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Politically outfoxed by need

Democrats and Fox News Make Friends


Published: May 2, 2008

Standing in front of a television camera last week, the chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign, Terry McAuliffe, uttered four words that the Fox News Channel would not soon forget.

Fox News

Fox News  

“Fair and balanced Fox!,” he exclaimed, noting that the network was the first to project Mrs. Clinton’s Pennsylvania primary win.

Fox executives could not have asked for a more rousing endorsement. The next day it showed up in promotions.

All of a sudden, the once-frosty relationship between Fox News and the Democratic candidates seems to have grown warmer. Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama, who steadfastly refused to attend Fox-sponsored debates last year, are now giving plenty of interviews as they court Fox’s viewers, who are largely white, conservative and undecided.

“It’s probably true that we appeal to white working-class voters,” said Brit Hume, the network’s Washington managing editor and the host of “Special Report.” “The candidates are going where the voters are.”

Conversely, Fox seems to have softened its stance toward the Democrats, mindful of the intense viewer interest in the prolonged primary season. Although Fox News remains firmly in first place among news channels, CNN has crept up in the ratings on primary nights. So Fox wants to appeal to people who might otherwise flip the channel in search of more time with the Democrats.

In short, Fox News and the Democrats abruptly find each other useful.

“I think the candidates are starting to realize that they need to reach the people who we reach already,” said Marty Ryan, the network’s executive producer for political programming.  Link to full New York Times article>>>


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