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Gaga for Spaceshipone

Reported by Nancy - October 4, 2004 -

This morning (10/4), FNL was all about Spaceshipone -- that is, when they weren't still trying to spin the results of last week's Kerry-Bush debate & the probable outcome of this week's upcoming Edwards-Cheney debate.

When I tuned in at 10:18am (EDT), FNL was on an ad break. I flipped to CNN, which was showing live coverage of a Kerry speech about stem cell research. Hmm, so was MSNBC. So was my regional all-news cable network. At 10:22am, Brigitte Quinn returned with an ALERT that there was a report from Reuters that there was video of a new hostage execution in Iraq.

At 10:23am (EDT), Quinn interviewed Juan Williams (of NPR & a regular on many different Fox programs) about whether the debate last week was an "introduction to John Kerry". Williams is treated by Fox as though he were "liberal". which he isn't. Williams for 4 minutes all to himself to deliver this analysis: take poll results with a grain of salt; don't look at polls, look at substance; there are few undecided voters & there's been no shift there [comment: I thought we were supposed to take poll results with a grain of salt].

By this time, the other cable news networks had cut away from the Kerry event, since he had finished his speech & moved to Q&A with the audience. After an ad break, FNL returned at 10:29am (EDT) with an ALERT that Spaceshipone was now in a critical phase, & Quinn interviewed Colonel Walter Cunningham, a former Apollo 7 astronaut (who had apparently also been with FNL earlier).

At 10:34am (EDT) Steve Brown reported from the Kerry campaign in NH [comment: no Carl Cameron]. Brown ducked down & used his "golf announcer voice" so viewers could see, but not hear, how Kerry was interacting with the audience. Instead of letting viewers see a segment of Kerry's speech, Brown summarized by saying that Bush limited research on stem cells on moral grounds, there are issues like "when life begins" & abortion, Kerry says that as President he would reverse Bush's policy. Oh, & Michael Fox is on stage with Kerry. [comment: the report was more about Bush's position than Kerry's]

At 10:36am (EDT) Wendell Goler reported from the White House about the Bush campaign. Goler stressed that Bush is extending his tax cuts today, noting that the White House says this is an example of Bush's "ability to deliver". Goler further noted that Bush could have signed the bill in DC, but chose to do so in WI & thus his campaign won't have to pay for his trip there [comment: a refreshing but disturbing admission]. Goler mentioned one of those polls that Williams said to take with a grain of salt -- a Gallup poll showing Kerry & Bush even -- & said that Mehlman, Bush's campaign director, thinks terror is still the dominant theme. [comment: not a word about Kerry in Goler's report about Bush, unlike Brown's report about Kerry, which was more about Bush despite the fact that Brown was actually at a Kerry event].

At 10:38am (EDT), Quinn interviewed former Sen Don Riegle (D-MI) & former Rep Rick Lazio (R-NY) about the upcoming VP debate. Riegle said Edwards will have to unmask Cheney as the worst VP since Agnew, & drive home the issue of his ongoing ties to Halliburton. Quinn used the classic FNL locution "some say" as a question to Lazio: "some say Dick Cheney is a huge asset" & Lazio said he's the most experience VP we've ever had. Lazio got in a nice slam at Edwards, noting that he's a "worthy adversary" & adding that he's a trial lawyer used to arguing to juries for fees of $30-40,000. Lazio also claimed that 2/3 of Al Qaeda is "gone" [comment: does this mean we won't have to hear more reports about the latest AQ "lieutenant" being killed or captured?] When Riegle pointed out that "these guys were asleep at the switch", Quinn gave Lazio the "chance to respond" & he hit the GOP themes.

Enough with politics. Back to Spaceshipone at 10:43am (EDT). Much video of sky & plane. William La Jeunesse was on-site in Mojave, CA, & interviewed aerospace engineers George Whiteside (National Space Society) & Eric Anderson (Space Adventures). Quinn continued interviewing Cunninham. All these guests were interesting & informative, hyperenthusiastic about the future of space flight & exploration. But Quinn & La Jeunesse's questions & comments were generally inane, & they both kept harping on the $10 million prize. This coverage went on, uninterrupted, for 31 minutes, until Spaceshipone touched down safely & taxied to a stop at 11:14am (EDT).

At 11:15am (EDT), Goler repeated his earlier report about Bush. At 11:17am (EDT), Brown repeated his earlier report about Kerry, although this time he did include a very brief clip of Kerry's actual speech.

At 11:19am (EDT), Quinn interviewed Geraldine Ferraro (Dem) & C Boyden Gray (GOP) about the upcoming VP debate. This was a replay of a match-up FNL hosted last week, with essentially the same results. [comment: Ferraro was charming, personable, self-deprecating & funny, as well as being well-informed & well-armed; she outclassed Gray by a country mile]

Following an ad break & headlines with Patti Ann Browne, at 11:32am (EDT) Quinn introduced a segment about Martha Stewart, whom she said was "partying in the Bahamas" before starting her prison sentence. Rick Leventhal filed a report from near the prison, which he said is called "Camp Cupcake". His report was very dismissive of the realities of any prison [comment: I'd like to see how he'd react to having to spend time at a men's version of "Camp Cupcake"].

At 11:34am (EDT) David Asman joined the show & introduced a report about SCOTUS & federal sentencing guidelines from Megyn Kendall.

At 11:37am (EDT), Asman briefly previewed 2 new political ads, one from the Bush campaign about Kerry & a "global test" & the second from the Kerry campaign that, Asman said, used "the L word" [comment: I was honestly stumped, trying to figure out how the Showtime program could be used in a campaign ad, but the dreaded word turned out to be "lying"]. He then interviewed Leslie Marshall (radio talk show host) & Chris Horner (GOP atty). Marshall started off being pleasant & attempting to be even-handed, but Horner was an attack dog. Asman made no attempt to control the interactions, in fact egging Horner on. Marshall finally got a little angry, but was apparently not pleased at the turn of events. [comment: another ambush -- I'm surprised anyone still agrees to be "interviewed" by Asman]

At 11:42am (EDT), as they were going to an ad break, one of the teasers was for an upcoming segment on the TV show "Scare Tactics", which will now be hosted by Steve Baldwin [comment: gee, I wonder if his support of Bush has anything to do with FNL giving air time to a show on a rival network?]