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Does Anger Make for Good Ratings?

Reported by Nancy - November 17, 2004 -

Fox News just isn't happy unless they're angry about something, & last night's edition (11/16) of Special Report provided plenty of examples of how they make mountains out of molehills to try to get viewers all revved up.

Right off the bat, as Laurie Dhue read headlines opening the hour, was the first example. Dhue said that Palestinian leaders had asked for Arafat's medical records to be released, but French hospital officials said that decision was up to Arafat's wife, Suha. Straightforward enough. But Fox chose to banner this story as "RECORDS FLAP" [comment: what "flap"?] Within a minute, another example: Dhue read about US "efforts" re Sudan [comment: I put "efforts" in quotes because any "efforts" the US has made re the ongoing genocide in Sudan are lame & half-hearted at best]. Fox bannered this as "PUSHING PEACE."

At 6:02pm (ET), Jim Angle filed a report on Bush's nomination of Condoleeza Rice to replace Colin Powell as Secy of State. This was hagiography, not reporting. Included were plenty of clips of Bush & Rice (both speaking & just walking around). Lest viewers forget to be angry, Angle noted that "some Dems" complain that Rice is not independent, & "one Dem Senator" (unnamed) warned that she faces "rough" confirmation hearings [comment: no video of anyone actually saying anything like that, of course; no video of any Dem at all].

At 6:05pm (ET), Greg Kelly reported about several recent events in Iraq. The UK has received from Al-Jazeera (which Kelly called a "somewhat reliable" source) a video of Margaret Hassan's execution The US military has declared Fallujah "secure". Clip of Gen George Casey with usual blah-blah, then Kelly noted that Fallujah was a "dilapidated" city before the current battle began [comment: but not as "dilapidated" as it is now that we've bombed the crap out of it for weeks while the insurgents set off thousands of IEDs]. The Marine who executed a wounded Iraqi might have been justified. There's fighting in Mosul. Clip of Gen John Abizaid as a teaser for upcoming "exclusive" interview with him.

At 6:11pm (ET), Brian Wilson filed a report about Sen Arlen Specter, saying that "pro-life Christian activists can't stand the idea" of Specter heading up the Judiciary Committee [comment: a not-so-subtle reminder to viewers that they should be angry about this, too; & Wilson didn't mention what other, more rational groups of people might be thinking]. No real content here, just lots of video of various & sundry Senators walking around.

At 6:14pm (ET), Major Garrett reported that "shell-shocked" Senate Dems have chosen Harry Reid (D-NV) to replace Tom Daschle (D-ND) who, according to Garrett, was a "symbol of Dem obstruction" [comment: gee, I wonder if Garrett would call Frist a "symbol of GOP steamrolling"]. Video clips of statements from Reid, from Bill Clinton [comment: who is rapidly becoming Fox's fave DINO], & from Olga Vives (NOW). Hume, never content to let a simple story stand, asked if there would be conflict between Reid & Kerry. Garrett said probably not.

At 6:20pm (ET), Bret Baier's long (nearly 10 mins) interview with Gen Abizaid was aired. The interview was about what you'd expect. When Baier tried to ask about whether elections can be held in Iraq as scheduled, Abizaid neatly sidestepped by saying that's a political decision, not a military one. He did, however, make two astounding claims: 1) that only 4 of Iraq's 18 provinces are not "stable" [comment: this just defies common sense for anyone with a map of Iraq; for an excellent map of where the violence was in Sept 04, see Juan Cole's website, & note that attacks are up by 200% since then & violence has now spread to areas like Mosul that were previously "quiet"]; & 2) that in Iraq the US is fighting the people who "brought us 9/11" & "killed 3000 in 3 hrs" [comment: in case you were wondering why so many US citizens still believe that Iraq was connected to 9/11].

NOTE: I'm including this post in the "Bush Administration Lies" category specifically because of those two Abizaid statements.

At 6:31pm (ET), Hume did his usual rapid-fire bashing; this time, it was Chirac, psychologists in South Florida (done with a smirk & a particularly sarcastic tone, even for Hume), Nader, McAuliffe, & Kerry.

At 6:34pm (ET), Eric Shawn filed yet another overblown report on the alleged Oil-for-Food "scandal", again bashing the UN ("says no to cooperation" with a Senate investigation), Kofi Annan ("withholding documents), France, Russia & China (allegedly "bribed" by Iraq). Shawn still hasn't mentioned Chevron or any of the other US-based companies who profited handsomely from the UN program. Hume again couldn't leave well enough alone, & asked Shawn whether Benon Savan (head of the Oil-for-Food program) was likely to testify to the Senate. Shawn said no.

General comment: sorry folks, I couldn't bear to watch the usual panel of the usual suspects at the end of the show. I'm sure I didn't miss anything important by skipping that gossip-fest.