Neil Cavuto's on-air quip Friday about Osama bin Laden wearing a Kerry campaign button during the terrorist's videotaped message was only the most newsworthy case of Fox New pundits and their predictable guests gleefully analyzing the tape and predicting the impact of the al-Qaida harangue.
All Friday night and throughout the weekend there was a virtual Fox News stampede to declare not only that the tape would have an enormous impact on the campaign, but that President Bush -- despite his failure to capture the man who masterminded the murder of nearly 3,000 Americans -- would obviously benefit from the unlikely October surprise.
By Monday, even Fox anchors had to concede the obvious: that where the bin Laden videotape did move the needle, it was clearly in Kerry's direction. Tracking polls in both Minnesota and Iowa, for instance, showed significant movement toward Kerry at the very end of last week. Nationally, at the time of Fox News' bin Laden conventional wisdom, the news channel's own poll showed Bush up 5 points. Today, he's down 2 points in the same poll -- a 7-point swing since the release of bin Laden's tape. Surprise.