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Guest Interrupted

Reported by Ellen - October 13, 2004 -

Last night, Glenn W. Smith, author of "Unfit Commander: Texans for Truth Take on George W. Bush" was a guest during the first hour of Fox News live with Alan Colmes. In typical Fox-fashion, this critical-of-Bush author was paired with a pro-Bush author, Byron York, White House correspondent for National Review. For some reason, Mr. Smith did not have much of an opportunity to discuss his findings.

Several times, Smith was interrupted by Colmes who then gave York more time to respond. I actually taped the segments then timed them with a stop-watch.

For example: After Smith claimed that Bush had been deceptive about his military record, Colmes asked, "What deception?" Smith had 26 seconds to answer (which he used mostly to talk about questions about Bush's Alabama record) before Colmes interrupted and asked York for a response. He spoke for one minute.

Later, Colmes asked for specifics from Glenn about how Bush secured his acceptance into the National Guard despite a long waiting list. Glenn answered for 34 seconds that Governor Ben Barnes said he had done it for Bush and that this was common at the time. Colmes then asked York, "The issue is he (Bush) said no strings were pulled. Byron York, has he got a credibility problem there?" York got one minute to say that Bush may not have known strings were pulled on his behalf and that it's not a big issue for people (though the "big issue" part was not what Colmes asked).

Lastly, Colmes asked about Bush's missing his physical exam during that time. Smith answered for 20 seconds (and uninterrupted) that, in essence, it looked fishy but he had no proof of anything. York then took the opportunity to speak for one minute and 37 seconds about the "larger phenomenon" that Smith's book was not really about Bush's service record but about the Texans for Truth's gripe with Bush, in general (using the tried and true Sean Hannity tactic of changing the topic when the issue gets too sticky). Oddly, Colmes, himself, argued the point against York rather than have Smith answer. Then, when York began to say he's glad Smith's book reprints all the documents related to Bush's service records, Colmes interrupted him to say it was time for a break.

That was the end of the conversation about Bush and his military record. After the break, the topic switched to the latest controversy with Sinclair Broadcasting, a subject seemingly outside the scope of Mr. Smith's book.

Comment: FOX seems to have an aversion to discussing Bush's military service while nonetheless always willing to air a discussion about Kerry's.