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Trying to Be Happy About Iraq -- II

Reported by Judy - September 24, 2004 -

Fox and Friends set the stage for how Fox News would deal with Iraq today (Sept. 24) and Fox News Live responded to its cue on time.

Anchor Jon Scott orchestrated the show which was built around the theme that Kerry's criticism of Iraq is disrespectful to Allawi.

The breathless Jonathan Hunt, reporting from the UN where Allawi will speak later today, said the prime minister has been "determinedly optimistic" about prospects for Iraq and insisted that elections will take place. Hunt also quoted Kofi Annan, UN secretary general, as saying that credible elections are probably impossible, and added that there is speculation (by whom? Jonathan?) that Annan tried to influence the U.S. elections by saying the Iraq war was illegal. Hunt did not mention Rumsfeld's comments before Congress yesterday.

Scott went to a break later saying Kerry was "on the attack" about Iraq and asked "Could it backfire?" That's Fox-speak intended to make the viewer approach whatever Kerry is saying with skepticism, looking for a non-existent misstatement that is going to blow up like an exploding cigar. After the break, Fox played the tape of Kerry saying Bush rushed to war without a plan to win the peace and ignored generals who said the U.S. needed more troops in the country. Fox also played Cheney's comments that Kerry showed a "complete lack of respect" for Allawi, a refrain carried over from the previous hour when Steve Doocy twice accused Kerry of almost calling Allawi a liar and Gingrich accused Kerry of undermining Allawi. Yet another example of Fox working hand-in-glove with the GOP talking points for the day.

Scott drove hom the "no respect for Allawi" theme with an interview with Missouri Republican Senator Kit Bond. Bond agreed with Cheney (reinforcing the talking points) that Kerry attacked and denigrated Allawi and accused Kerry of bolstering the terrorists by leading them to believe that they have a chance to win.

Kerry strategist Jamie Rubin defended Kerry, saying Allawi knew what he was doing coming to the U.S. right before an election and that "a strong leader can take hard truths."

Reporting from Baghdad was Amy Kellogg, wearing a colorful scarf around her neck. She tops my list for best-dressed reporter in Baghdad, proving that she never leaves the green zone. She did, however, bring the bad news that even some Iraqis aren't too keen about Allawi's remarks and feel that there is a "certain disconnect" between his speeches and reality. The opening of school has been delayed a month because of safety concerns, two Egyptians have been kidnapped,, and insurgents waged a mortar attack on the Italian embassy.

The hour also included a discussion between Democrat Don Riegle of Michigan and Republican Fred Malek which centered on new polls but drifted into Iraq. Riegle made a strong point when he said that criticism of the war does not indicate a lack of support for troops but only the belief that the trooops deserve a better commander-in-chief.

Look for the theme of Kerry showing disrespect for Allawi to continue throughout the day until Fox gets fresh meat from Allawi's UN speech today to salivate over.