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Still Pushing Flawed Polls

Reported by Nancy - September 7, 2004 -

There wasn't a lot of room for FNL's usual fluff this morning (9/7) -- they were much too busy reinforcing the various themes of the RNC.

At 10:58am (EDT) I tuned in in the middle of a report by Wendell Goler about Bush campaigning in MO. Bush was bashing trial lawyers [theme], & Goler dutifully chimed in with an assertion that there's a "medical malpractice crisis" [theme], citing an AMA study. Goler also noted that the Congressional Budget Office just released a report saying that the US deficit is $422 billion -- less than expected [theme] but still a record.

Kelly Wright followed with a report on Kerry campaigning in WV. Wright claimed that Kerry is trailing in the polls [theme] & "some" Dems are concerned [panic theme]. Wright's report included key code phrases like Kerry is "in full attack mode" [theme], has unveiled "new rhetoric" against Bush & is "changing his rhetoric" (see folks, it's just rhetoric, no need to pay attention). Wright ended by repeating that Kerry is trailing "the President" (has Wright ever called Kerry just "the Senator"?).

Back in the studio (11:02am EDT), Jane Skinner interviewed Jack Quinn (Dem) & Chris Henick (GOP) about "Kerry's blistering attacks on the President" [theme]. Skinner asked Quinn whether Kerry "got off on the wrong foot" [flip-flop theme] about Iraq [to avoid Dems' economy theme]; Quinn pointed out that Kerry's position has been clear & consistent, Bush took us to war on the basis of false intelligence, & now we're facing a tragedy. Skinner then asked Henick directly whether Kerry was flip-flopping [theme]. Henick went off on a tangent, saying the RNC last week showed that "we're safer" (it did?) & that Bush has a "forward-looking" campaign [theme] while Kerry's is self-defeating [theme]. Quinn tried to jump in to point out some of Bush's many flip-flops (opposing, then supporting 9/11 Commission, ditto for Dept of Homeland Security) but Skinner wanted to stay on the topic of Iraq. She gave the last word to Henick, who again went off on a tangent -- without Skinner trying to bring him back on topic -- & finished by saying that voters will focus on Bush's record [theme, but in reality the last thing the RNC wants].

They even managed to insert some pro-Bush plugs into a report about Hurricane Frances. Jamie Colby led off her report from Florida at 11:07am (EDT) by saying that "Gov Bush" had just been there, "Pres Bush" was on his way, & "Pres Bush" has allocated millions of dollars via FEMA for aid to Florida.

At 11:21 Skinner interviewed Juval Aviv (terrorism expert) about the impending capture (or not) of Osama bin Laden. Aviv did some very clever backpedaling to distance himself from Cofer Black's recent claim that we're about to "get" OBL. Aviv said Black was just saying that to keep morale up. Aviv also said he thinks it's wishful thinking because OBL is in Iran [theme] & anyhow "getting" him would be only symbolic, since there's always a younger, smarter, savvier terrorist to take the place of any leader we capture. Skinner & Aviv both gave "our ally" Pakistan [theme] some measured pats on the back for "doing a good job" & being "helpful".

When Rick Folbaum joined FNL at 11:35am (EDT), he interviewed Michael Feldman (Dem) & Larry Sabato (one of FNL's favorite guests & GOP, altho he tries to pretend he's neutral). The topic was "how to re-invigorate John Kerry's campaign" [theme - Kerry is panicked, his campaign is falling apart]. Folbaum asked Sabato if Kerry got good advice from Bill Clinton in their 90-minute phone call. Sabato said that Clinton certainly knows how to win an election, but there are warring camps within the Kerry campaign [theme]. Folbaum asked Feldman if Kerry would listen to Clinton. Feldman said Kerry knows Clinton is smart; unlike Sabato he didn't pretend to be able to see within the Kerry campaign. Folbaum then asked if Kerry was "on the offensive" [attack theme], to which Feldman replied Kerry is talking about jobs & health care. Folbaum noted that things change quickly during war, & Sabato agreed that it will be tough for Kerry because the economy's improving [theme]. Folbaum ended by asking Feldman whether Kerry can make his argument to the voters, & Feldman said voters will decide whether the country is going in the right or the wrong direction.

During this entire 6-minute segment, they showed a lot of video of Bush & Kerry on the campaign trail, waving, shaking hands, etc, intercut with the talking heads. I really wish I had a way to time these quick shots to the millisecond, because I swear they showed more Bush than Kerry. Over the course of a year, those 24/7 milliseconds add up.

Interesting transformation of Bill Clinton into the "wise elder statesman" figure, now that Fox can use that image to try to portray Kerry as panicked, disintegrating, not listening to good advice.