September 22 post to the FrumForum, David Frum linked to Erickson's critique of the pledge, and wrote:
Here is the GOP cruising to a handsome election victory. Did you seriously imagine that they would jeopardize the prospect of victory and chairmanships by issuing big, bold promises to do deadly unpopular things?
But if the document is unsurprising, it's also unsurprising that Erickson and those who think like him would find it enraging. The "Pledge to America" is a repudiation of the central, foundational idea behind the Tea Party. Tea Party activists have been claiming all year that there exists in the United States a potential voting majority for radically more limited government.
But the true sad news is that this is not a document to govern with in the recessionary year 2010. It's fine to reject Tea Party illusions. But without an alternative modern Republican affirmative program, the GOP will find itself at risk of being captured and controlled by special interests instead.
The most admirable thing about the Tea Party is its zeal to find a bigger message for the Republican Party than: do what K Street wants. The message offered by the Tea Party may have been unworkable, unrealistic, or worse - but at least it was large and public-spirited.
I'd like to see a Modern Republicanism that responds better to the needs of the country, while retaining still the Tea Party's reforming spirit. What I fear is the worst of all worlds: a Republican majority that rejects not only extremist ideas, but all ideas.
Doug Ross: Erickson's point "that the GOP's effort is mostly 'dreck' -- is valid." In a September 22 post, blogger Doug Ross linked to Erickson's post and wrote: (emphasis in original) "[H]is point -- that the GOP's effort is mostly 'dreck' -- is valid. Washington's so freaking broken that the usual platitudes and rhetoric can't and won't suffice. 21 pages? How about starting with two words: THE CONSTITUTION?" He gave a critique of several elements of the pledge:
Consider the summary of the GOP pledge:
• We will fight to ensure transparency and accountability in Congress and throughout government. [Platitude]
• We will continue to fight the growth of government and oppose new stimulus spending that only puts our nation further in debt. [Platitude]
• We will fight efforts to fund the costly new health care law. [Feh]
• We will fight to increase access to domestic energy sources and oppose attempts to impose a national "cap and trade" energy tax. [Okay, barely]
• We will fight for the rights of workers and oppose "card check" schemes that put union bosses before individuals' right to a secret ballot. [Okay, barely]
• We will fight efforts to use a national crisis for political gain. [I have no idea what this means]