No sooner did Republican Charlie Crist decide to run for the U.S. Senate as an independent, rather than a Republican, than Fox News was ready to attack him. As far as I know, nobody has called Crist a radical socialist… yet. Nor, to my knowledge, has Crist shown up on Glenn Beck’s blackboard next to Chairman Mao. But the anti-Crist bias was as bright as Florida sunshine in Sean Hannity’s “report” on Crist’s decision and Chris Wallace’s “fair and balanced” first question to remaining Republican candidate Marco Rubio that just happened to give him an opening to go to town bashing Crist. With video.
Sean Hannity prefaced an interview with Rubio Thursday night (4/29/10) with some anti-Crist video disguised as a news report. Hannity correctly noted that Crist’s decision to run as an independent was made while he trailed Rubio by a wide margin. Hannity then announced, “We went back into our library here at Fox and uncovered some video that may be unsettling to Florida voters.” The video showed Crist telling Fox News Sunday’s Wallace that he plans to run as a Republican in the Florida Senate race, not as an independent.
With the same bullyboy scorn usually reserved for Democrats, Hannity sneered, “That is not the only promise that Governor Crist is now ready to break.” Then Hannity played a video of Crist saying that he would “of course” support the winner of the Republican primary.
Rubio refrained from attacking Crist. But Hannity kept trying to push him into doing it anyway. Hannity asked, “Has character now emerged as an issue?” and “What did you make of the Weekly Standard report that came out today that, apparently, Governor Crist… reached out to Rahm Emanuel at the White House… Do you make anything of that?” and “Is this a situation where (Crist) lost… and he’s taking his toys and he’s going home?”
Tellingly, Hannity asked, “Do you have any fear that he could serve as a spoiler?” Obviously, Hannity is worried that Crist will be a spoiler and is taking steps to pre-empt that from happening.
Chris Wallace may be worried about the same thing. He also prefaced his interview with Rubio today with clips showing Crist’s flip flop. “Well, what a difference a month makes,” Wallace mocked. “Florida Governor Charlie Crist… on this program in late March declared five times (he held up his hand, splaying his five fingers for emphasis) he would run for the Senate as a Republican and not as an Independent, a commitment he took back this week.”
Then, after introducing Rubio, Wallace’s first question was a blatant attempt to prod Rubio to go on the attack against Crist. “First of all, what does Charlie Crist’s change tell you about him as a person and a politician?” Wallace disingenuously “asked.”
To his credit, Rubio refused to make any personal attacks, saying, “This is really not about personalities or anything of that nature.” Wallace did ask a few tough questions of Rubio – much later in the interview.