When President Barack Obama praised the NFL’s Eagles for giving quarterback Michael Vick a second chance, it was inevitable that the pundits at Fox News would feign outrage.
But no one could have predicted that one Fox News host would go as far as to call for Vick’s death.
“President Obama — it has been confirmed by the White House — called the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and during the course of their conversation, thanked him for giving Michael Vick a second chance,” Fox News’ Tucker Carlson reported Tuesday while filling in for Sean Hannity.
“Now, I’m a Christian. I’ve made mistakes myself. I believe fervently in second chances but Michael Vick killed dogs and he did it in a heartless and cruel way and I think, personally, he should have been executed for that,” he continued.
“But the idea that the president of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs, kind of beyond the pale,” Carlson said.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King Monday that Obama called him and was passionate about Vick’s comeback.
“He said, ‘So many people who serve time never get a fair second chance,’” Lurie said. “He said, ‘It’s never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail.’ And he was happy that we did something on such a national stage that showed our faith in giving someone a second chance after such a major downfall.”
White House spokesman Bill Burton clarified that Obama “of course condemns the crimes that Michael Vick was convicted of, but, as he’s said previously, he does think that individuals who have paid for their crimes should have an opportunity to contribute to society again.”
Burton also said that part of the reason for Obama’s call was to talk about alternative energy plans for Lincoln Field, where the Eagles play.
Carlson wasn’t the first Fox News host to be be upset by the president’s actions.
“The criticism is to specifically praise giving Michael Vick this kind of a chance in some way excuses, perhaps, what Michael Vick did or sends some sort of a message to people that it’s not that bad,” Fox News host Megyn Kelly worried.
Filling in for Keith Olbermann on MSNBC Tuesday, Sam Seder pointed out that while Obama didn’t excuse what Vick did, President George W. Bush did excuse I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby after he was convicted in the Valerie Plame case.
“Tell me if I’m wrong here,” Seder asked sociologist Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. “In the media, at least, it seems to me that there appears to be two standards for two different crimes and for two different presidents.”
“You’re absolutely right,” Dyson said.
This video is from Fox News’ Hannity, broadcast Dec. 28, 2010.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Dec. 28, 2010.