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Missing White Woman Edition

Reported by Nancy - August 19, 2004 -

This morning (8/19), FNL was all over a story about a young woman who has apparently been missing for a while in Indianapolis. This included the usual multiple teasers & interviews by Brigitte Quinn with the missing woman's sister at 10:51am (EDT) & 2 of her cousins at 11:21am (EDT). Why is FNL so worked up about this story? I'm glad you asked.

Turns out that the missing woman, Molly Datillo, was an aspiring "American Idol" entrant. Mystery solved: Fox cross-promotion sinks to a new low.

Of course there were the obligatory speculations about Scott Peterson & Michael Jackson masquerading as "news stories", & several mentions of renewed fighting in Najaf between al-Sadr's militia & Iraqi & US forces (btw, FNL is now calling al-Sadr the "outlaw" cleric -- aren't they worried that this will romanticize him with their target audience?). At 11:01am (EDT) Brigitte Quinn interviewed Scott Rutter (Lt Col, US Army, retired) about the situation in Najaf. Rutter was the perfect FNL military "analyst", full of bluster & bravado; he twice used the phrase "we own the night" (shades of the NYC cops who murdered Amadou Diallo).

But the really fun stuff was the political "coverage". First they talked about McGreevey, with Quinn interviewing 2 politicians from NJ at 11:15am (EDT): Bonnie Watson-Coleman (Dem) & Joseph Kyrillos (GOP). Quinn asked (sans irony) whether it wouldn't be better for McGreevey to leave now, given the endless media hype about this. The Q&As were about what you'd expect, until the feisty Watson-Coleman remarked that NJ Dems aren't focused on this, they're focused on getting Bush out of office. Quinn panicked, interrupted Watson-Coleman, & announced that they wouldn't discuss presidential politics. There's one guest who won't be invited back soon.

Later, after CNN had already (at 11:27am EDT) reported Kerry's remarks about the "Swift Boat" ads (accusing Bush of letting front groups do his dirty work for him & challenging Bush to discuss their respective Vietnam-era military records by saying "Bring it on!"), & interviewed Max Clelland (11:37am EDT) about the controversy, FNL decided they'd better nip this in the bud. At 11:40am (EDT) Major Garrett reported on Kerry's remarks & showed the clip of Kerry making the statement. He then showed a clip of John O'Neil (one of the group behind the "Swift Boat" ads, for those of you who have been on another planet for the past couple of weeks) saying -- erroneously -- that Kerry had libeled them by accusing them of war crimes. This was immediately followed by Rick Folbaum interviewing Fred Barnes & Nina Easton (Boston Globe) about the ruckus. Folbaum said that originally they were planning to discuss the possible make-up of a Kerry or Bush cabinet after the November election, & they did get around to that eventually. But first Folbaum gave Barnes the opportunity to "analyze" Kerry's comments; Barnes (no surprise here) tried to change the subject by claiming that Kerry wasn't addressing the real issue of his service in Vietnam.

Oh, & Quinn again used the new FNL tagline: "real journalism, fair & balanced".