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A Typical "Fair & Balanced" Interview

Reported by Melanie - September 22, 2004 -

Linda Vester introduced a segment today (September 22, 2004) on Dayside w/Linda Vester as being about how things are going in Iraq. First up was Ed Gillespie (Chair of the RNC, who was sitting in front of a wall with www.kerryoniraq.com written all over it). Vester referenced recent car bombings and asked how events like that squared with Bush's optimism.

Gillespie gave the usual answer: we're on a path to democracy, the "terrorists" don't want us to win, Allawi's taking positive steps, it's hard work but it's the right thing to do.

Vester wondered when the "no go zones" which the "terrorists" control would be "fixed." Gillespie said we're training Iraqi troops, a step toward Iraq becoming stable and self-governing. Vester mentioned reports that the Iraqi police force isn't ready and Gillespie said the Pentagon would be the place to go for that information, but Kerry's "latest policy reversal" is that we're not better off now that Saddam's out of power.

Then, saying, "Fair and balanced, now the other side," Vester turned to Howard Wolfson, Special Advisor for Communications to the DNC. (COMMENT: Note how Vester immediately puts Wolfson on the defensive and how she appears to be arguing on behalf of the RNC.)

Vester asked how, given "the changing positions of John Kerry," voters are to know what he would do? Wolfson said that was important - but more important was the administration's lack of credibility. Iraq has no WMD, it's not an "easy" war and it's far more expensive than predicted. He said Kerry has a plan to turn Iraq around which begins with a change in November.

Vester said "I would probably venture that a lot of just reasonable voters don't know what John Kerry's plan is simply because he's changed his opinion so many times." Wolfson said Kerry would bring in allies, this administration went to war without a plan involving allies, Bush alienated our allies and American taxpayers are paying 90% of the cost.

Vester said her next guest would be a general whose job it was to work with members of the coalition, "more than 60 actually was his number," so if Wolfson said there were no allies he'd be quibbling with that general. (COMMENT: Even without deleting those who've pulled out, the White House's own website lists 48.)

Wolfson again mentioned war costs; involving our allies in a "meaningful way" and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Vester asked which countries specifically Kerry would bring in and Wolfson said France. The audience burst out laughing and Vester said "You honestly think France would contribute troops to Iraq?" Wolfson said he thought there were a number of countries Bush has alienated who would become involved if they were included in a "comprehensive way."

COMMENT: I thought these two interviews were about where things stood in Iraq. Gillespie gave the Bush version, but it seems to me that when it came to Wolfson and the Kerry version, Vester kept the discussion on Kerry's alleged flip flops and on making fun of his ideas and plans.