How FoxNews Helped Eric Cantor Lose

Bad Actors
How FoxNews Helped Eric Cantor Lose

Eric Cantor’s Loss is a…

“Miracle!”

“I was blessed – it’s a miracle,” Congressional candidate David Brat told Sean Hannity in a phone interview.  “The people are ready for some major changes.”

Shortly after the Associated Press called the race for Brat in a runaway, the candidate and two of his key supporters, conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and right-wing gad-gnat Ann Coulter, all showed up on “Fox” News.  In live phone interviews, they took turns throwing dirt on the political grave of Eric Cantor’s career.

“I wish it would have the effect of Republicans waking up” and rejecting immigration reform, which was Cantor’s albatross, Coulter told Megyn Kelly.

Then, Ingraham – whom Kelly called “instrumental” in Brat’s win for promoting him over  Cantor on her radio show – weighed in with Kelly:

“This is an absolute repudiation of establishment politics.”

By contrast, Cantor – who until Tuesday had a long career as the Number two Republican in Congress, was arguably one of the most powerful conservatives in Washington and had his eye on House Speaker John Boehner’s job – was notably absent from conservatives’ favorite network.

In fact, with the exception of his brief concession speech, it was hard to find any video evidence of anyone from Cantor’s side explaining his historic political head-on collision.

No interviews were given, phone or otherwise, with Cantor or his campaign staff, or anyone who might have any insight about how the powerful incumbent’s $5 million campaign juggernaut lost to a political novice with a chump-change campaign war chest of just $200,000.

It’s unknown whether Fox chose not to invite Cantor or his representatives to talk on the air, or if the campaign preferred to dodge questions after such a humiliating defeat.

Either way, as a newsman, it makes Fox’s famous slogan, “We Report, You Decide,” ring more than a little hollow to me.  When it comes to the biggest political news of the year so far, I suspect viewers want to hear from both sides. It’s Fox News, which arguably makes its reputation on that sort of  thing.

It’s been said that history is written by the winners.

Fox News proved that theory Tuesday night in its coverage of the Virginia congressional primary was, well, at best, a serious example of “OOOOHHHH, HELLLLLL.”

A veteran journalist and former White House correspondent for Politico, Joseph Williams is a veteran journalist, editor and blogger who lives in Washington. He’s the former Deputy Chief of the Boston Globe’s Washington Bureau, and has held senior editing, writing and reporting positions at the Star Tribune in Minnesota, the Miami Herald and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is also a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

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A veteran journalist and former White House correspondent for Politico, Joseph Williams is a veteran journalist, editor and blogger who lives in Washington. He’s the former Deputy Chief of the Boston Globe’s Washington Bureau, and has held senior editing, writing and reporting positions at the Star Tribune in Minnesota, the Miami Herald and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is also a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

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