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Taking lessons from Hannity?

Reported by Chrish - September 25, 2004 -

9/23 on Studio B, Shepard Smith conducted a classic FOX interview with 2 Congressional Reps on the subject of Allawi's remarks on Iraq. The time allotted each man was the same, but the tone and treatment of the two men was a totally different matter.

First Mike Pence (R-IN) was introduced and a poll that said 60% of those polled think that the situation in Iraq has been bad since the June handover was referenced. Shep asked Congressman Pence "do we have a PR problem as a nation here, or do we have the crisis that John Kerry is speaking of?" (Comment: hm, wonder where this'll go.) Pence acknowledged that there are some problems on the ground, but, BUT, went into a positive recitation of what's right with Iraq and shared his feeling that it was a great, great moment when Allawi thanked the US. I fully expected a choir to start singing. Shep did not interrupt or talk over Mike Pence.

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), introduced next, was asked what his take was on Allawi's comments. He said, essentially, that Allawi was there to bolster the administration's mythical view that everything is going fine, and that normally Allawi would thank the president but that had to be stripped out so it wouldn't appear political, but he clearly intended to bolster the president.
Shep paraphrased it like this: "What you're saying here is they're lying to an entire nation deliberately, intentionally, while spending $80 billion ($80,000,000,000.00) of our own money, in order to keep a president in office who's telling lies, that's what you're saying here?" When Rep. Ackerman sarcastically replied he was "shocked, shocked, shocked", Shep (angrily, I thought) demanded "Have you been over there?" Ackerman answered "No, and the reason I haven't been..." but at the "no" Shep cut in and demanded "then how the heck do you know if things are going well or not?" Ackerman tried "I'll tell you how I know" but Shep was on a roll and overtalked him, saying that HE (SS) can't find out for sure, he's got congressman on one side telling him one thing and congressmen on the other side telling him another, and somebody's wrong...it was as near a rant as I've ever seen from him. Congressman Ackerman did finally get to say that the reason he hasn't gone over there, like all other congressmen, is because they've been told their safety cannot be guaranteed. (I can see how he would construe from that alone that things are not going too well.)

Comment: It was a study in contrasts, to see the different treatment of the two opposing partisans. The R was allowed to speak and fawn, and the D was challenged, misquoted, and treated rudely. It was pretty unusual in my experience watching Shepard Smith, but I have been away and perhaps in my absence there have been orders to be more blatantly partisan.