Last night, Karl Rove appeared on Fox News’s “The O’Reilly Factor” to discuss President Bush’s interview with NBC and accusations that the network distorted Bush’s comments. Rove and guest host Laura Ingraham quickly attacked NBC’s ethics:
INGRAHAM: Yes, well, Karl, this follows on, you know, on primary nights, big nights, when you’re with Brit and everybody here. Over at NBC, they have a couple of their, you know, commentator types Matthews and the like, sitting next to Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams. I mean, there is no line between news and commentary. It’s all blurred.
Rove added that the “journalistic standards of MSNBC, which are really no standards at all,” are now “creep[ing] into NBC.” Watch it:
No one blurs the line between commentary and news more than Rove and Fox News. It has now been 105 days and no fewer than 58 appearances since Rove first appeared as a Fox News political analyst, and the network still has not disclosed his ties to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). ThinkProgress looks at Rove’s connections to the McCain campaign in a new Salon article:
– On Feb. 7, two days after Rove first appeared on Fox News as a contributor, he donated $2,300, the maximum legal amount, to McCain’s campaign.
— After Rove had made 14 appearances on Fox News, Politico reported that soon after donating to McCain’s campaign, Rove “had a private conversation with the senator.” A top McCain advisor also told the paper that Rove and Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman were “informally advising the campaign.”
— Rove’s consulting firm has been disseminating 2008 electoral map projections to influential media outlets and party operatives. In late March, McCain media advisor Mark McKinnon participated in a public conversation about the campaign with former Bush strategist Matthew Dowd. During the talk, McKinnon displayed maps analyzing the states and their electoral votes; the maps bore the header “Karl Rove & Co.”
— At the beginning of April, McCain embarked on a biography tour to introduce himself to the public, which may have been Rove’s idea. In an April 4 blog post, the Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder noted that Rove had laid out the idea for such a tour during a Feb. 20 appearance at the University of Pennsylvania. Rove proceeded to list the very locations that McCain would eventually visit in April. (Although, McCain actually spoke in Prescott, AZ, rather than Rove’s suggested Sedona, AZ.)
— On April 22, while doing on-air coverage of the Pennsylvania primary for Fox News, Rove let slip that he “saw Senator McCain recently at a private gathering” where the general election campaign was discussed.
Fox allows Rove to appear on air and attack the Democratic candidates while posing as an independent analyst. But as The New York Times’s Frank Rich notes, Rove is nothing more than a “thinly veiled McCain surrogate.”
ROVE: Look, NBC has got a real problem because we’re now in a position where we are starting to see the journalistic standards of MSNBC, which are really no standards at all, creep into NBC, which is a respected news organization.
And you ask why would the president give an interview to him. Well, look, the president gives interviews to the major news networks all the time. If he were to sort of blacklist NBC, NBC would be screaming in the streets and be talking about it every night at news…
ROVE: ..every night on the news report. So it’s important for him to give them the courtesy of responding to a request for an interview.
INGRAHAM: Well, but…yes.
ROVE: But, you know what? This is an example how they miss — how they abuse those requests.
INGRAHAM: But, yes.
ROVE: I mean, this is atrocious. This is really — Richard Engel is a — was a respected journalist. For him to have edited this or allowed it to be edited by some minion at NBC so that the entire purpose of the president’s answer is lost and left on the cutting floor is pretty amazing.
INGRAHAM: Yes, well, Karl, this follows on, you know, on primary nights, big nights, when you’re with Brit and everybody here. Over at NBC, they have a couple of their, you know, commentator types Matthews and the like, sitting next to Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams. I mean, there is no line between news and commentary. It’s all blurred. And it’s always blurred against the administration, against the favor of the surge, against what progress is made in Iraq. No credit given. And this has been a consistent problem all along.
And I just think what’s the point of continuing to give interviews to news organization that seem like they’re wedded to the next presidency of Barack Obama?