In the same column I blogged earlier today, Howard Kurtz covers practically every conceivable angle concerning WUSA's Peggy Fox and her questioning about George Allen's Jewish ancestry. Kurtz simultaneously wonders what Fox and Allen were really up to. I don't think there's a big mystery about Allen. This was a touchy and painful issue for Allen's mother, including the Nazi imprisonment of her father and the mores of postwar America. You don't push around your own 83-year-old mother. You don't mercilessly interrogate her, unless you have a heart of stone. If she asks you to keep your mouth shut, you give her the benefit of the doubt regardless of your own calculations.
Me, I'll focus on Fox, whose various e-mailed semi-answers about the exchange are up to the standards of any spin-meister. In this column alone, her responses include:
- The story isn't about me
- I can't talk to you about why I asked it
- I asked it because voters have a right to know if candidates are "genuine"
- "I regret the way I worded the question and the way Senator Allen turned the spotlight onto the question itself...
I'll bet you do. One response that is hinted at but obscured was buried by the Post when it obliterated its link to a Michael Shear story filed online. As PostWatch fans know, that story included Fox's early reaction:
...It was just a question about a fact. He's attacking the media. If you don't like the question, attack the media."
My guess: WUSA told Fox to cool it. That explains the shift from "it was just a question about a fact" to "I'm sorry about how I asked it."
I wonder if Kurtz saw the early online story.