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Decisions, Decisions

Reported by Nancy - August 13, 2004 -

FNL this morning (Aug 13) was obviously torn between giving some free air time to Florida Gov Jeb Bush & giving some free air time to New Jersey GOPs who, in a classic (& rare) example of not being on-message, scheduled their press conference attacking NJ Gov McGreevey for the same time as Jeb's TV appearance re Hurricane Charley.

FNL solved the dilemma by going with Jeb initially. After repeated teasers for both stories, at 11:31am (EDT) in the midst of a hurricane report by Janice Dean, FNL interrupted to ALERT us that "we're waiting for" Jeb, followed by a clip of the Florida Emergency Management person introducing Jeb [comment: wouldn't want to miss a single one of Jeb's words]. Jeb started speaking at 11:32am (EDT) & was covered by FNL until 11:35am (EDT), when he began speaking in Spanish (he was repeating the warnings telling people to get out of certain areas or take shelter). While he spoke Spanish, Rick Folbaum & Brigitte Quinn talked over him, both noting how "critical" it was to get this message out [comment: apparently with no sense of irony that they were preventing this in the process]. At 11:37am (EDT), as soon as Jeb began taking questions from reporters -- in English -- FNL returned to live coverage. This was interrupted at 11:40am (EDT) by an ALERT from Quinn to announce that NJ GOPs were holding a press conference to demand that Gov McGreevey resign now.

Note: CNN & MSNBC also covered a few minutes of Jeb's statement, & also cut away when he began speaking Spanish. [Comment: do none of these channels think they have any Spanish-speaking viewers, especially in Florida, where it might be critical to get the word out?]

This doesn't mean FNL ignored the McGreevey story. Far from it. At 11:02am (EDT) Quinn interviewed Peter Mirijanian (a public relations consultant) & Frank Donatelli (a GOP strategist) about it. [Comment: why not ask a Dem strategist instead of a generic PR consultant?] And at 11:16am (EDT), she interviewed David Leavy (former staffer in the Clinton administration's office of the press secretary) & Jim Dyke (communcations director for the RNC). [Comment: again, why not invite someone from the DNC?] And FNL promised "further coverage".