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Wolf in Sheep's Clothing II

Reported by Nancy - September 29, 2004 -

FNL this morning (9/29) offered a second excellent illustration of how what people don't say can be more important than what they do say. Brava, Geraldine Ferraro, for not letting FNL get away with it!

On FNL this morning (9/29), at 11:03am (EDT) Patti Ann Browne interviewed Geraldine Ferraro (Dem, former VP candidate) & Alex Castellanos. Browne's intro of Castellanos, like her previous intro of Clark S Judge, didn't tell viewers half of what they need to know about him. Simply labelling him a "GOP consultant" doesn't even come close.

Browne lost control of the interview almost immediately (it would take more experience than she has to stand up to these 2 very strong personalities), but Ferraro refused to let Castellanos interrupt her when she finally got a chance to speak. There was some pretty sharp back-&-forth between Ferraro & Castellanos. He tried to twist her words, she got in a good zinger about speaking English. [comment: I'm not sure what the "average" FNL viewer would make of this, but I think Ferraro did a great job, especially in view of the fact that the "anchor" was "adrift" -- pardon the pun -- during the interview.]

General comment: Ferraro is a nationally recognized political figure; if you need more background on her, google. But here's what you need to know about Castellanos -- which, of course, Browne didn't say:

National Media Inc is headed by Alex Castellanos, major GOP advertising consultant and "father of the attack ad."
National Media Inc received an HHS contract to buy $9.5 million in advertising to promote the new Bush Medicare legislation.
National Media and Castellanos are the media consultants for the Bush/Cheney 2004 Campaign and previously for Bush/Cheney 2000.
National Media and Castellanos have run ads for major pharmaceutical industry front groups.

[Castellano is] the father of the modern attack ad, and he's behind the Bush campaign's ... wave of anti-Kerry spots. Castellanos is known as vicious, irresponsible -- and effective. ... Castellanos is the party's ultimate hit man, hired by the Bush-Cheney campaign to put his stamp on the contest.

Here's his profile from his firm's own website, http://www.natmedia.com/about/castellanos.htm:
Alex Castellanos is one of the Republican Party's new generation of TV-advertising consultants. Castellanos has served as media consultant to five US Presidential campaigns. He has helped elect eight US Senators, six Governors, and enjoys over two decades of political consulting experience, both in the United States and abroad. Fortune singled out Mr. Castellanos as a "new style media master." Mr. Castellanos brings a wealth of campaign strategy, public opinion research and communications experience to corporate communications and public policy campaigns. Mr. Castellanos, a native of Havana, Cuba, is fluent in Spanish and English. His parents, refugees who fled Castro's Cuba in 1961, came to this country with one suitcase, two children and eleven dollars. A Morehead and National Merit Scholar at the University of North Carolina, Mr. Castellanos lectures frequently internationally and in the United States, from Harvard University to the United States Army Communication School.

Now, here's some more info you need to know (keeping in mind the UNC connection noted above):
In the 1990 North Carolina Senate campaign, Republican incumbent Jesse Helms was several points behind Democrat Harvey Gantt in polls taken shortly before the election. Over a weekend, political consultant Alex Castellanos wrote and produced an ad called "Hands." Gantt's support of affirmative action had been identified on surveys as an unpopular position. The controversial "Hands" featured a close-up shot of two hands holding a letter and crumpling it as a narrator says "You needed that job, but they had to give it to a minority." Helms made up the difference in the polls and won re-election.

For more of Castellanos' wit & wisdom, there's a transcript of a 2001 CNN "Crossfire" interview at http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0112/07/cf.00.html