Can't Tell If That's The Fairness I'm Smelling, Or The Balance

***UPDATED, 3/1/11 2:33pm EST*** (see bottom of post)

For the second time in a week, Media Matters for America has caught FAUX ‘News’ blatantly interviewing a Wisconsin GOP operative posing as a “concerned parent,” without ever identifying the person’s partisan ties (video at link):

This morning, Fox & Friends hosted an “upset Wisconsin parent” to discuss her objection to Wisconsin public schools’ teaching of labor union history. Left unsaid during the segment: The parent, Amber Hahn, is also a local GOP official.

FAUX’s defenders (and doubtless the anchors themselves) will rush to huffily shield the network behind the fig leaf that these people they just happened to interview are, in fact, “concerned parents.” I hope I don’t need to point out why that’s not the issue here – and why the fact that FAUX has interviewed TWO partisan Republican operatives masquerading as nothing more than “concerned parents” is news instead of merely a random data point. But just in case any Michelle Malkin fans find their way here and are scratching their heads and wondering what the big deal is, I’ll lay it out briefly.

It isn’t that these two people, one a local GOP party official (Hahn) and the other a failed GOP Senate candidate (Westlake), aren’t “concerned parents.” I’m sure they are. But, while being a parent gives such people a definite stake in matters which affect the welfare and future of their children, it doesn’t particularly make them unique. Most people who are parents are “concerned.” Furthermore, the obvious point to make – and the lead-pipe-cinch that exposes FAUX’s bias – is that these people are not just “concerned parents.” If Hahn and Westlake were merely “concerned parents,” their thoughts on the Wisconsin union standoff with Governor Walker would be of significant news value (which, of course, is why FAUX interviewed them in the first place). But they aren’t. They’re more than that. They’re also long-time partisan operatives, both of them.

In such a situation as the obviously partisan one unfolding in Wisconsin right now over the right of public unions to collectively bargain, it’s glaringly obvious that a person – parent or not – who was also a partisan operative or candidate might reasonably be expected to have his or her partisan leanings be influencing – if not the primary driver of – their feelings on the subject of an issue this partisan. That’s why it’s ridiculous for FAUX to seek out people like Hahn and Westlake specifically – for it cannot be a mere coincidence that FAUX randomly found two separate “concerned parents” who both just happened to be former GOP party officials or candidates – and why it’s deceptive and obviously evidence of an agenda on FAUX’s behalf to present such people as interview subjects without disclosing their partisan ties.

Believe it or not, I’m actually a bit surprised by FAUX’s laziness on this issue: I feel certain that, had FAUX’s team been willing to do a little digging on the ground in Madison, they could have come up with several genuine, non-GOP-affiliated examples of “concerned parents” who would have been willing to spout off similar if not identical talking points. There can’t be ZERO parents in greater Madison who share FAUX’s preferred Walker-supporting, anti-union stance who aren’t also GOP operatives…can there?

You know, now that I think about it, maybe that’s why FAUX was reduced to trying to pass off partisan plants as simply “concerned parents”: because they just couldn’t find any real residents of Madison who support Walker anymore.

UPDATE: Apparently, it’s not just putting GOP operatives on air as “concerned parents,” FAUX has also been blasting that one of their reporters was “punched” by a Wisconsin union protester. Raw Story breaks down the inconvenient fact that that appears to not have actually happened either. FAUX ‘News’, ladies and gentlemen: unfair and imbalanced.