Monday, November 26, 2007

Thompson hounds the Fox

Fred Thompson got all up in Fox News Channel’s business on Sunday. On “Fox News Sunday,” Host Chris Wallace got a taste of what happens when you face down the man who played the DA on “Law & Order.”

Wallace was engaging Thompson on his dismal showing in the latest polls, and Wallace used commentary by conservative columnist (and Fox News check-casher) Charles Krauthammer and Weekly Standard executive editor (and Fox News check-casher) Fred Barnes to make the point that Thompson’s campaign seemed to be adrift, losing steam – and Republican support — at the worst possible time.

References were also made to a CNN/WMUR poll that showed Thompson’s support in New Hampshire had collapsed to 4 percent, putting him in sixth place among the Republican presidential hopefuls.

Reacting to what was clearly an attempt to blindside the candidate with a blizzard of negatives from his own party, Thompson objected to Wallace’s use of the two previously mentioned Fox News shills to make the point of Thompson’s having a lackluster campaign. Objected loudly, in language that deserves to be read verbatim:

THOMPSON: “...for you to highlight nothing but the negatives in terms of the polls and then put on your own guys who have been predicting for four months, really, that I couldn't do it, kind of skews things a little bit. There's a lot of other opinion out there."

WALLACE: Do you know anybody who thinks you've run a great campaign, sir?

THOMPSON: It's not for me to come here and try to convince you that somebody else thinks that I've run a great campaign.

WALLACE: Well, but that's why I —

THOMPSON: I'm talking about — no, let me ask you —

WALLACE: — I'm just asking you the question.

THOMPSON: When you get past New Hampshire and look at some of these other states — states that I'm leading in in the South, for example — and straw polls that I've won, endorsements that I've got — I've got more endorsements in the state of Georgia than all the other candidates put together. So I understand the game of buildup and I understand the game of takedown. And we all go through it. And I'm perfectly willing for you to do that with regard to me as you do the other candidates.

WALLACE: I was going to say, senator —

THOMPSON: But you have the right to put in your one side, and put in the Fox side, and I have the right to respond to it. And thankfully, you've given me that opportunity.

WALLACE: I was going to say, senator, I'm glad I asked the question, because I got a heck of an answer.

Wallace did indeed. Thompson's was the kind of combative reply you’d expect from a Democrat going up against Fox’s right-wing ideologues, an answer that laid bare Fox News’ penchant for attack-dog inquiry.

Thompson may not win the nomination, but his appearance Sunday makes it clear he’s not going gentle into this good night. He’s strong enough to stand up on his own hind legs and cry “foul!” when he thinks the media isn’t playing fair -- even the media that's historically on his side. Game, set and match to the former senator from Tennessee.

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