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Awe & Awe

Reported by Nancy - August 31, 2004 -

That's right: not "shock & awe", just "awe & awe". FNL this morning (8/31) was on a reverece trip for Bush.

When I tuned in at 10:53am (EDT), banners were announcing that we were waiting for Bush to give a speech in Nashville. There was a split-screen, with the right half showing the empty podium & full stage also "awaiting". Meanwhile, on the left (& significantly smaller) side, Brigitte Quinn killed some time interviewing Richard Johnson (Page Six editor, New York Post) -- whom she again didn't identify as working for a Murdoch-owned company -- about RNC gossip & parties.

At 10:56am (EDT) Quinn cut Johnson short as Bush began his speech to the American Legion in Nashville. Quinn's tone was positively reverential, as she softly breathed the phrase "the President of the United States." Fox, MSNBC & CNN all carried this campaign event live. The speech itself was about what you'd expect -- a mishmash of half-truths, misleading statements & outright lies (my personal fave: the part about how swell things are in Afghanistan).

FNL's coverage included one banner in particular ("President Bush says 'we will win' the war on terror") which I'm guessing was meant to reassure viewers that Bush didn't really mean it yesterday when he said (in an interview with Matt Lauer on CNN) "I don't think you can win it" [the WOT] or a couple of days ago when he said (in an interview with the NYTimes) there were "miscalculations" in Iraq. Wouldn't want Fox fans to think Bush is a flip-flopper.

FNL did NOT use a split-screen during Bush's speech, as they've done with some Kerry speeches.

Bush's speech ended at 11:22am (EDT). FNL continued to show video of the crowd applauding & Bush shaking hands, staying with it right through Bush's departure from the stage & disappearance off-camera. This adulation phase lasted 2 minutes, & would probably have lasted longer if Bush had stayed on stage longer, because they were still showing it even while Quinn was talking over it, introducing & beginning to interview Brad Blakeman (GOP) & Kirsten Powers (Dem).

When they finally cut back to the studio, Quinn immediately spun any analysis of the speech by noting that Bush had mentioned Kerry's "inconsistencies" -- wouldn't want to call attention to any of the many half-truths in Bush's speech, or discuss an actual issue Bush raised, like funding for veteran's health care. Powers was having none of that, & immediately pointed out that while Bush was talking about honoring vets, delegates to the RNC were mocking wounded vets. Quinn said she'd watched a lot of RNC coverage (I'll just bet she has) & hadn't seen anything like that. Blakeman agreed, saying it "never happened". Quinn tried to ask Powers about the Smear Boat ads (detect a theme yet?), but again Powers refused to be sidetracked, & pointed out that she didn't know why Blakeman would lie about it, she's seen it personally & MSNBC aired footage of it yesterday -- apparently GOP delegates are walking around with big bandaids, joking to each other that this little booboo got them a purple heart (this is what passes for GOP humor). Blakeman sputtered & stumbled, & finally retreated to ask "where was John Kerry" when the Dems had a "hate gathering" at Radio City (this is what passes for GOP discussion). Powers tried to address that, but Quinn interrupted her & said she wanted to give the final question to Blakeman to be "fair & balanced" because she had started with Powers. This gave Blakeman the opportunity to repeat -- without rebuttal from Powers -- the GOP party line: Kerry's a flip-flopper, his Senate record is devoid of accomplishment.

By 10:28am (EDT), FNL had had enough of this interview & went to teasers for upcoming stories. Instead of the usual FNL montage of ugly graphics & hideous music going to the ad break, they played a long audio/video clip of Rudy Giuliani's speech at the RNC. (Shouldn't that count as a free ad?)