Sam Donaldson: Fox's Ed Henry 'One of the Best' on the White House Beat

December 6th, 2012 1:29 PM

In an AP profile of Fox News White House reporter Ed Henry, longtime ABC News vet Sam Donaldson said he considers Henry "one of the best" on the beat now. "It's not that they are all afraid and cringe, because they don't," Donaldson said. "But it's so much tougher to do it in every way."

As a young reporter, Henry said, he looked up to Donaldson, best known for shouting questions at Ronald Reagan. "Now if you shout a question at Obama, you're somehow seen as a bad guy," Henry said. "I think some people have been cowed." AP’s David Bauder also turned to former CNN bigwig Frank Sesno, who naturally is still pretending Fox News is an opinion channel, unlike the Piers and Soledad Network:

For a reporter like Henry, Fox "frames the work, you can't escape that," said Frank Sesno, a former CNN Washington bureau chief and professor at George Washington University. The setting adds another layer of scrutiny. "It's very difficult when you work for an organization where the opinion page is on the front page," said Sesno, who hired Henry as a paid fellow at George Washington last year.

Bauder also discussed how Fox is more aggressive seeking answers on the Benghazi killings than the others, and Henry suggested some Fox opinionators were overdoing it:

Benghazi has proven an interesting case study. Henry rejects the notion that he works off Fox marching orders in discussing the issue, but said, "I wouldn't lie to you. I see that we're covering Benghazi a lot, and I think that should be something that we're asking about."

He said other news outlets have under-covered the story, since four Americans were killed and there's still some mystery about what the administration knew and when they knew about the attack.

"We've had the proper emphasis," he said. "But I would not be so deluded to say that some of our shows, some of our commentators, have covered it more than it needed to be covered."

Start the parlor game. Who precisely is Henry slamming in this quote? Or is he just trying to ingratiate himself with the establishment-media reporter? Bauder noted Henry has drawn snippy answers from Obama on two different networks:

Henry has had two tense moments with Obama at news conferences. At one, Henry asked Obama why it had taken the president several days to express anger about bonuses given to AIG insurance executives. Obama responded that "it took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak."

When Henry asked Obama to respond to a Romney comment that "if you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president," Obama said that, "I didn't know you were the spokesman for Mitt Romney."

The first incident happened while Henry worked at CNN, the second when he was at Fox.

Bauder felt the second question was a simple request for comment, while the first one was "more objectionable: it infers that Obama has been slow to move on an issue."