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Promoting Bush, Skimping on Kerry

Reported by Judy - August 16, 2004 -

How many ways did Fox News promote George Bush while ignoring John Kerry today (August 16)? Let us count the ways in just a two-hour block of programming.

From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. EDT, Bush is featured or mentioned at:

8:03 a.m. EDT: Lauren Green reports Bush is going to Ohio to announce troop re-deployments, video of Bush on the screen

8: 15 a.m. EDT: Red Cross official says she toured damaged area with Bush on Sunday

8:31 a.m. EDT: Wendell Goler, White House correspondent repeats the report of Bush going to Ohio to speak to VFW on his 21st trip to Ohio and that he has visited Florida to review hurricane damage, with video of Bush in Florida. As Goler said, "In the current political climate, nothing Mr. Bush does escapes questions about political motivation. ... Mr. Bush said if he hadn't gone yesterday he'd have been criticized for waiting too long." But Goler did not name anyone who was actually questioning Bush's motivation for the visit. Neither did Bush in the quotation.

8:40 a.m. EDT: Jon Scott, promoting his upcoming show Fox News Live, says he will have a segment on Bush's visit to Florida and that "people are carping about it." Who the carpers are, he doesn't say.

9:05 a.m. EDT: Scott interviews Senator John McCain about 9/11 Commission report and says, "There are some people, and you've heard from a lot of them, who say the 9/11 commission recommendations are almost sacrosanct ... and we have to make them law right now." Apparently, the "some people" includes Kerry, whose rationale is not presented. McCain says, "I think the president supports the recommendations" but that the president wants Congress to go through "the proper process."

9:25 a.m. EDT: Scott says in promo, "President Bush is taking some time off the campaign trail to visit with folks affected by Hurricane Charley. But does politics figure into that trip?" Video shows Bush viewing hurricane damage.

9:33 a.m. EDT: Scott mentions Bush going to Ohio to announce re-deployment of U.S. troops. Goler repeats his report of Bush going to VFW convention, with video of Bush walking away from a helicopter. Meanwhile, banner reports Bush going to Traverse City, Michigan, a state he lost to Gore by 5 percent in 2000.

9:38 a.m. EDT: Scott says that President Bush is promising "immediate help" to Florida, but "some are criticizing the visit as pure politics." Video shows Bush saying, "Yeah, and if I didn't come, they'd have said I should have been here more rapidly." Scott interviews Ed Rogers, former aide to George I, and Craig Smith, former Joe Lieberman campaign manager, about whether Bush did the right thing in going to Florida. Scott compares George II's prompt visit with George I's failure to visit Florida soon after Hurricane Andrew. Neither criticizes Bush for going, with Smith acknowledging the balance needed between a president's legitimate role in visiting and the need to avoid too much disruption caused by a presidential visit.

9:56 a.m. EDT: Scott interviews Mike Brown, FEMA director, about Bush's visit to Florida. Brown was on the chopper with Bush and says "the extent of devastation" surprised Bush the most. "I think he was pretty shocked" by the damage, Brown said.

During the same time period, Kerry is never focused on, but is mentioned at:

9:05 a.m. EDT: During discussion with McCain, Scott notes that Senator Kerry says the 9/11 recommendations should be put into place right now. "What about the politics of the recommendations here?" Scott asks McCain.

9:38 a.m. EDT: Scott asks whether Kerry should visit Florida to view storm damage. Smith says he should, but he should wait a few days until the area can better handle the logistics associated with his visit.

Final score: Nine references or segments dealing with Bush, two passing references to Kerry. Maybe Fox evened the score later in the day, but there's a lot of ground to make up, and anyone who watched Fox before heading to work is going to miss the make-ups.