As ThinkProgress has noted with our repeated use of the “The Rove Watch” clock, Fox News has failed to properly identify Karl Rove as an informal adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Since signing on as a “Fox News contributor” in February, Rove, a maxed-out donor to McCain, has provided electoral maps to the campaign, admitted learning about insider information in a “private gathering” with the senator, and repeatedly shilled for McCain on the network.
But yesterday on Hannity & Colmes — after almost four months of silence — a Fox anchor finally gave Rove his proper title. While Rove was slamming Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) as a “weak” candidate, Alan Colmes, the liberal co-host of the show, interrupted and noted that Rove was a McCain supporter who informally advises the senator:
ROVE: And I repeat. He [Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)] does not have 50 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary. If you look at it all, he has less than half a tenth, half of one percent lead.
COLMES: Look, Karl, I know you’re supporting McCain. But how do you know — and I know you informally advise McCain — but how do you know that he’s a weak general election candidate?
As Newshounds observed, Rove did not deny this label. Watch it:
Other media outlets such as ABC News and the Washington Post have identified Rove as an “informal adviser” to McCain. Rove has disputed the title, however. “I have friends at the campaign who occasionally ask me for reactions,” he said last month, calling these interactions simple “chit-chat.”
In fact, “Rove has a direct line to McCain advisers Steve Schmidt and Charlie Black and has been pushing the campaign” on strategy, as Marc Ambinder reported last month.
Conservatives on Fox, however, have refused to acknowledge Rove’s role in the campaign. In the segment last night, Sean Hannity referred to Rove as a “Fox News contributor” and “The Architect.” We’ll be watching to see whether Fox News’ conservative anchors follow Colmes’ lead.