Democrats have been assailing Joe Lieberman's maddening appearances on Fox News for a long time. John Amato slammed the infamous Hannity-Lieberman love-fest in February, when Hannity urged Lieberman to leave the Democratic Party. In April, Mike Stark organized a campaign to confront Hannity when Lieberman broke their "pledge" to regularly appear on his radio program. And if you read this website, you know I've been talking about Lieberman's close ties with conservative pundits (here, here and even drawing this on-air response from Hannity). But you don't have to take our word for it anymore.
Salon has crunched the numbers and concluded in a new article that Lieberman "really was a Fox News Democrat." And just as Mike Stark (and many others) argued, the data indicates that Lieberman abruptly cut back his Fox appearances after the primary challenge from Ned Lamont. Or as the article puts it, "Lieberman had a Fox habit, and kicked it cold turkey when he faced a primary challenge from the left."
Yet the Lieberman campaign denies that it is trying to specifically duck Fox. A spokesman said they are just trying to keep their "media attention focused on Connecticut," and the campaign has not "done any national interviews." But that is not true. Lieberman has recently done interviews with CNN, the AP and The New York Times. Why won't Lieberman just admit that he's changing his conduct to appeal to Democratic voters? As I've said before, if he's avoiding conservative media in an effort to win back Democrats, he might as well say so. It's hard to get credit for responding to criticism if you insist you are not actually responding. But the numbers don't lie: Lieberman went from 25 Fox appearances during the 2004 presidential campaign to 4 appearances in 2005 to 0 this year.
Some say that zero may not last long. One local expert, University of Connecticut political science professor Kenneth Dautrich, told Salon:
"once this primary's over you'll see him back on Fox real quickly because there's a weak Republican candidate who's running, independent voters are not averse to Fox, and the Democrats are going to be going with Lamont. The nature of the voters in the general election would suggest that he will do well by going back to Fox."
Of course, the professor is taking it as a given that Lieberman will lose the primary.