By Eric Boehlert
It's not easy to flip a congressional district that's been Republican since the late 1800s, but after being willingly hijacked by the right-wing media -- after getting steamrolled by Fox News' embrace of third-party candidate Doug Hoffman -- Republicans managed to hand Upstate New York's 23rd District to Democrats last week. And they did it just in time for the newly elected Democrat to help (barely) push health care reform through the House of Representatives during Saturday night's historic vote.
Doug Hoffman was, first and foremost, a media candidate (a media creation), which means we are entering a very new and different realm in American politics. We're entering a sort of Fox News Era where media outlets -- where alleged news organizations -- essentially co-sponsor political campaigns. We've moved well beyond the time when Fox News, for instance, leaned right and gave conservative candidates more air-time and tossed them lots of softball questions. We're now watching unfold a political reality where Fox News literally selects candidates and then markets them through Election Day.
There's a reason Hoffman described Glenn Beck as his "mentor" and pledged his "sacred honor" to uphold the "9 Principles and 12 Values" of Beck's 9/12 Project.
There's a reason Sean Hannity wanted to "declare" Hoffman the election winner, and why Fox News' on-screen graphic read "Conservative Revolution?" when Hoffman was being interviewed (i.e. prematurely crowned) by Hannity on the eve of Election Day.
Hoffman's outsider bid, originally opposed by the Republican Party, was a media production, plain and simple, which means his loss was a media loss, as well....(Remainder.)