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Damage Plan = Damage Control for FNL

Reported by Nancy - December 9, 2004 -

"If it bleeds, it leads" -- remember that old saw? Well, FNL expanded that this morning (12/9) to: "If it bleeds, it leads, & follows, & follows, & follows, & ..." with endless bloviating about the nightclub shooting in Columbus, OH, during a concert by heavy metal band "Damage Plan". FNL dragged in lots of stories as long as they had violence (preferably with video to titillate viewers). Not so coincidentally, this allowed FNL to ignore new prisoner torture/abuse stories being covered by other major news media.

When I tuned in at 11:00am (all times ET), they were in the middle of a live statement by a spokesperson for the Columbus police dept about the incident, involving heavy metal band Damage Plan (complete with video of the band, unclear to me whether this was from last night's concert or from one of their music videos). He later took questions, & was both well-spoken & refreshingly candid (e.g., willing to say "we don't know"). FNL stayed with this until it ended at 11:11am. Quinn followed with a 1-min telephone interview with Steph Elias, who had been in the nightclub during the incident (Elias contributed nothing, merely saying it was chaos before & after). Following an ad break, at 11:15am Quinn repeated some info about the Columbus incident, switched to the recent "basketbrawl" incident (complete with video), then interviewed Sen Jim Bunning (R-KY & former major league pitcher) about violence in sports (complete with videos). In addition to endless teasers about the Columbus story, FNL also did the following:
11:35am - Bill McCuddy gives a history of violence in rock (complete with video)
11:37am - David Asman interviews Joe Levy ("Rolling Stone") about whether there's a connection between modern music & violence
11:39am - brawl in Las Vegas club
11:40am - brutal fight with high school girls in FL (complete with video)
11:42am - ALERT re Columbus incident
11:51am - US govt vs environmentalists (Bush admin plan to swap land for water rights), playing up new differences between Native Americans & environmentalists, with a brief glance at "water wars" & timber & hunting issues
11:53am - wicked weather, storms in Pacific Northwest (video of traffic problems)
11:58am - Asman intro'd yet another segment on the Columbus incident, calling it a "crazy outburst", showed a clip of the police statement, then segued into a blurb about the hero police officer who killed the gunman. Asman then interviewed (by phone) Justin Caudill, another person who was at the concert. Caudill described the "chaos", said he "got blood all over" himself, & was obviously clearly upset. Asman pressed him further, but Caudill said he shouldn't discuss details of what he said to police investigators.
12:06pm - missing girl in OH
12:07pm - missing woman & her granddaughter in NC
12:07pm - Mike Tyson arrested after jumping on car hood in AZ last month
12:08pm - fight between high school girls in FL (complete with video, again)
12:31pm - landing gear failure on cargo plane in Atlanta
12:33pm - ALERT - 2 incendiary devices found at a school in GA
12:34pm - ALERT - "real life horror" about Columbus nightclub shooting
12:35pm - Asman phone interview with Ted Nugent (from Crawford, TX) about the Columbus incident; Nugent wants us not to blame "the tool" (i.e., the gun). He said he knows there are "demons" out there but he doesn't allow it to compromise the "flow" of his music. Asman & Nugent then speculated about the shooter's probable criminal history, with Asman calling him a "lone nut". Nugent said he doesn't want to live in a police state, but we've got to identify "dangerous, demonic people", "put them in a cage & leave them there", then went on a rant about drugs.
12:39pm - McCuddy repeats history of violent incidents in rock-&-roll (complete with video)
12:46pm - hiker injured, safely evacuated by copter
12:47pm - Asman interviews (by phone) Greg Smith (Kingston public safety dept) re missing NC woman & granddaughter

There were also *multiple* segments about Scott Peterson, as always, with FNL & its commentators salivating about the death penalty.

Quinn did the next segment of FNL's "Are We Safe?" series at 11:23am, interviewing William Gavin (former FBI director), Greg Esslinger (former FBI agent) & Frank Keating (GOP, former Gov of NB). The 2 "reasons" addressed today were "are homegrown terrorists incompetent" & we're doing better at trying to "think like the terrorists". Quinn said the Patriot Act has been credited with the "successful" prosecution of the Lackawanna 6, & Gavin enthusiastically supported turning the US into a police state. Keating expanded on that, invoking "Fortress America" as a model he thinks we should pursue, even ignoring Quinn's question about Timothy McVeigh. Esslinger, who had the most intelligent commentary to contribute, got the least air time. Today's segment was 5 mins (FNL had to re-re-re-report about the incident in Columbus).

ADDENDUM - 12/10/04: It has been brought to my attention that I mis-identified Keating as the former Gov of NB. He is, of course, the former Gov of OK (which is why the question about McVeigh was so appropriate). I apologize for the error.