Former Democratic congressman and two-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has made an interesting new job decision: getting screamed at all day on Fox News.
Kucinich signed a multi-year contract to appear as a contributor on Fox News, where he will appear on a variety of programs beginning with a Thursday appearance on The O’Reilly Factor. That show is scheduled to have segments on whether gun control violates the Constitution, as well as on teen sexting. I wonder what position Kucinich will take on sexting!
“Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to a continuation of our relationship, this time as a Fox News contributor.”
“I've always been impressed with Rep. Kucinich's fearlessness and thoughtfulness about important issues,” Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, claimed. “His willingness to take a stand from his point of view makes him a valuable voice in our country’s debate.”
As New York magazine points out, Kucinich may have been slyly planning on this for years. Back during his attention-starved 2008 presidential campaign, he made regular (and somewhat confusing, given Fox’s conservative viewership) appearances on the network. “I know some people object to Fox News, and they take issue with Fox coverage, and the way Fox covers the news. I've taken issue with Fox on many occasions, but I don't hesitate to be questioned by Fox or any of its affiliates,” he said then.
There are other ways Kucinich seems like a beautiful fit for the network. He’s short and elf-like, adding to his newfound career as a punching bag. As one of the most liberal members of Congress, Fox News will be able to paint his views as ludicrous with relative ease.
Need evidence? In 2006, O’Reilly himself mocked one of Kucinich’s proposals — to increase emergency funding for first responders. In 2007, Fox contributors called his wife a “New Age, tongue-pierced Brit,” a “hippie chick,” and scorned their 31-year age difference. While some of their rhetoric against Kucinich will probably be toned down, it’s pretty clear that Fox likely sees the congressman’s addition as entertainment rather than substance.
But Fox was the only network to give serious airtime to Kucinich, especially after NBC viciously fought to exclude him from the 2008 presidential debates, a matter that resulted in Kucinich suing the network. Love it or leave it, Kucinich might have nowhere else to go on the national stage.
Kucinich is a great guy. He’s likeable, charismatic, and unlike most of Congress votes consistently with his principles. Conservatives, unsurprisingly, do not like him very much, giving especially raucous attention to his more questionable quirks, such as his younger wife, and lawsuit against a congressional cafeteria for leaving an olive pit in his sandwich.
So, absolutely no envy here on the task approaching him. Fox News has a well-deserved reputation for reducing previous liberal commentators to widespread mockery and derision, and one can only speculate whether the channel hired him to act as a foil for far-right talking points on, well, everything. Fox has all the tact of a screaming contest, so it seems like this is more an issue of how Kucinich gets his next paycheck rather than airing views.
Maybe I’m wrong, though. Maybe Kucinich will get fired up on air — instead of an Alan Colmes, maybe he can be a real liberal voice on Fox.
I doubt it.