Powers Project Report

So yesterday I said I’d watch Kirsten Powers on Fox News when I could and judge from experience myself whether she seems to be the faux Democrat indicated in some of her written columns. I may have missed a Powers appearance (having Fox News on in the background can eventually produce an indistinguishable buzz the mind blocks out), but the two brief segments I saw were a mixed bag.

During a lunch-time segment, Powers was asked about the Democratic reaction to the 4th quarter GDP drop announced yesterday, and was shown a video of Sen. Mary Landrieu denouncing the idea of nondefense discretionary spending being “out of control” as a talking point invented by Fox News. Powers rebuked Landrieu for her shot at Fox; twice expressed her personal opinion that “of course” spending is “out of control;” and then answered the original question (accurately) by reporting that Democrats generally think spending cuts are contributing to the economic slowdown.

Last night Powers was briefly a guest on Bill O’Reilly’s show during a discussion of handgun regulation by cities, and got into an argument with the host based on his weird insistence that there’s no difference between the newsgathering and editorial functions of the New York Times, before eventually breaking through his bluster to make the point that people in cities with handgun restrictions can buy guns easily in nearby jurisdictions.

In these extremely limited samples, Powers does not seem to be playing aggrieved-Democrat-who-always-happens-to-agree-with-Republicans, but is instead (partly as a reflection of the strange Fox format where it’s not always clear whether “guests” are reporting or editorializing) reporting what Democrats are saying or doing with occasional interjections of her own somewhat unpredictable (other than her white-hot hostility to anyone who criticizes Fox!) opinions. It’s a weird role she is playing in the generally weird (to me, anyway) Fox context, but I can’t say she’s feeding a right-wing propaganda line in any consistent way.

I’ll probably have another report tomorrow.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.