Staunchly conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) issued a surprising warning to a friendly town hall crowd this week: "Don’t catch yourself being biased by Fox News." Coburn urged the right-leaning audience to broaden their news diets and singled out Fox for offering misleading information on health care reform and demonizing certain politicians — notably, he emphasized that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is "a nice lady." Is Coburn right to caution conservatives about Fox? (Watch Keith Olbermann respond to Tom Coburn's comments)
Trashing Fox is good politics — even for right-wingers: Coburn is helping the country by taking on the "Fox-fueled notion that Americans are at war with each other," says Jed Lewison at the Daily Kos. But he's practicing "smart politics," too. As long as the GOP is "dominated by the invective and vitriol spewed forth by Glenn Beck and the Fox News Channel," Americans will "never, ever" return them to power.
"This town hall isn't making it onto Fox News"
Coburn's earned the right to be wrong: Don't get your hopes up, liberals, says Dan Riehl at Riehl World View. Actions speak louder than words, and conservatives are better off with a Coburn calling it however he sees it — and continuing to fight "the good fight for conservatism" — than with John McCain insincerely "breathing a lot of anti-Obama agenda fire" on Fox.
"Politics and emotion"
Is GOP Fox-bashing a trend? Coburn isn't the first Republican notable to join "the 'anti-Fox' fray," says Colby Hall at Mediaite. Just last week, David Frum said Fox News profits from "pushing the Republicans to the margins." But Fox can take it — when you're "the most powerful voice in new opinion media landscape," you can always out-yell your critics.
"Friendly fire: Does yet another GOP’er criticizing Fox News signal a trend?"
This raises interesting questions for Fox: The normal "Fox News playbook" calls for the "evisceration of its critics," says Michael Scherer in Time, so it will be interesting to see how Fox treats the "upstanding conservative poster-senator from Oklahoma." If we hear that Coburn's "been co-opted by the Socialists" or eaten "too much French food," we'll know that nothing's changed.
"Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn: Don't be 'biased by Fox News'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- What progressives fundamentally don't get about traditional Christians
Subscribe to the Week