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All Hype, All the Time

Reported by Nancy - September 3, 2004 -

FNL this morning (9/3) was torn between Hurricane Frances & the school hostage crisis in Russia. They solved the dilemma by relentlessly repeating ALERTS for the same information on those 2 topics over, & over, & over, & ...

In addition to the usual endless teasers, Hurricane Frances got brief blurbs by Lauren Green (10:30am EDT), Jamie Colby (10:33am EDT) & Janice Dean (11:05am EDT). Brigitte Quinn did 2 separate telephone interviews with Florida residents, Dianne Vanni in Boynton Beach (10:36am EDT) -- who's staying put -- & Cheryl Bell in Delray Beach (11:07am EDT) -- who's evacuating later, maybe tonight. I'm still not sure what "journalistic" value those phone interviews had, & frankly I don't think Quinn was too sure either. My personal fave was Geraldo Rivera, who "reported" by phone (10:56am EDT) from a hurricane watch plane somewhere over the Atlantic. Rivera was very impressed with himself, as he repeated the same info Colby had previously delivered.

Also in addition to the usual endless teasers, the school hostage situation in Russia was updated with newswire reports by Quinn every couple of minutes. She did manage to work in the White House official statement ("barbaric terrorist act blah blah blah We stand behind Russia blah blah blah") at least 3 times, so we'd all know that Bush is on top of this. Dana Lewis filed 2 brief on-site reports (10:45am & 11:00am EDT) that mostly consisted of video of escaping hostages running around in their underwear & soldiers & civilians with & without guns also running around. Lewis couldn't contribute much in the way of facts because there are still so many unknowns, but he was given plenty of air time to do it in. His second report was distinctly hostile to the Russians in tone; near the end of that he noted that the town is surrounded by roadblocks -- "but they're Russian roadblocks, I don't know how good they are." Immediately following Lewis' second report, Quinn interviewed Gen (ret) Tom McInerney (a FNL regular) for a military assessment of how the Russians were handling the situation -- another opportunity for Quinn to repeat the White House statement. McInerney was a tad less gung-ho than he usually is, but ended with the suggestion that we should worry whether this latest "wave" of terror might "roll" out of Russia, "roll" over Europe & then "roll" on to the US (I think he was swept up in the Hurricane Frances frenzy).

All the huffing & puffing over those 2 stories didn't leave FNL much time for other news, but they did manage to squeeze in an interview (10:42am) by Quinn of Bill Kristol -- ostensibly an analysis of Bush's speech last night & Kerry's response to it. Kristol managed to hit what are turning out to be the GOP themes: Kerry looked panicky, he's still being equivocal (the high-falutin' version of flip-flop). Of course Quinn didn't challenge or even explore any of Kristol's statements, & he had the studio floor all to himself. Quinn then interviewed Tammy Bruce (NewsMax) & Rick Davis (GOP) on the same topic & -- surprise! -- everyone happily agreed that Bush's speech was good, Kerry is panicked (Bruce described him as "obsessing") & the GOPs can be very satisfied with the way the RNC went. Davis ended by saying dismissively that the GOPs can ignore Kerry. James Rosen filed a report (11:11am EDT) about Bush being back on the campaign trail today -- but the video that accompanied his report was a clip from Bush's speech last night. Immediately following Rosen's report, Quinn interviewed (11:15am EDT) Brad Blakeman (GOP) & Kirsten Powers (Dem). Blakeman hit the "flip-flop" & "Kerry is desperate" themes. Powers -- surprise! -- was the only one to point out that Kerry was responding to a week of personal attacks & that the reason the GOPs were spending so much time attacking Kerry is that they have no record to run on.

In a little over 1.5 hours, not a peep about today's report about jobs. What a surprise. Oh, I guess the rest of the world still exists, but you'd never know it from watching FNL.