For his sake, I hope Fox News anchor Dave Briggs still has a job in 2011.
The reason I'm not sure Briggs is long for the Fox News world is because during his report this weekend about the fate of the 9-11 first responders bill, which Republicans recently blocked in a naked bout of obstructionism, Briggs committed an unspeakable sin: He told the truth.
Specifically, Briggs actually pointed out that filibustering Republicans purposefully stood in the way of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, designed to aid and compensate first responders who have suffered from respiratory disease following their heroic efforts on the morning of the September 11. (The bill passed the House by more than 100 votes in September.)
Here was Briggs on Sunday morning, interviewing an actual first responder [emphasis added]:
How maddening has it been watching this -- watching the, in particular, the Senate Republicans recently holding up a vote that would give health coverage to thousands of your peers?
Paging Fox News' Bill Sammon: We have an internal messaging problem!
It's simply not acceptable for Fox News anchors or reporters to spell out in such clear detail the callous work of partisan Republicans in terms of denying 9-11 first responders access to the health care they desperately need. It's simply not acceptable during the Christmas season to report accurately that Republicans helped kill the bill. And good Lord, no! You're not supposed to lash out at them. (Perhaps Briggs' only saving grace was that his truth-telling comment aired at 6:45 a.m.)
See, Republican senators made a Faustian bargain when they signed a pledge in November vowing not to vote on any piece of legislation if it wasn't the one and only bill they wanted -- to extend tax cuts for the very wealthy. Republicans took an unprecedented obstructionist stand and were generally rewarded for it by the Beltway press corps. But Republicans also ran the risk of looking like heels for playing politics with 9-11 and denying benefits to the first responders who need them.
Coming to the GOP's aid, Fox News has fashioned together a way out of that bind by simply playing dumb, on an epic scale, and forgetting to tell viewers Republicans filibustered the Zadroga bill.
How exactly are Fox News staffers supposed to report on the bill, which may again be called up for a vote, if they're not supposed to mention that, you know, Republicans uniformly -- unanimously -- opposed it?
Answer: Very carefully. (Or, very deceitfully or disingenuously.)
Read the entire Media Matters column, here.