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Fox News on 9/11 Report

Reported by Judy - July 23, 2004 -

Fox and Friends today (July 23) kept up a fairly professional tone in its coverage of the 9/11 commission report, refraining from trying to blame everything on President Clinton. But what choice did they have?

As co-host E.D. Hill explained, "We can't look at this and say Clinton messed up because Bush messsed up, too." That is a surprising admission from a network whose line for months has been "Clinton had eight years and Bush had eight months." Fox News now seems bent on following the bipartisan line, perhaps sensing that a blatantly partisan attack on Democrats would be unpopular so soon after the report came out.

Fox and Friends' co-hosts also gave the impression they were going to stop lobbing soft-ball questions at Republican guests. As co-host E.D. Hill said (8:01 a.m. EDT) referring to an upcoming interview with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, "We're going to grill him."

In the interview itself (8:15 a.m. EDT), Hill did press Chambliss to say if members of Congress would be willing to trim the number of intelligence committees as the report recommended and asking him directly if he would vote to give his homestate less homeland security money so that target states like New York could get more. Hill is no Mike Wallace, but it was a refreshing performance.

Bi-partisanship on Fox can only go so far, however. The interview was only with Chambliss, no Democratic counterpart.