James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal was a little mystified on Thursday by a Politico op-ed headlined “Fox News Eats Its Own” by Bill Scher of the leftist think tank Campaign for America’s Future:
The Republican National Committee triumphantly seized control of the debates last year, saying it would not allow a repeat of 2012, when “the liberal media interrogated our candidates on issues that were often not a priority to most Americans. . . . We need more conservatives . . . in the moderator’s chair.”
But what was a play to keep their candidates safe inside a conservative cocoon now looks like a trap. The first Republican presidential debate will air on Fox News and will be moderated by Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace—who happen to be the same three anchors that have provoked three Republican candidates into embarrassing gaffes this month. Turns out Fox News’ anchors can make Republican candidates look just as bad as MSNBC’s.
Scher was citing tough interviews of Jeb Bush (by Megyn Kelly), of Scott Walker (by Bret Baier), and Marco Rubio (by Chris Wallace). On Rubio, he proclaimed: “If Wallace were not working for Rupert Murdoch, the loaded questions, opinionated assertions and repeated interruptions would earn Wallace a lifetime membership in the Liberal Media Elite Club.”
Taranto concluded: “It’s an odd occasion for schadenfreude. As we are far from the first to point out, Scher is gleeful that Fox—routinely derided by liberals as a right-wing propaganda outfit—is committing journalism. Even more telling: What does this say about liberal expectations of how the liberal media deal with liberal candidates?”