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Holbrooke Hits Back at Scott

Reported by Judy - October 4, 2004 -

John Kerry's foreign policy advisor Richard Holbrooke today (Oct. 4) refused to take any of Jon Scott's sneaky questioning techniques and called him out on the network's claim to be fair and balanced. It has to be one of the best performance by a Democrat I've ever seen on Fox News.

Holbrooke appeared with Tucker Eskew, a Bush campaign advisor on Fox News Live. Scott likes to ask Democrats questions that require them to say no, and he did the same thing with Holbrooke. But Holbrooke was ready for him.

Scott said that, "When it comes to North Korea, the senator was critical over the advances that North Korea has made in its nuclear capabilities during the Bush administration, but wasn't a lot of that progress made on the Clinton watch?"

Holbrooke replied that the Bush administration's own intelligence was that North Korea had one nuclear bomb when Clinton left office and has six or seven today. Holbrooke referred to John Kerry's statement in the debate about having bi-lateral talks with North Korea to halt their nuke program.

Scott jumped on that, saying, "But in the debate, he didn't say in addition to these multilateral talks." Making a statement rather than asking a question is another Scott interview tool.

Holbrooke replied that, "Jon in these debates, there's a lot of compression, but if you look at his statements on this he's been clear-cut."

Scott came at it again as if Holbrooke had not said anything, adding, "because his sugestion seemed to say the six-way talks aren't working."

Holbrooke said they aren't working and that half of Bush's administration actually favors Kerry's approach. Scott tried to push the bi-lateral button again: "But when it comes to Iraq, Senator Kerry criticizes the administration for not getting more nations involved. When it comes to North Korea, he says go bi-lateral, work with them one on one."

Again, Holbrooke corrected Scott: "He (Kerry) didn't say that. He said add a bilateral part to the six power talks."

And then came the Holbrooke zinger, "Now look, (if) you're going to be fair and balanced, let's reflect the real position of John Kerry. I just said it. He said it. This is a very clear cut position."

Scott wouldn't give up: "I'm trying to re-state, to state it the way it came off in the debate."

Holbrooke quickly parried, "You're stating it the way the way the Bush administration is misstating it. What John Kerry said is available on his website."

At that, Scott turned tail and ran. "Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, it's good to have you on."

Holbrooke had a couple things going for him. One, he was sitting in the studio in front of Jon Scott, invading his turf so to speak. Two, he obviously knew his subject inside and out while Scott was working off a talking point that the Bush administration wants to push.

But Holbrooke also seemed well prepared, not just for any interview, but for the way Fox News treats Democratic guests. He did not miss a beat when it came to the "fair and balanced" challenge he threw down to Scott. Holbrooke also was calm and polite. He didn't need to raise his voice or use outrageous language.

If every Democrat who comes on Fox News performed the way Holbrooke did, Fox News would be forced to live up to its fair and balanced claim.