Fox News Channel got to accompany President Bush on his hush-hush trip to Baghdad because it was Fox’s day to man the television pool, not because of favoritism, the network says. Fox News White House correspondent Jim Angle was the lone TV reporter to accompany Bush on the Thanksgiving day trip.
When Bush, who had been at Crawford, Texas ranch, flew to Washington Wednesday to change planes, Angle and his crew joined the press pool, which also included reporters from Bloomberg News, The Washington Post, Reuters and several still photographers. They arrived in Iraq on Thursday and the trip was shrouded in secrecy until the President was already on his way back to Washington.
Fox’s inclusion in the trip might have raised a few eyebrows, but the media that made the trip to Iraq were the press designated for Thursday’s White House press pool, which rotates daily. (A common practice since it can be logistically impossible for the entire White House press core to accompany the President on some trips).
On Wednesday, a TV crew from CNN was designated as the pool representative. When he returned from Iraq, Angle made the rounds of other media, appearing on ABC News and CBS News. On Fox's own air Friday, anchor Brian Wilson asked his colleague Angle to clarify how Fox got the plumassignment. "I want to make the point this wasn't like they just said, hey, we like Fox. Fox is going. It was actually our day in the barrel. [The pool] rotates every day," Wilson said. "Thursday was our day for pool," Angle replied.