In a bit of creative synergy, Fox News has figured out a way to give Republican candidates a platform without appearing overtly political. This tactic permits the candidate to get national media exposure without having to spend any money or to engage in any kind of informative debate that impacts their campaign.
Here’s how it works: This morning Megyn Kelly aired a segment on a parent who was arrested after he blew a verbal gasket on a school bus. He was upset because his daughter was being bullied by other students and the school allegedly failed to do anything about it.
That’s an issue that tugs at the heart but really has little significance to anyone but the people involved and the tabloid set who watch Fox News for gossip and melodrama. What makes this segment unique is that Kelly brought in two lawyers to debate the matter. One of the lawyers just happened to be Pam Biondi, the Republican candidate for Attorney General in Florida. While Kelly did mention that Biondi is a candidate in her introduction, throughout the segment the on-screen graphic identified her only as a “former Florida prosecutor.”
There is no good reason for Biondi to make an appearance like this on national TV to discuss a situation that has nothing to do with her campaign. What’s more, there is no good reason for Kelly to select Biondi for this debate. Well, except for the fact that Biondi is the GOP candidate for Attorney General. She is a far-right ideologue who wants to repeal the health care bill, opposes gay adoption, and supports Arizona’s immigration law. And in a touching aside, she was sued by a New Orleans family when she refused to return their dog who was lost during Hurricane Katrina (the family did get their dog back, eventually).
Oh yeah…Biondi also has the endorsement of Fox News contributor Sarah Palin, which I guess makes her a mama grizzly.
To put this in perspective, try to imagine Fox News inviting Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for Attorney General in California, into the studio for six minutes of expensive airtime to discuss a local school matter. At the very least Kelly could give equal time to Dan Gelber, Biondi’s Democratic opponent. She could have him on to weigh in on the school’s cafeteria menu.
This sort of booking policy is a not-so-thinly disguised method of making an in-kind contribution to Republican office-seekers. Television is the most expensive form of political advertising, and having a network that doles out campaign welfare in the form of free airtime is a distinct advantage. Fox should have to report these bookings as campaign donations.