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Terror, Terror, Terror (Part 4)

Reported by Nancy - December 10, 2004 -

This morning (12/10) on FNL, the general tone was "be afraid, be very afraid". Irony is dead at FNL, because in the midst of endless reports about deaths, disasters & missing children (as well as the obligatory nods to porn/sleaze), Brigitte Quinn wrapped up this week's series "Are We Safe?"

At 11:22am (all times ET), Quinn interviewed Marc Ginsberg (former US Ambassador to Morocco & FNL regular) & Eric Margolis (author of "War at the Top of the World"). The first topic was "why haven't we seen any suicide bombers here?" & Quinn asked Ginsberg whether, as per the NYMag article, suicide bombers are "seduced" from their mission by living in the US. Ginsberg said he didn't "agree with the thesis of the article"; the "Arab mind" hasn't changed, they're "prepared to sacrifice" & "I don't buy assimilation". Quinn noted that the article says they can't achieve complete isolation which is a prerequisite. Margolis said that "assimilation isn't the right question", it's a "tiny fraction of the Muslim community" who might be suicide attackers, they "don't represent" US Muslims, who are not the problem, the problem is "coming from abroad." Quinn then moved on to the final claim from the article, that Osama bin Laden "isn't a terrorist, he's a murderer." Ginsberg said OBL "wants to kill as many Americans as possible". Margolis pointed out that OBL's priority is "driving the US out of Midddle East", that his strategic objective is "punishing the US" & that "branding & dismissing him as a criminal or maniac underestimates the threat". Margolis further said that there's a "growing international insurrection", calling them "Che Guevara in turbans".

COMMENT (about this whole series): As with the 3 previous segments in this series, FNL allotted only 5 minutes for this "discussion" -- hardly time to scratch the surface with a few soundbites, much less explore any of the issues in any depth. Quinn missed a golden opportunity, because many of the guests for these segments (e.g., Margolis today, David Leavy & Philip Smucker earlier in the week) brought a wealth of knowledge & expertise that could have taken the discussion & analysis far beyond the narrow confines of the article in New York Magazine (which in fact focused on New York City, not on the country as a whole). Only guests like Christopher Hitchens (who ran his mouth incessantly, talking over other interviewees) managed to get in more than a few sentences. In the end, Quinn offered no summary pr conclusion or over-arching theory, & it was hard to tell whether FNL wanted viewers to think they're "safe" or to think they're "unsafe". Probably both. "Safe" because the Bush administration has (according to FNL) done such a swell job in the WOT. "Unsafe" because the daily context of FNL is one long terror-fest (see below), with the underlying implication that random violence, death & destruction are just waiting for you around the next corner.

Meanwhile, in its usual scattershot fashion, FNL "covered" the following:
11:00am - middle of report about Scott Peterson
11:02 - nightclub shooting in Columbus (play tape of 911 call)
11:03 - police have evidence that could "nail" Michael Jackson on child molestation
11:03 - 4yo boy in El Paso school sent to nurse's office by self & wandered onto street
11:03 - 5yo girl (Emily Rimmel) disappeared in Ohio the other day (video)
11:07 - Marine (Waseb Ali Hassoun) charged with desertion, originally reported as abducted
11:08 - Marines joining relief efforts in the Philippines >1500 dead/missing following typhoons
11:09 - pouring rain in NYC, weather (flooding, melting snow, rain/snow, rain, cooler, thunderstorms, sun in CA, no major storms on the horizon)
11:14 - teasers included Hassoun, Jackson's fingerprints found on a porn mag, Rimmel
11:14 - Scott Peterson
11:30 - ALERT - Scott Peterson
11:35 - Rick Folbaum joins Quinn, & intros another Peterson segment
11:38 - convincted killer "might get away with murder" (OH Supreme Court overturned conviction on a "technicality")
11:40 - teasers included Peterson, 18-wheeler saved a pilot from crashing to the ground
11:43 - counting carbs on cell phones
11:44 - health officials warn re falling while stringing lights
11:44 - sex shops (Lion's Den, or "Wal-Mart of porn") controversy about "adult" superstores
11:46 - teasers included Peterson, convicted killer's case overturned on a "technicality", "divine intervention" & hit-&-run driver
11:50 - plane landed on truck
11:50 - tragedy on construction site in IL, worker killed
11:51 - Scott Peterson ("getting the vibration" that this will be resolved today & Folbaum bashed CA juries [comment: he seemed to be disappointed that CA is not up to the TX gold standard of executon rates])
11:55 - teasers included Peterson, "little girl snatched from her bed in the middle of the night"
11:58 - Scott Peterson, little girl vanishes & there's a "frantic search", murder victims' families feeling like victims again because of a "technicality", "wicked weather", hi tech gift ideas
11:59 - Scott Peterson
12:01pm - Emily Rimmel
12:04 - OH nightclub shooting (with another replay of the 911 tape)
12:05 - Bush names new cabinet nominee
12:05 - Marine (Hassoun) charged with desertion
12:07 - major snowstorm "pounding" CO (with video), flooding in TN, forecast (see above)
12:09 - teasers for Peterson, independent panel set to release findings re "Memogate"
12:12 - teasers for Peterson, slump in stock prices, UA jet lands in Vietnam
12:13 - Scott Peterson
12:18 - teasers for Peterson, ID man vanishes, town in NC "not amused" by strip club
12:21 - independent panel to release findings re "Memogate" - "what kind of fallout can we expect?"
12:26 - teasers for Peterson, plane landing on truck
12:30 - headlines included UA jet landing in Vietnam; 2 soldiers & 1 Marine die in Iraq; bombs in Bakuba & Tikrit; 7yo Palestinian girl dies from gunfire from Israeli soldiers; NHL lockout thaw; devil-burning in Guatemala
12:31 - Scott Peterson
12:34 - missing ID man, family asks for help via website
12:39 - an OH man "could get away with murder" but OH Supreme Court overturned conviction on a "technicality"
12:41 - teasers for Peterson, strip club wants to "do something nice for kids" for the holidays but town in NC says no, why did some police officers shave their heads
12:44 - strip club in NC collects toys for needy children
12:47 - teasers for Peterson, soldier who questioned Rumsfeld may not have been "spontaneous", hi tech gadgets
12:50 - hi tech gadgets
12:55 - somebody in Minneapolis left a $14,000 in a Salvation Army kettle
12:55 - UT cops shave heads to support a colleague who had surgery (with pix)
12:56 - teasers for Peterson, railroad car with fireworks catches on fire (with "explosive video")
12:59 - video du jour - surfing in HI ("how dangerous" is this?), railroad car with fireworks

[comment: note the emphasis on how unsafe we all really are, followed closely by the gratuitous attention paid to porn, strip clubs & adult stores]