Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fox News Channel's control of GOP candidates blocks CNN's access


By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Three of the potential Republican candidates for president of the United States are refusing to come on CNN to talk about their visions for the nation’s future.
Normally, when a candidate is seeking office – especially the highest office in the land, he or she wants as much exposure as possible.
But three of the possible candidates – former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich – are all on the Fox News Channel’s payroll.
On the one hand, this is good for their projected aspirations – because they are getting repeated and extensive access to the Fox News Channel’s audience. But on the other hand, it’s not so good, because they aren’t getting very much airtime on rivals CNN or MSNBC.
It’s gotten so bad, that CNN’s John King has dubbed it “the Fox problem.” In fact, it’s so rare that he lands an interview with any of the trio, that when he does (as he did recently with Newt Gingrich), it becomes a story in itself.
One could argue that when candidates limit their exposure to media outlets that pay them that it’s not just hurting that network’s competition. It’s hurting the American people as well.
It’s rare that you hear a hardball question being thrown at any of them by their fellow Fox commentators. So their positions are not being fully challenged or vetted for the American people.
It also gives the three an unfair advantage leading to the Republican presidential primary process with Fox’s conservative following. Because they are on so often, Republicans who get their daily digest of news from Fox aren’t hearing with as great frequency the opinions of others who are contemplating running for the nomination.
If and when any or all of them eventually announce, it’s likely this will all even out. They’ll be free from their Fox contracts and on the campaign trail. CNN and MSNBC will have access.
But, until then, CNN’s King is right. He and his network suffer from “the Fox problem.” An accurate quote that is sure to be bringing smiles today to the faces of the Fox News Channel executive team.
Talk to Gary Baumgarten weekdays at 5 PM New York time on News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network.

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