The New York Times‘ Jim Rutenberg went behind the scenes at Fox News Channel Saturday night as six GOP candidates took part in a presidential forum — much to the chagrin of some of the candidates.
Backstage can be something of an inner sanctum at a presidential debate: even though they are appearing on live television before millions of Americans, the candidates are used to having their clubhouse hermetically sealed from the public before and after they take the stage. That was not the case for the six major Republican candidates who participated in a Fox News Channel forum on Saturday night, when the network invited this reporter to roam behind the scenes…
Rutenberg writes, “Mitt Romney’s campaign stood out by going into defensive mode immediately.”
This chaotic and raucous primary season is demonstrating that Roger Ailes will put the interests of his network ahead of all else. If 2010 was the year that Fox fueled the Tea Party — culminating in record ratings and the Republican sweep of the House midterms — 2012 is shaping up to be the year that Ailes decided Fox will benefit if the political world recognizes that his network is willing to make GOP candidates sweat in front of their base. Like any good candidate, the network plans to tack toward the center for the general election.