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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Reported by Nancy - August 2, 2004 -

While all the cable news networks are in a dither over the current terror threats to NYC, DC & northern NJ, today's episode of FNL spun most of the morning into one long extended story about how GOPs are coping with these threats.

And how are they coping, you ask? Why, they're "resolute" & "determined" to "stay the course" [Comment: see the official GOP playbook for more terms Fox uses to describe GOPs].

When I tuned in at 10:44am (EDT), Brigitte Quinn was in the process of interviewing NY Gov George Pataki, who glowingly described all the wonderful help & cooperation NY has gotten from the feds since 9/11. [Comment: Pataki as usual failed to note that the Bush administration immediately reneged on all the aid it promised to NYC in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, or that big cities have gotten proportionately less homeland security spending than rural areas, or ... come to think of it, Pataki didn't note a single negative thing about how this administration is coping with "homeland security" -- but then Pataki's a GOP].

Later, at 10:59am (EDT), Wendell Goler previewed Bush's upcoming statement about implementing recommendations in the 9/11 Commission final report by saying, among other things, that Scott McClellan says that "Bush has acted on every recommendation" made by the 9/11 Commission. This was immediately followed, at 11:01am (EDT) by Kelly Wright at the World Bank in DC, whose report could pretty much be summed up by "possible this, possible that". Which was followed, at 11:04am (EDT) by Dagen McDowell at the NYSE, whose report included classic GOP phrases like "will not be cowed" & "strength & solidarity".

Back in the studio, at 11:07am (EDT), Quinn interviewed James Gilmore (former Gov of VA). Quinn mumbled something about the Gilmore Commission, then quickly moved to the "important" questions, like what effect Bush's new proposals will have. [Comment: I guess she didn't want to have to acknowledge that the Gilmore Commission, also known as the Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction, was established by the CLINTON administration in 1999 & subsequently ignored by the Bush administration]. Gilmore was ready with the usual catch phrases -- "the system is beginning to work as designed" & he's "confident" but "cautious". [Comment: this is not exactly in line with the published Gilmore Commission reports, which were mildly to moderately critical of "homeland security" efforts -- but then Gilmore is a GOP].

After yet another preview by Quinn of Bush's upcoming statement, at 11:14am (EDT) she interviewed Richard Morin (Washington Post) about why Kerry got so little "bounce" in polls following either his selection of Edwards or the DNC. During this 1-minute interview, contrary to its usual practice of bannering paraphrases of what the guests are saying or background info on the guests, FNL bannered announcements that Bush was about to make a statement.

After the obligatory Lori Hacking segment & a report from Anita Vogel on missing children & Amber Alerts in CA, ID & GA [Comment: be afraid, be very afraid -- if the terrorists don't get you, someone else will], FNL at 11:25am EDT went into "waiting for Bush" mode, with views of an empty podium in the Rose Garden, banners announcing the upcoming statement, & comments from Quinn like "He's usually so punctual" & "He's been focussing on this while in Crawford" [Comment: wouldn't want viewers to think Bush was on vacation AGAIN].

FNL filled in some time with a brief report from Jonathan Hunt at Citigroup in NYC (tight security, but business as usual) & headlines from Patti Ann Browne (Bush's upcoming statement, tight security, terror threats.

Bush finally began speaking at 11:42am (EDT). Fox & the major broadcast media covered it live, in full, including the Q&A period afterward. When that ended, at 11:57am (EDT) Fox went into its usual "analyze this" mode [Comment: a.k.a. drive home the GOP talking points for viewers], using in-house commentators & reporters.

General Comment: Hardly "fair & balanced" today. One 1-minute story about Kerry (& that was negative) compared to constant teasers & endless blather about Bush & how swell he's doing on "homeland security", over the course of 75 minutes devoted largely to hyping the "terror threat" over the next few months. Hmmm ...