One of the defense mechanisms used by the Fox News Channel against accusations that it slants the news has been the sterling reputation of Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.
The nighttime shows are opinion, the news is straight news, "fair and balanced," the network's defenders say, citing Wallace and anchor Shepard Smith as examples of their "fair" approach to news.
With the filing of a lawsuit against Secretary of State Robin Carnahan's campaign this week, Fox N ews Channel has dragged Wallace down to the level of its nighttime hosts, primarily Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck.
The lawsuit was filed after the Carnahan campaign used a snippet of Wallace, who has a reputation as a tough interviewer, grilling Carnahan's opponent, Seventh District Congressman Roy Blunt, over the accusation that he slipped wording into the 2002 Homeland Security Act that would benefit the tobacco industry...and his girlfriend (now wife) Phillip Morris lobbyist Abigail Perlman.
The placement of the Fox footage in the Carnahan ad appears to be fair use under U. S. copyright laws, but the network- and Wallace- filed suit against the Carnahan campaign.
Consider this passage from the lawsuit:
The Carnahan Ad has been disseminated on television and was also available for anyone in the world to view on the Defendant’s website, robincarhahan.com, where the misappropriated Graphics – including a copy of the Fox News logo – were prominently displayed as the focal point of the website’s home page. Immediately to the right of the link to the Carnahan Ad, visitors were asked to “DONATE TODAY” to Defendant. At the bottom of the page featuring the link to the Carnahan Ad, visitors were further propositioned to “BUYThe idea that Wallace and Fox were used as shills to sell Carnahan bumper stickers and t-shirts is ridiculous. The advertisement, plain and simple, is designed to boost her Senate campaign and provide information about her opponent. While the lawsuit describes the ad as a "smear," that would indicate that Fox and Chris Wallace participated in this smear since there is no indication anywhere in the petition that Wallace's words were twisted to boost the Carnahan campaign.
NOW” bumper stickers and t-shirts from the “TEAM ROBIN STORE” available online. In so doing, Defendant used the FNS Interview and Wallace’s likeness and persona with the intent to acquire commercial gain.
The best Fox can do is note that Blunt's response was not included in the advertisement. And Fox could have straightened out that situation simply by replaying the interview, or posting it online, neither of which has taken place at this juncture.
If there is something in Blunt's response that would clear up this alleged misuse of Wallace's words, then why hasn't Roy Blunt himself posted the response. Let's face it. Wallace asked the right question and almost any answer Blunt gave would do nothing to change the situation, which I spelled out in my post, "The Seduction of Roy Blunt."
Some people say Chris Wallace damaged his journalistic reputation when he moved to Fox News Channel. I have never believed that and took his question to Roy Blunt as evidence that he was not going to serve up soft pitches to politicians who were more in line with the sentiments expressed by FNC's nighttime hosts.
The use of Wallace's name as a plaintiff in this lawsuit would seem to indicate otherwise
In the first pages of the lawsuit, Lathrop & Gage attorney Bernie Rhodes, representing Fox and Wallace, gives a brief recap of Wallace's career:
Wallace is well known for his coverage of political news, including regional and national elections. He has reported live from major election events, including Election Night, the presidential debates, the Democratic and Republican conventions, the New Hampshire Primary, and the Iowa Caucuses. Before joining FNC, Wallace served as a senior correspondent for ABC’s “Primetime Thursday” and as a substitute host for “Nightline.” He has also worked for NBC News, where he served as the chief White House correspondent and anchored “Meet the Press” and the Sunday edition of “NBC Nightly News.” Wallace has won every major broadcast news award for his reporting, including three Emmy Awards, the Dupont-Columbia Silver Bato and the Peabody Award.From Peabodys and Emmys to just another Fox News shill- how far has Chris Wallace fallen?