Monday, August 20, 2012

Fox Lets Rove Discuss Akin Rape Comments Without Disclosing His Conflict Of Interest

BEN DIMIERO/Media Matters for america

Fox News hosted Karl Rove this morning to discuss Rep. Todd Akin's (R-MO) comments that women have a biological mechanism to prevent them from getting pregnant if they are raped. Neither Rove nor Fox disclosed that Rove's political groups have invested more than $5 million in Akin's U.S. Senate race.*
Akin has come under fire for saying in an interview yesterday that it is "really rare" for women subjected to "legitimate rape" to become pregnant. In an appearance on America's Newsroom, Rove was asked by anchor Martha MacCallum about Akin's comments and a separate Politico story about GOP congressman Kevin Yoder skinny dipping in the Sea of Galilee. MacCallum -- who didn't play video of Akin's comments, instead choosing to vaguely describe them -- asked Rove whether the two scandals "deserve the attention they're getting."
Rove explained that "the Akin story will be important inside Missouri," but quickly pivoted to discussing the deficit and other economic issues. Rove's attempt to change the subject mirrors Akin's statement about the controversy last night, in which Akin, after claiming he "misspoke," attempted to refocus the story on "very important issues, starting with the economy."
Asked how badly Akin's comments will hurt him in his race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, Rove conceded that Akin has some "real explaining to do," then abruptly changed the subject to a story he said was "far more important," the Republican Party's fundraising advantage over the Democratic Party.
Between June and early August, Crossroads GPS, the 501(c)(4) offshoot to Rove's American Crossroads Super PAC, has spent more than $850,000 on the Missouri Senate race. According to The Washington Post, Crossroads GPS has spent more than $5.4 million dollars overall in Missouri.*
During the segment, Rove was identified as both a Fox News contributor and a former Bush adviser, but his connection to Crossroads was not disclosed. 
Fox News has previously promoted ads from Rove's political groups and hosted Rove to discuss races he is invested in without disclosing the conflict of interest.
According to Politico, Crossroads has pulled its ads from the Missouri Senate race following the controversy over Akin's comments:
The group had originally booked a new round of ads to start Wednesday but began canceling them earlier today. The decision comes in the wake of comments by Missouri Rep. and GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin questioning how often women can get pregnant from "legitimate rape."
Contacted about the decision to withdraw its resources from Missouri, Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson responded: "The act speaks for itself."
*This post originally understated the amount of money Crossroads had invested in the Missouri Senate race and has since been updated. 
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