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Advancing the Right-Wing Agenda

Reported by Nancy - December 3, 2004 -

This morning (12/3), FNL was -- again -- a perfect example of a program that would exacerbate the condition of anyone with ADD. Blurbs, alerts & teasers were all over the map & repeated ad nauseam, with no rhyme or reason, no pattern, no coherence. The only segments that came close to approaching "hard news" were ... well, none of the segments did, actually. But some of the segments did advance the right-wing agenda.

At 11:00am (all times ET) Mike Emanuel at the White House reported that Kerik is nominated to replace Ridge, with clip of Bush announcing the nomination. At 11:01am David Piper reported on Iraq -- bloody day in Baghdad, bombs, "anti-coalition" forces making trouble, firefight in Mosul, ambush near Bakuba, attack in Basra, roadside bomb in Kirkuk, Ukraine may pull troops. At 11:03am, Brigitte Quinn noted that there's also trouble in Ramadi [comment: so much for all the "happy Iraq" stories].

At 11:03am, Quinn announced that the UN has been "forced to reverse itself" & re-open a sexual harassment case Kofi Annan had declared closed. Segue to Jonathan Hunt from UN HQ, with his usual rabid style & tone ("one more grave embarassment for Kofi Annan in a week when he has done everything to avoid talking to the media" [comment: who wouldn't want to avoid Jonathan Hunt?]. Hunt reminded viewers that Sen Norm Coleman (R-MN) said Annan must go [comment: in case you forgot that Fox has been harping on this for days]. According to Hunt, Annan has been "scurrying out of his garden gate" & "using a private entrance" to avoid Fox cameras [comment: who wouldn't?] but "today we did manage to" find him. As Hunt started to ask some typically inane questions ("Are you considering resigning? Are you worried about the scandals?") [comment: in a superb display of self-restraint, Annan did NOT cram the mike down Hunt's throat] FNL interrupted for ...

an ALERT (11:05am) about a bomb scare at a Los Angeles school. No real info & failed feed from local station, so Quinn read some quick blurbs: 11:06 - BTK serial killer - Wichita police deny arresting anyone in this case, 11:07 - Robert Blake's computer stolen. At 11:07am, Trace Gallagher filed a report about the Scott Peterson case, which was interrupted for ...

an ALERT (11:09am) that the Ukraine Supreme Court canceled results of presidential run-off election. Teasers at 11:11am included Kerik, "meaning of Christmas under attack", "some schools stifling the spiritual side" & a promise that "we'lll have a fair & balanced debate about that".

Following an ad break, at 11:13am Dana Lewis reported via phone from Kiev - there will be a new vote. At 11:15am, following a clip of Bush announcing Kerik's nomination, Quinn interviewed Bill Kristol about Kerik. No news here, just plenty of opinion, all of it from one source (Kristol). Teasers at 11:19am included "should Kofi Annan stay or go?" & drooling about LaFave pix. At 11:22am it was back to the Fremont High School bomb scare -- but not really, because there was nothing new to report except that FNL will be following developments closely.

At 11:23am, following a clip of Arnold Schwarzenegger talking about kids making a list for Santa, Quinn noted that he broke with tradition by referring to Christmas publicly, but it's "a very different story" in Maplewood NJ [comment: FNL has previously reported -- endlessly -- about a school in that town & the new rules for holiday events at that school]. Quinn then interviewed Rob Boston (Americans United for Separation of Church & State) & Eric Stanley (Liberty Counsel). Right at the start, Boston pointed out that no one should "make a federal case out of it", that each community & school responds to local needs & situations. Stanley, predictably, said there's a "continued attack" on religion, & "hostility to religion". Boston noted that society is changing, we have more non-Christians, schools respond to that. He pointed out that "nobody can remove it [Christmas] from your church or home." Stanley then went off on an incoherent ramble, saying the "point Rob is missing is you can't remove Christmas from the public square", "it's not a secular holiday", it "doesn't need to take place in the public square" & incidents like the one in Maplewood are "attempts to secularize the holiday".

COMMENT/NOTE: the website for Liberty Counsel (yes, they spell it that way) claims that they're a legal defense & education group "Restoring The Culture One Case At A Time By Advancing Religious Freedom, The Sanctity Of Human Life And The Traditional Family" (nope, they don't know how to capitalize, either). Here's a news flash that will come as a surprise to no one with a functional brain: the religious freedom they're concerned with is primarily Christian (a search for "Buddhism" returns no results, a search for "Islam" turns up one "issue" where a child did not want to "study" the Koran at school) & the topics listed under "hot issues" are all from a Christian point of view (actually, a radical fundamentalist "Christian" point of view). Gee, if FNL really wanted a "fair & balanced" discussion of whether & how Christmas should be celebrated in public schools, shouldn't they ask some non-Christians to participate?

At 11:27am teasers included Fallujah, LA bomb scare. Following an ad break, at 11:30am Patti Ann Brown read headlines -- Kerik (clip of Bush), attacks in Baghdad, Jayson Williams, Babe Ruth bat auctioned off. At 11:31am - ALERT to repeat info re Ukraine, with video from Kiev & Dana Lewis essentially repeating his earlier report.

At 11:34am, Rick Folbaum joined the program, opening with a statement that European leaders "rally around" Kofi Annan, but Bush urges Annan to take action if he "hopes to retain the integrity" of the UN (clip of Bush). Folbaum then interviewed John O'Sullivan ("The Public Interest") & Ian Williams (The Nation). Folbaum asked whether calls for Annan to resign are "political payback" for his "not supporting war in Iraq". Williams agreed, & pointed out that the alignment (pro-Annan/anti-Annan & anti-war/pro-war) is exactly the same. Folbaum then asked, incredulously, "Shouldn't the captain go down with the ship?" [comment: who says the ship is going down?]. O'Sullivan opined that Annan "will discredit the UN" & make reform impossible, so Folbaum asked "Doesn't the UN need reform?" Williams pointed out that the Oil-for-Food investigation has been overblown, & that "most of it has nothing to do with the UN" but with the US & UK [comment: he won't be invited back soon]. Williams said that Europeans support Annan precisely "because he has qualities of diplomacy & tact needed to carry out reforms". Folbaum was again incredulous, amazed that Williams would consider the Oil-for-Food investigation "not a big deal" [comment: which is not what Williams said] & claiming that money from that program "may now be funding terrorists killing our troops". O'Sullivan agreed, saying it's the "biggest financial & political scandal in world history" (Williams said "no, it isn't" but Folbaum did not let him respond. O'Sullivan then said that the "biggest crisis right now is Ukraine" & that "the UN is virtually invisible there" [comment: this shows either that O'Sullivan doesn't understand how the UN works, or that he chooses to misrepresent the facts].

At 11:38am, Bredna Buttner's economic report was the usual chipper & upbeat message, including a plug for Cavuto's program later today. At 11:41am, Quinn asked if anyone remember Mel Gibson's movie about what women want, as a lead-in for a mention of "new research" that shows what women really want. Sex tops the list of what women think about the most [comment: I guess the repeated refs to LaFave pix weren't enough to titillate Fox fans, so FNL threw this in, completely gratuitously].

At 11:42am, teasers included LaFave new video, Allawi in danger? [comment: someone should count how many of Fox's "teasers" include questions like this that turn out, when finally reported, to be -- ahem -- inaccurate or misleading], lessons of Fallujah [comment: it should be noted that lately every FNL reference to Fallujah has nothing to do with actual news about Fallujah -- they're merely teasers for an upcoming Palkot special]. Following an ad break, at 11:44am there was another ALERT re Fremont HS bomb scare (still with nothing concrete to report).

At 11:45am, Folbaum gushed about how Greg Palkot "followed India Company" into Fallujah & then "interviewed" Palkot, to promote a Breaking Point special to air Sunday night. Again, no news here, but there was, of course, a clip of battle scenes, night vision, explosions, soldiers running around, guns firing, complete with martial music. Palkow's said Fallujah "takes the cake for one of the worst places I've ever been", it's the "toughest urban combat" the US military has seen "since Vietnam", & "now I know what D-Day must have felt like". Folbaum ended the "interview" with another plug for the special.

At 11:48am, there was ALERT - AP reported that HHS Secy Tommy Thompson has resigned.

General comment: The next 45 mins or so were basically the same -- dashes of this, blurbs about that, ALERTs for non-alert topics, graphics for the esthetically impaired, hideous music. I won't bore you with the gory details.