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FNL Can't Quit Canada-Bashing

Reported by Nancy - November 30, 2004 -

FNL this morning (11/30) was all about Bush's visit to Canada & thus was slightly schizoid. Fox, of course, has been busy for quite a while bashing all things & all people Canadian. Unfortunately for Fox, Bush has now seemingly decided to "mend fences" & Fox is torn between keeping up the Canada-bashing & falling into line with official govt policy. Which will serve them better now that Fox will soon be available in Canada?

Most of the guests were conciliatory & reasonable ("honest disagreements" about policy, it "takes two to tango"), but FNL staff kept using phrases harking back to the Canada-bashing ("bad eggs", "chilly neighbors", "bad blood", "harboring deserters"). Opening the 11:00am (ET) hour, FNL was waiting for Bush to arrive in Ottawa. While waiting, they delivered some typical whiplash mini-blurbs: A plane crashed in Indonesia. NE Patriots cheerleaders will be entertaining the troops. Etc. At 11:13am (ET), FNL was still waiting for Bush to arrive in Canada. At 11:23am (ET), in the middle of Quinn interviewing Marc Ginsberg (former US Ambassador to Morocco & FNL regular) about the recent Zawahiri tape, FNL interrupted to show video of Bush & Martin arriving & both Quinn & Ginsberg neatly segued into discussing that.

At 11:29am (ET) it was back to the usual FNL fare: Scott Peterson. Kiran Chetry read "headlines" (economy, Bush, Peterson, basketbrawl, Santa training school), then David Asman joined the program & introduced a "report" from Jonathan Hunt about the alleged Oil-for-Food "scandal", saying that a "former French minister" has warned US investigators to "watch your backs". Hunt took it from there, saying that the "frightening warning" came from Eva Jolie, a former French govt investigator whose investigations had implicated Jacques Chirac & Charles Pascua & "as a result" her life was threatened, house broken into, telephone tapped. Hunt showed portions of a interview with Jolie, where he asked whether it was "reasonable to assume" those politicians may have been involved in the threats to Jolie, insinuated that they're "implicated once again in corruption", noted that there have been "several investigations" about Chirac (but failing to mention that none of those investigations resulted in any charges). To Hunt's most inane question ("how would you feel if one of these politicians" were found to be guilty) Jolie responded "no comment". Asman enthusiastically endorsed Hunt's "report" as a "great series" [comment: I'd call it more of his typical "rabid rant"], & plugged its continuation on Fox.

At 11:39am (ET) it was back to the usual FNL fare: Bush in Canada, SpongeBob SquarePants "kidnapped", bombs in Iraq, Scott Peterson, Patriots cheerleaders, Bush in Canada, Indonesian plane crash, Fallujah, cheerleaders, should Kofi Annan be forced out of the UN, husband swapping, Bush in Canada, Scott Peterson. Etc.

At 12:05pm (ET), Asman introduced & Eric Shawn reported on Kofi Annan's "involvement" in the Oil-for-Food "scandal". According to them, Annan said his son Kojo Annan worked for Cotecna in Nigeria but payments stopped when UN gave the Iraq Oil-for-Food contract to Cotecna, but now it turns out that Kojo continued to be paid after that. Asman asked whether Kofi Annan is "lying", Shawn gave a convoluted & disjointed explanation of how the UN works (buried in there was an aside noting that Cotecna has had many UN contracts both before & after the Oil-for-Food contract) & Asman plugged Hunt's ongoing series again [comment: still no mention of the fact that US companies & individuals were also involved in the Oil-for-Food program & are being investigated as well].

Then it was back to the usual FNL fare (see above).

General comment: Missing, as usual, was real reporting on "hard news" -- no health or science story (it will be interesting to see how they handle World AIDS Day tomorrow), no mention of North Korea or Sudan (notice how Darfur is now completely off the radar), & certainly no mention of the newly released International Red Cross report that accuses the US of deliberately abusing prisoners at Gitmo. Nope, FNL is too busy interviewing "cheerleaders" (both the real & the political kind).

CORRECTION, 12/2/04: I misspelled the name of the woman interviewed by Jonathan Hunt. Her name is Eva Joly (not "Jolie" as I originally typed).