As loyal Fox & Friends Weekend fans know, co-anchor Clayton Morris fashions himself a history buff. However, today he appeared to be more the dilettante of the American narrative in an F&FW interview of Governor Mike Huckabee. During that segment (on Obama’s hinting that he might not run again in 2012), Clayton asked about one-term President Gerald Ford.
Clayton commented, “Let’s talk about Gerald Ford for a second from a history perspective because I’m fascinated by that moment.” (Perhaps, he should not have.) Confounded, Clayton disjointedly declared, “He ran but he knew by pardoning Nixon, by taking some of those bullets. And, of course, famously even featured in Profiles in Courage, you know, the Kennedy book later for having courage to stand up and take sort of a bullet for the country as a result of the Nixon impeachment proceedings. Is that what President Obama is saying here?”*
In the past, Clayton has confused the nineteenth century caning of a would-be assassin by our seventh President “Old Hickory,” Andrew Jackson, with the beating of Senator Charles Sumner by Rep. Preston Brooks more than two decades later. Such an error about the arcane Congressional record is one thing. However, not remembering President Gerald Ford’s 1974 pardon of the disgraced Richard M. Nixon occurred almost twenty years after President John F. Kennedy penned his 1955 Profiles in Courage is another altogether. [N.B. Gerald Ford did receive the 2001 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award (named after JFK’s book) for his pardon of Nixon.]
The dangers of being a self-dubbed “buff”! In the future, Clayton may well want to consult the country’s chronicles before opining on its past beyond the current news cycle. The author does not doubt that he will learn from another of his avocations and get better with age.
*Fox & Friends (11/21/09) – @8:49 a.m. ET