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News You Can't Use

Reported by Nancy - October 25, 2004 -

As usual, on FNL this morning (10/25), what they didn't tell you is far more interesting & useful than what they did.

In the useless trivia category (a perennial fave with FNL), there were blurbs about pugs in Omaha parading in Halloween constumes & a 4-minute segment for Emeril to promote his newest cookbook. Interesting choices for a program that bills itself as a "hard news" show.

In the sleazy shock-&-awe category, there were blurbs about earthquakes in Japan (video of collapsed buildings & crushed cars) & a typhoon in Taiwan (video of floods & pouring rain). Typical choices for a "hard news" program that rarely mentions another country unless there's some natural disaster.

In the political spin category, there was the usual bloviating about polls -- e.g., Brigitte Quinn interviewed "pollsters" Mark Penn & Tony Fabrizio. There was a particularly biased segment with Quinn interviewing Eric Dezenhall (a FNL fave) & Peter Mirijanian, allegedly about whether style or substance is more important in this election. Quinn's questions & comments were all about style, with emphasis on Kerry hunting in camouflage when he usually wears "immaculate" suits & how that contrasts with Bush, who is comfortable with his "sleeves rolled up". One of the banners during this segment gratuitously noted that Kerry's grandparents were Jewish. There was no banner noting that Bush's grandfather. Prescott Bush, collaborated with the Nazis prior to & during WWII].

Props to Steve Brown for a decent report on the Kerry campaign, from Philadelphia, in which he both showed on-camera & commented on the huge crowd waiting to see Kerry & Clinton, hours before they're expected to arrive.

Weirdest of all was FNL's insistence on reporting the release of a Vatican handbook on social issues. Of course the only thing mentioned on FNL was the Vatican's anti-abortion stance (with the attendant question of whether US Catholics "can" vote for Kerry).

Even the report on foxnews.com, excerpted below, is more (dare I say it?) fair & balanced:

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican handbook made public Monday questioned preventive war and denounced the "horrendous crime" of abortion, but Vatican officials denied they were trying to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign.

Officials also sidestepped questions on whether the war in Iraq was illegal and whether Roman Catholics can vote for politicians who back laws permitting abortion.

... probably because that's an AP feed. But the European press used an AFP feed, which reported this as

Vatican to remain neutral in US presidential race

VATICAN CITY, Oct 25 (AFP) - The Vatican, to which 65 million American Roman Catholics look for spiritual guidance, said Monday it would take no position on the two candidates in next week's US presidential election.

"The Holy See has never entered into, nor does it intend to, the merits of political choice as far as the American presidential elections are concerned," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

... which is just a tad different than "sidestepping" the question. Well, maybe 2 tads.

Here's some of what FNL won't tell you: the Catholic Church's doctrines on most social issues -- including war & peace, the death penalty, globalization, the free market, health care, the environment & workers' rights -- is diametically opposed to Bush administration policies. In fact the Vatican handbook was extremely critical of "pre-emptive" war in particular. FNL cherrypicks the abortion issue.