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Giuliani's FOX News Attacks Huckabee

So there is a "possible link between the Giuliani campaign and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes." If Hillary were a Republican, FOX would be pushing her on the "pro-life" Hannity show.


"In the fall, a story broke regarding a possible link between the Giuliani campaign and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes which was meant to bolster the former New York Mayor's popularity." Commentary

Daniel T. Zanoza, National Director

December 16, 2007

As Huckabee Soars, Attacks Soar, Too: Especially From FOX News?
by Daniel T. Zanoza

I haven't decided who I will support among the gaggle of Republicans seeking their party's presidential nomination. Well, there's one candidate who I will never support and that's former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

However, like many, I have been astounded by the meteoric rise in the polls of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Recent polling indicates Huckabee has a double-digit lead in Iowa and he is also the front runner in Florida.

Huckabee's charge to the front of the GOP pack has brought with it blistering criticism. But for the first time in over 30 years of watching politics, the liberal mainstream media is being more fair to a conservative than some right wing media pundits, including those who toil for the Fox News Network.

Earlier this year, I wrote a column pointing out the favoritism shown towards Rudy Giuliani by the mainstream press and, surprisingly, Sean Hannity (Hannity + Colmes of Fox News). ["Giuliani candidacy should be unacceptable to pro-life Republicans"] In the fall, a story broke regarding a possible link between the Giuliani campaign and Fox News CEO Roger Ailes which was meant to bolster the former New York Mayor's popularity.

Like many, at the time, I dismissed some of these allegations, but I now have to admit, it appears Hannity was trying to push Giuliani down the throat of his mostly conservative viewers. Unfortunately for those who seek objectivity in their news coverage, since Mike Huckabee seems to be leaving Giuliani in his dust, the attacks against Huckabee have become even more hot and heavy. Fox News, the network whose slogan is "fair and balanced," is leading the pack.


One of the favorite tactics being advanced to diminish Huckabee's recent surge in Iowa involves the make-up of that state's electorate. Supposedly, the only reason Huckabee now leads Mitt Romney, John McCain, Fred Thompson and Giuliani is because Evangelical Christians, people of strong faith and social conservatives dominate that state's electorate. Therefore, even though Romney, Thompson and Giuliani have spent literally millions of dollars in Iowa, we are being asked to believe Huckabee's popularity is essentially a political anomaly which will have no bearing on the Republican presidential nomination process. Even popular Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly (The O'Reilly Factor) has helped to advance this theory.

The problem with those who use this rationale for Huckabee's political successes is the fact he now leads in Florida. This state was supposed to be a breakwater for the Rudy Giuliani campaign to stop the momentum of any of his more conservative challengers who may have won in earlier primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Therefore, it can be assumed Huckabee's support is real and resonating with the Republican base. This is a fact that has shocked some fiscal conservatives and the country club set within the GOP who look upon government and politicians strictly to help them accumulate wealth. This group minimizes the relevance of issues such as abortion, same-sex "marriage" and the attacks on religious freedom in the public square.


Some of the greatest criticism against Huckabee has come from a group called the Club for Growth. The Club for Growth (CFG), which is a 501(c)(4), endorses Republican candidates who support limited government and lower taxes. CFG pools member's contributions to help selected Republican candidates. But some have been critical of the CFG itself for its single-minded Libertarian approach to politics and the group has also been linked with the Clinton machine in Arkansas and the fearsome political war it waged on Huckabee while he was that state's governor. The facts are Huckabee balanced the budget in Arkansas and he has also pledged not to raise taxes if he were elected President of the United States.

In Illinois, the state where I live, Huckabee's campaign manager is the former Executive Director of the Family Taxpayers Network, an anti-tax organization. Though I do not propose to be an expert on taxes, as in all things, the truth about Huckabee's record on taxes probably falls somewhere in the middle. Huckabee does support the Fair Tax initiative which many believe would be a much more equitable system of taxation compared to our current system. The Fair Tax initiative would eliminate the IRS and some economic experts contend the plan would eliminate many of the abuses which permeate America's present form of taxation.


Huckabee was recently endorsed by Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist. Although I disagree with some of Huckabee's past positions in Arkansas, here are the facts on this issue. Huckabee wanted to provide assistance to the children of illegal immigrants who wanted to attend that state's colleges. The assistance would equal grants given to in-state legal residents. However, if you were an American who lived outside the state of Arkansas, a student would not be eligible for the tuition breaks and this is the reason Huckabee's program was widely criticized--and rightfully so.

Since he decided to run for the Republican Party's presidential nomination, Huckabee has stuck to his guns concerning the matter, saying it was not the decision of the children to enter the U.S. illegally. There also exists the fact some of these children were born in the U.S., which makes them American citizens, regardless of their parent's illegal status.

Huckabee has since pledged to seal the border with Mexico. According to polling on this issue, by a wide margin the security of our border with Mexico is the major concern of the American people. Americans do not want amnesty, but they would favor an expanded guest worker program. In my opinion, some have used Huckabee's former policies as Governor of Arkansas to unfairly criticism him.

The illegal immigration issue is certainly a complicated one. I believe sealing the border must be America's top priority. Also, heavy sanctions should be levied against sanctuary cities, including San Francisco and New York which protect illegal immigrants from adhering to our nation's laws. After these safeguards are put into place, we can then decide what to do about the 12 million or more illegal immigrants who are already here. Demagoguery over the issue serves no one and does not add one iota to a reasonable political discussion of the debate over illegal immigration.


In an interview conducted by Sean Hannity, the host levied a withering attack of Huckabee concerning some pardons he issued as Governor. One such pardon resulted in the tragic murder committed by an individual who obviously should have served his full sentence as handed down by a judge, after a jury found him guilty. Huckabee has admitted he made a mistake in the case. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has been one of Huckabee's harshest critics over the issue of pardons.

Here again, the facts regarding Huckabee's tenure as Arkansas governor regarding crime and punishment paints a very different picture. No matter where one stands on the issue of capital punishment, the fact is 19 people were put to death in Arkansas while Huckabee was governor. No murderer was put to death in Massachusetts during Romney's term as that state's chief executive. Again, Huckabee's record has been, in many cases, taken out of context with his entire approach to criminal justice in his state.


Conventional wisdom states the front runner in any campaign will be the target of those pursuing him or her. I believe this is a fair game approach related to the candidates who are trailing. However, when the media advances an obvious agenda, meant to degrade a candidate, this crosses the line of journalistic fairness and objectivity. On Hannity + Colmes, the issue of Mike Huckabee's recent explosion of popularity was presented to longtime Republican operative Mary Matalin.

Matalin launched into a tirade of criticism targeting Huckabee. What Matalin and Sean Hannity did not divulge on air is the fact Matalin is connected with the campaign of one of Huckabee's opponents, Fred Thompson. NOTE: Within the Fox News website transcript of the interview, the fact Matalin was a supporter of Thompson is revealed.

I never thought I'd see the day when a social conservative was treated more fairly by the liberal dominant media than by a network which professes to be "fair and balanced" like Fox. During an interview with George Stephanopoulos ("This Week with George Stephanopoulos" -- ABC News) the former Clinton operative conducted a fair and concise interview with Huckabee in which Stephanopoulos praised Huckabee's political achievements. Of course, Stephanopoulos dealt with some of the charges being levied against Huckabee, but I felt overall it was a balanced interview.

The same can be said when Huckabee appeared on "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer (CBS News). Again, the questioning of Sen. John McCain, which directly followed the Huckabee interview, was less caustic in nature. But with being the leader in the polls will come more scrutiny and that can be expected.


Another area where Huckabee has come under fire concerns his lack of money and organization. Personally I can agree with this criticism. Recently, I spoke with Huckabee's midwest coordinator, Shane Henry, and I was promised an interview. This occurred nearly three weeks ago and I still am waiting for a response from the Huckabee campaign--besides a note stating they would get back to me. I feel this is a legitimate criticism of Huckabee's effort and only time will tell if the public groundswell will lead to a greater fund-raising capability on Huckabee's part and along with that would come superior organization.


As with any candidate, I do not agree with all of Mike Huckabee's past decisions and plans for America if he were elected. I would just as easily vote for Fred Thompson and, to a lessor degree, John McCain. Since 36% of Republicans polled say they would not vote for a Mormon, Mitt Romney's electability may truly be questioned. I cannot vote for Rudy Giuliani because of his support for abortion, same-sex "marriage" and his past position on illegal immigration as New York's Mayor. There is something the dominant media and some conservative pundits must know. Unfair criticism of any candidate will only stiffen the resolve of that individual's supporters. Such is the case with Mike Huckabee. Obviously, there are some elitist Republicans who believe Huckabee should not be entitled to the Republican presidential nomination. That decision should be left up to the American people.

Caption for Photo: Mike Huckabee


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