That was fast. Hours after Ed Henry announced his move from CNN to Fox News as chief White House correspondent, the liberal media watchdog Media Matters has begun painting him as a right-wing nut job. The treatment is par for the course in the world of partisan watchdog groups (we'd expect the same from its conservative archival Newsbusters if a CNN anchor moved to MSNBC). But the group's rushed denunciation of Henry is a little silly considering the group's only other articles about Henry this year credit the then-CNN correspondent for debunking Republican Darell Issa's "false claim" that the stimulus "didn't create any jobs" and criticizing President Obama's critics for spreading a "myth" about the president's India trip costing $200 million. So what's the best dirt Media Matters could dig up on Henry?
Henry was one of the attendees at a much-criticized beach party held by the White House for members of the press. He defended himself against criticisms of a conflict of interest, saying his critics didn't have a sense of humor.
Now, it's fair to criticize a member of the press for being overly-cozy with the administration for attending vice president Biden's beach party. But, if Biden is a Democrat, wouldn't that suggest an undue bias with the left? Never mind because there's more:
In 2005, Henry described a Democratic proposal for withdrawal from Iraq as what "some have referred to" as "the cut-and-run provision," a phrase that echoed a Republican talking point about the conflict.
Yawn. Reporting on others' use of a particular phrase is not the equivalent of an endorsement. Next:
Henry falsely claimed in 2006 that Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) had received campaign contributions from convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his wife.
OK, he did make a mistake here. The above claim was false because Dorgan didn't receive the money directly from Abramoff, Dorgan received money from Abramoff's partners. At the time Henry said:
Finally, I mentioned some Democrats -- Byron Dorgan, Democrat from North Dakota. He's also had to give back a lot of money he received from Abramoff and Abramoff's wife. That's been embarrassing for Democrats for two reasons. No. 1, Dorgan was one of the people investigating Abramoff on the Hill.
But secondly, Democrats are trying to say, in these midterm elections coming up, that there's a culture of Republican corruption, culture of corruption and cronyism. If Democrats get drawn into this, Wolf, it's going to be hard to make that charge. Wolf.
Still, the contributions Dorgan did receive from Abramoff's partners were unsettling enough for him to publicly give the money back in 2005. We're sure it's not Henry's proudest moment on television but it's far from indicating any kind of deep-seated bias. As Politico's Ken Vogel tweets, "not much there."
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