Fred Thompson & Fox News

Fred Thompson drew some attention this week-end by pointing out, correctly in my opinion, that Fox News has been biased against his campaign,

“In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace pressed Thompson on how some conservatives have lambasted Thompson’s campaign and showed clips of Fox conservative commentators Charles Krauthammer and Fred Barnes criticizing the former senator.

Thompson said, “This has been a constant mantra of Fox, to tell you the truth.” He noted that other conservatives have praised his bid for the GOP nomination and took issue with a Fox promo that focused on polling in New Hampshire, where Thompson is registering in the single digits.

He said he is running second in national polls and has been leading or tied for the lead in South Carolina for “a long, long time.”

Thompson, in a firm, but measured tone, scolded Wallace: “…for you to highlight nothing but the negatives in terms of the polls and then put on your own guys who have been predicting for four months, really, that I couldn’t do it, kind of skew things a little bit. There’s a lot of other opinion out there.”

Is this true? In my opinion, absolutely. In fact, I’ve had people complain to me privately about the way that Fox News attacks Fred Thompson.

Now, this doesn’t seem to jive with the whole idea of Fox being “the conservative network,” but you have to look at the whole picture.

#1) Fox is the “conservative network,” but only in comparison to the other mainstream media outlets. Truth be told, Fox isn’t nearly as representative of conservative opinion as, say a lot of the big talk radio hosts or even the right side of the blogosphere. As a matter of fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you’re just watching Fox and don’t listen to talk radio or read blogs, you don’t have any idea of what most conservatives really think because guys like Bill O’Reilly, Fred Barnes, & William Kristol may be to the right-of-center, but they’re out of the conservative mainstream in a lot of areas (Take illegal immigration, for example, where Fox — with the exception of Hannity — seemed to be generally supportive of the comprehensive illegal immigration bill being shoved through the Senate while most conservatives hated it).

#2) Many Inside-the-Beltway Republicans, including the ones at Fox, have come across as being very hostile to Fred Thompson. Maybe that’s because they’ve succumbed to the same cultural forces that have convinced Republicans in Congress that you have to abandon your conservative principles to win elections. Maybe they’re just biased towards Northeastern pols like Romney and Giuliani, because they’re living in that part of the country. Maybe most of them had already picked their candidates before Fred got in the race and they’re reluctant to change horse mid-stream. But, there has definitely been a weird disconnect between the conservative punditocracy and the conservative grassroots on Fred Thompson. The punditocracy doesn’t like him, while he seems to be the single most popular candidate by a good ways amongst conservative activists.

As far as Fred’s campaign goes, he’s 2nd in national polls, ahead of Romney, third in the first primary in Iowa, ahead of Giuliani, tied for 1st place in South Carolina with Romney, and is likely to be the top Republican candidate in fund raising during the 4th quarter of this year. Fox can sneer at Thompson if they like, but he is in the thick of the race and has a real shot to win the nomination. Will he win? I don’t know, but he certainly deserves a lot better than he has gotten from Fox and most of the other beltway insiders in DC.

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