“Political Star” Marco Rubio is the latest Fox News candidate

Fox News has declared that “A Political Star [Was] Born” at CPAC on February 18: Marco Rubio, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Florida, who Fox News personalities have described as a “rising star” and an “amazing leader” who “knocked it out of the park during his speech.” Rubio is the latest in a long line of GOP candidates who have been bolstered by Fox News in its role as the Republican Party's communications arm.

Fox decides: Marco Rubio is a “political star”

Fox & Friends: “A Political Star Is Born.” From the February 19 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:


America's Newsroom: Rubio is “the main attraction” at CPAC, “one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the conference.” On the February 18 edition of America's Newsroom, while Rubio was giving his speech, host Bill Hemmer commented that it was “one of the most eagerly anticipated moments of the conference.” Correspondent Carl Cameron also stated that Rubio has “lit up the conservative movement” and commented: “as you hear the crowd applauding [for Rubio], invariably it is the conservative endorsement of Rubio over [Florida Gov. Charlie] Crist, the moderate, and that's very much illustrative of what's going on in the country, so to have the conservatives here as they attempt to grab hold of the core of the Republican Party and reassert its values.”

Hannity: Rubio “will be an amazing leader for the party,” “knocked it out of the park in his speech.” On the February 18 edition of Hannity, Sean Hannity described Rubio's speech as “one of the most anticipated moments today” before hosting Rubio, whom Hannity said has a “pretty inspiring story to tell.” Elsewhere during the program, Hannity exclaimed that “Marco Rubio knocked it out of the park in his speech,” and said he “is a rising star.” Radio talk show host Jeri Thompson also told Hannity, “I love that you had Marco Rubio on tonight. He's an amazing leader and will be an amazing leader for the party.”

Declaration of stardom follows Fox promotion of Rubio “moneybomb”

Jarrett highlights DeMint's “moneybomb” for Rubio; DeMint responds by plugging moneybomb website. On the February 10 edition of America's Newsroom, host Greg Jarrett stated that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) had “dropped kind of a money bomb, as they say, on the conservative candidate Marco Rubio” and asked DeMint if it was appropriate to refer to him as a “conservative kingmaker.” DeMint responded in part, “Just since you brought it up, rubiomoneybomb.com is the money bomb that we hope to drop on Marco Rubio today."

Bolling repeatedly promotes Rubio moneybomb in interview with him. Introducing Rubio on the February 10 edition of Your World, guest host Eric Bolling commented that Rubio “recently launched a website called stimulusbomb.com in hopes of raising $787,000 for his campaign. He's already raised more than 560 grand since the start of the month." While displaying an image from stimulusbomb.com, Bolling later stated that Rubio is “asking for $7.87 or $78.70 or $787. Why?”

Fox News previously campaigned for Brown and Kirk

On Fox, Brown encouraged viewers to visit his campaign website to find out “how to help with donating and volunteering.” As Media Matters has documented, in several Fox News appearances during his campaign in the special election for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat, Scott Brown pointed viewers to his campaign website, solicited funds for his campaign, and also cited RedInvadesBlue.com, where, he said, “we have a money bomb right now that's hitting ... and you can help me fight back against the machine.”

“Political analyst” Morris: “Please, please help” Brown. During the January 11 edition of Hannity, Fox News contributor Dick Morris urged viewers to “go to DickMorris.com ... to help elect Brown,” because if “we win this fight, then there will never be another victory for Obama.” DickMorris.com included a fundraising plea “to help us raise $300,000 for a last minute media buy to push Brown and the Republicans to victory”; Fox News executives allowed Morris to solicit funds for Republican efforts despite reportedly telling colleague Mike Huckabee to cease conflict-of-interest promotions that help his political action committee.

Fox plays GOP ad attacking Kirk's opponent, compares Kirk favorably to Brown. During its February 3 coverage of the Senate primary in Illinois, Fox News repeatedly aired a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) “attack ad” targeting Republican candidate Mark Kirk's Democratic opponent, Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, provided Kirk a platform to attack Giannoulias, and repeatedly offered favorable comparisons between Kirk and Brown.

Conservative candidates for '09 elections stumped on Fox, on-air personalities celebrated and shilled for them

Conservative candidates stump on Fox during lead-up to elections. In the two weeks leading up to the November 3, 2009, elections, Conservative Party congressional candidate Doug Hoffman, New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, and Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell appeared on Fox News and its personalities' radio shows at least 16 times for live interviews lasting a total of 114 minutes and 36 seconds. Christie made at least five appearances totaling almost 37 minutes on Fox News and its personalities' radio shows; McDonnell made at least three appearances totaling 18 minutes; and Hoffman made at least seven appearances totaling almost 60 minutes.

Fox News hosts, political analysts spend Election Day celebrating and shilling for conservatives and GOPers. On November 4, 2009, numerous Fox News hosts and political analysts encouraged voters to donate to and volunteer and vote for GOP and conservative candidates, including Christie, McDonnell, and Hoffman. The Fox News personalities included Mike Huckabee, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Tammy Bruce, and Eric Bolling.

Leading up to elections, Fox personalities promoted conservative and GOP candidates and helped fundraise for them. Fox News hosts and analysts offered support for McDonnell, Christie, and Hoffman and their fundraising efforts leading up to the elections. For example, on his November 2, 2009, Fox News show, Hannity told Hoffman, “I hope I'm on the air this time tomorrow night and I'll be able to declare you the winner.” On November 3, 2009, on Twitter, Fox News contributor Karl Rove encouraged his followers to donate to the Republican Governors Association in order to help Christie's campaign. On two Fox News shows in October 2009, Huckabee directed viewers to “go to balancecutsave.com," urging them to sign a petition telling Congress to “balance the budget,” “cut their spending,” and “save American families”; however, balancecutsave.com redirected visitors to Huckabee's political action committee, which financially supports Republican candidates. Subsequently, Huck PAC apparently emailed petition signers -- who were required to provide an email address in order to sign the “balancecutsave” petition -- a “newsletter” urging political action on behalf of Republican-backed candidates Bob McDonnell, David Harmer, and Doug Hoffman.

Fox News operates as a conservative political organization

“Voice of the opposition”: Fox News openly advocates against Democratic Congress, White House. Since Barack Obama's inauguration, Fox News has frequently engaged in political advocacy against the Democratic Congress and White House. Specifically, Fox News personalities have promoted and encouraged viewers to “join” tea party protests, Glenn Beck's organization The 9-12 Project and its September 12, 2009, “March on Washington,” and town hall meetings; engaged in a witch hunt seeking to “get rid of” Obama administration officials and nominees; implored viewers to call Congress and the White House to protest Democratic policies; and celebrated “victor[ies]” when Democratic legislation has been stalled.

Research and communications arm: Fox News is home to GOP in exile. A revolving door exists between the Republican Party and Fox News Channel, with a number of former Bush administration officials, former and potentially future GOP presidential candidates, and Republican strategists on Fox's payroll and airwaves. A Media Matters review of Fox coverage from September 1, 2009, through October 25, 2009, revealed that these individuals, typically hosted alone or on unbalanced panels, often used their airtime to advance false and misleading claims about Democrats and progressives, as well as to fundraise, further demonstrating that Fox is effectively a conservative political organization and not a legitimate news outlet.