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On Fox News, Election 2010 is cause for cheer

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Who else was cheerleading for the Republican victory last night? To find out, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank watched Fox News's coverage of the 2010 elections for 18 straight hours.

Yet even in cases where the figures didn't point in the Republicans' favor, Fox's far-flung correspondents found reason to celebrate. Trace Gallagher, reporting on the Senate race in California, said: "The numbers appear to favor the incumbent, Barbara Boxer, the three-term senator, but the mood here in California, John, really seems to be going toward Carly Fiorina's way.

Interviewing Nevada's Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle Monday night, Hannity had gushed: "I think there are a lot of conservatives like myself looking forward to an announcement tomorrow" that Angle had defeated Majority Leader Harry Reid.

But it didn't go as smoothly as Hannity had hoped. Early in the night, Bill O'Reilly delivered the bad news: "The Republicans won't win the Senate tonight."

As Fox's Megyn Kelly announced that one Democratic senator, expected to lose big, was in a race "too close to call," she commented: "That's, uh, an interesting update." When Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass), said by Fox commentators to be endangered, cruised to an easy win, Kelly commented: "Alas."

The victory party would have to focus on the 60-seat gain Fox projected for Republicans in the House - an enormous win, though not at the upper end of the forecasts. Fox commentator Karl Rove, pleading for "perspective," said it still qualified as a "blowout evening." To be fair and balanced, Fox brought in a nominal Democrat, pollster Doug Schoen. "This is a complete repudiation of the Democratic Party," he proclaimed.

But for Fox, which long ago repudiated the Democratic Party, this was not breaking news. Fox's Beck accepted credit for the victory even before most polls opened, when he arrived on the set of Fox & Friends at 7 a.m. wearing a black paramilitary sweater. He called it the "culmination" of what he began two years ago. "I was trying to convince people: You're not alone. You're not alone," he said.

Indeed, they were not. Fox News was with them.

danamilbank@washpost.com


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