Larry Elder

Consider the following hypothetical.

Fox News, during the 2008 presidential campaign, learns about a long-ago arrest of a relative of Sen. Barack Obama. Fox calls Obama. It makes an offer Fox assumes he cannot refuse: "Agree to appear on the show of your anti-ObamaCare nemesis, Sean Hannity, or we run the story on your relative's arrest."

Obama refuses. Fox runs the story. Turns out the piece so lacks credibility that none of the other newspapers and television outlets, conservative or liberal, follow suit. A Fox executive later brags to a national magazine that Fox did, indeed, try to make mincemeat of Obama by getting him to debate ObamaCare on Hannity's show in exchange for sitting on a hit piece.

Months after Fox's attempt, a big-city newspaper gets hold of the story. It writes a lengthy piece about Fox's sordid, and very possibly illegal, attempt at journalism by blackmail.

Fox, of course, did no such thing. But assume it used this tactic to make Obama go on Hannity's show. What would be the result?

Occupy Fox News announces a rally outside the New York City building on Avenue of the Americas where Fox broadcasts many of its shows. OFN leaders and supporters include the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, the ACLU, Hollywood groups like Norman Lear's People for the American Way,, the National Press Club, the National Association of Black Journalists -- just to name a few. The FCC launches an investigation. Fox's on-air pundits start resigning after Fox refuses even to acknowledge that the attempt was wrong, let alone apologize for it.

All of this would be an appropriate response. After all, Fox -- in this hypothetical -- tried to force Obama into a game-changing, if not campaign-ending, on-air confrontation with a host who makes no pretense about his contempt for ObamaCare. This means a "news organization" sat on a story to force a politician -- whose views it dislikes -- to appear on the show of an antagonist.

Well something very similar did happen -- last summer. Except the victim of the journalism blackmail was not Obama, but Florida's Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. The media company was not Fox, but Univision. This issue was not ObamaCare, but Rubio's opposition to the Dream Act and his "anti-Hispanic" view on immigration. The host was not Sean Hannity, but Jorge Ramos -- a Republican-basher and Rubio critic who believes opposition to the Dream Act and "amnesty" equals racism. The relative was Orlando Cicilia, Rubio's brother-in-law, who was busted for drugs -- almost 25 years ago.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit