Fox News Miscues: Rupert Murdoch And Rick Santorum Send Mixed Messages

The campaign trail is fraught with hazards. Sometimes you’re moving so fast you miss important turns and signals. That must be the explanation for the disconnect that just occurred between Rick Santorum and the News Corp CEO, Rupert Murdoch.

Murdoch recently joined Twitter (Interestingly, just a few days after his pal and business partner Saudi Prince Alwaleed invested $300 million dollars). Among his first few tweets are two that reference Rick Santorum approvingly:

January 1: Good to see santorum surging in Iowa. Regardless of policies, all debates showed principles, consistency and humility like no other.

January 2: Can’t resist this tweet, but all Iowans think about Rick Santorum. Only candidate with genuine big vision for country.

That was nice of him. I wonder how he’ll feel after he hears what Santorum said about his Fox News Channel:

“The media has just completely tried to shape this race. And not just the liberal media. It’s even Fox News. You know, Bill O’Reilly has refused to put me on his program. As far as he was concerned I wasn’t a worthy enough candidate to earn a spot to sit across from him and be on his program. Here you have folks supposedly in the conservative media who are saying, “You know, we’re gonna choose who are gonna win.” And then complain that the mainstream media does the same thing.”

Santorum is raising the curtain on Fox’s carefully maintained deceit that they are a fair and balanced news enterprise. He acknowledges that Fox is “the conservative media” from whom he expects special treatment distinct from the other so-called liberal press. I can’t believe that Murdoch will like that. I suspect O’Reilly won’t particularly like this either. Santorum paints O’Reilly as part of a biased cabal with an agenda to harm those he views as outside the approved cast of characters.

But, for once, Santorum has said something that is undeniably true. Fox News wants to pick the electoral winner. They wanted to in 2008 as well, but that didn’t work out too well for them. They will certainly try again this year with a relentlessly negative assault on President Obama. But they may have to work a little harder at getting their stories straight.

Something Santorum neglected to mention about the conservative media that he says is trying to shape the race, is that Fox News has had him on 54 times since June. That’s about twice as many bookings as Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. For the record, the most frequent guest was Herman Cain, with 73 appearances. Talk about a wasted investment.