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Bullies Rule at FNL

Reported by Nancy - November 16, 2004 -

FNL this morning (11/16) toned down the CIA-bashing -- but only a little. Between that, & gloating over Fallujah, & "awaiting" a Bush press statement scheduled for 12:30pm (ET) today, there was little room for the "hard news" they claim to do.

There was some repetition of old news about Bush cabinet resignations & appointments, including a report from James Rosen that Condoleeza Rice [comment: note that all Fox staff are now referring to her as "Dr" Rice -- she does have a degree that entitles her to be called that, but so does "Dr" Laura, & so do a lot of people Fox isn't nearly so respectful towards] will be nominated as Secy of State, & her deputy, Stephen Hadley, will become National Security Advisor.

At 12:01pm (ET), to throw some testosterone into the mix, Greg Palkot reported on the fighting in Fallujah, via his usual green night scope. There was plenty of the usual video (soldiers running around, shots being fired, things getting blown up) & a clip of Capt Brian Chontash describing his unit's fight yesterday. Palkot said that US forces are dealing with the "pesky" south side of Fallujah, insurgents were "duking it out" with Marines, & "diehards" are "not giving up".

Following Palkot's report, at 12:03pm (ET), David Piper reported from Baghdad on the fighting elsewhere in Iraq, especially Mosul. Piper noted that troops were "diverted" from Fallujah to contain the violence in Mosul [comment: but no one mentioned that Mosul is the capital of the Kurdish autonomous section, which had been essentially self-governing since Gulf War I & which had been peaceful until we arrived]. Piper included a clip of Iraqi Interior Minister Al-Najib (basically saying everything is under control) & noted that oil installations have also been attacked. Following that, David Asman interviewed Col (ret) Gerald York. Asman was positively giddy about Colonel York being the grandson of Sergeant York [comment: which may account for the inanity of most of his questions]. Asman asked if we've learned stuff from Fallujah, York said yes. Asman characterized the Iraqi insurgents as "dead-enders" & asked whether we can learn anything from prisoners [comment: was he indirectly questioning why we bother to take prisoners instead of just killing 'em all?]. York said yes, that kind of info can be very helpful. Asman showed a map highlighting how Mosul is near the intersection of Iraq, Turkey & Syria, & asked whether fighters could come across the border from Syria [comment: note that he didn'[t ask whether they could come from Turkey]. York agreed, & pointed out that Iraq has long borders everywhere that are hard to secure. Asman asked how the enemy communicates, York said they use traditional means as well as computers & cell phones. Asman started to ask if that didn't mean they'd need a local ISP, realized how silly that sounded, & tacked on a phrase about "are they mobile?" York said that taking away Fallujah removed one of their bases of operation. Asman jumped on that, asking if "naysayers" don't take into account how important it is to disrupt an enemy's base, & York agreed [comment: take that, naysayers!]. During this whole interview, FNL alternated between video clips of a few cars driving around deserted streets (Mosul?) & of things blowing up in the distance, & showing York & Asman on-screen.

At 12:13pm (ET), Asman interviewed Michael Hirsh (Newsweek) & Paul Burka (Texas Monthly) about Bush cabinet resigs & appts. Asman got in some CIA-bashing along the way. He noted that there have been "2 worldviews" in the Bush admin (Powell/State vs Rumsfeld/Pentagon) & asked whether appointing Rice to State would make for a more unified policy. Hirsh agreed, so Asman then said he thought CIA & Pentagon should be natural allies rather than CIA & State. Hirsh pointed out that they've got a common link now, because leakers are being "purged". Asman noted that Bush values loyalty, & Burka agreed, saying that's shown in the pattern of recent nominees (Goss, Rice, Gonzalez). They chatted for a minute about Gonzalez' history with Bush in TX, then Asman asked whether the new appts mean everyone will be in "lockstep" with "no dissent" [comment: he seems to feel this would be a GOOD thing]. Hirsh agreed there would be less "public dissension". Burka noted that "careerists" will still be "leaking".

At 12:21pm (ET), Asman interviewed Ellis Henican (Newsday) & Paul McGuire (radio talk show host) about new international rules the Transportation Security Admin wants to impose. Henican was vehemently opposed, & ridiculed TSA "lists" & other measures as ineffective. McGuire is in favor of more regulations [comment: does no right-wing radical see the inconsistency in his or her positions?] & trotted out the usual excuses (it's a small price to pay for safety, we're glad to be inconvenienced). Asman got folksy & offered the example of his wife, who is "Hispanic" but could "pass" as Arab & who gets stopped at airports all the time but they "don't mind". When Asman mentioned Richard Reed (the shoe bomber), Henican tried to point out that the TSA didn't prevent Reed from getting on a plane & the TSA didn't stop him from using his bomb (a stewardess & passengers did). McGuire tried to use this as an argument for more lists. Asman & McGuire interrupted & talked over Henican constantly.