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A Tidal Wave of Bush

Reported by Nancy - December 29, 2004 -

This morning (12/29), FNL continued its coverage of the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated SE Asia. Although the angle today was hyping the threat of "what if it happens here", they *somehow* managed to mention George W Bush in 4 separate segments (some repeated), 7 clips (some repeated) & at least 5 teasers (many repeated). However, with David Asman on vacation, at least viewers are spared the daily "Asman Observer", for which I am humbly grateful.

At 10:58am (all times ET) Patti Ann Brown read the "tops": tsunami, Pacific storm & mudslides, Iraq elections, then commented on >70,000 dead, ICRC fears double that, & Bush (Teaser#1) promises more help.

At 10:59am, Jennifer Griffin reported from Thailand. She was at a "former city hall" that is "now a refugee camp" where people are "searching through piles of clothes" for anything to wear. She said that "9/11-style bulletin boards are cropping up", with a "large number of children missing (highlighting one poster from a Japanese father) & posters of corpses but because of "bloating & decomposition" it's very hard to identify anyone. Griffin said that "funeral pyres" are already "burning behind temples." She said the smell is so bad that her "camerman had to stick a vapor inhaler in his nose so he could stand it long enough" to film. Brown commented "So much drama" & asked "What is the most compelling" thing you've seen? Griffin said it was very hard to watch a "couple from Sweden" who arrived & "began searching for 11 family members" who are missing [comment: Griffin has improved greatly since yesterday, when she was either unable or unwilling to cope with the carnage; she did a good job today].

At 11:02am, Mike Emanuel reported from Crawford about what Bush (Segment#1) is doing in response. He said that "Bush calls it 'one of the major natural disasters in history' " & is forming a regional core group to coordinate international relief efforts (clip of Bush [Clip#1]). Emanuel noted the $35M "initial offering" from the US & said that a "Marine Expeditionary Unit" is being sent to help. He said that a "UN official" accused Western nations of being stingy, & showed a clip of Bush (C#2) to rebut that, adding that Bush also said the "US is very kind & generous nation". Brown asked whether the US has a "contingency plan" & Emanuel said that question came up & Bush says he's asking people in govt & the end result may be a "worldwide tsunami warning system."

At 11:05am FNL did a series of short blurbs about the aftermath: reaction from US couple who found the Swedish baby; IL family back home; NH family all fine; German tourists return home & tell of their experiences; hundreds of US & >3000 Euro tourists still missing; Pope John Paul II encourages everyone to help.

At 11:09am, Brown announced that Jerry Orbach (who played Lenny Brisco on "Law & Order") died of prostate cancer at age 69. At 11:12pm, this joined the other "tops": 70,000+ dead in SE Asia & disease could kill as many, top CIA official resigns. At 11:17am, Brown read teasers: world responding to help SE Asia, how Iraq is trying to rebuild, record-breaking rain in CA. At 11:20am, Brown commented on flash flood warnings in CA, serious ocean waves make it dangerous for surfers, ski resorts get snow, "wall of mud & rocks" closed a road -- leading to Janice Dean delivering the weather report. At 11:24am Brown showed the video of the day: a deer rescued from ice-covered lake in MN -- then repeated the "tops": SE Asia, Bush (T#2) in gear, reconstruction in Iraq, teens on the run in SE US charged with murdering a classmate. At 11:28am, Lauren Green read headlines: coalition to coordinate relief efforts in SE Asia, Bush (T#3) promised multifaceted response, continued shakeups at CIA, jury selection in Michael Jackson case, Orbach dies

At 11:29am, Bob Sellers joined Brown, noting that "now Bush is speaking out" about the tsunami to lead into a report from Kelly Wright, who said that Bush (S#2) spoke with the leaders of India, Thailand & Sri Lanka; showed a clip of Bush (C#3); noted that US *immediately* pledged aid, so far totalling $35M, & that's "likely to rise." Wright also said that Thailand is "gaining some control", & is using $1B of its "own money", that the US was "first to call & offer help" (clip of Thai Ambassador saying thanks). He read a short list of some of the help offered by other countries -- Japan, UK, Austalia, China, France, Saudi Arabia -- & suggested that viewers go to foxnews.com for a list of NGOs involved in the relief effort, to choose "where to send your money."

At 11:36am there was an ALERT for a story about the "emotional reunion" of father & son [comment: this is the 2-year-old Swedish boy, Bergstrom, who is so photogenic]. Brown stumbled a lot on this one & repeated herself, but the basic info is that his uncle lives in Thailand & was able to reunite grandmother & father with the boy, but his mother & grandfather are still missing.

At 11:41am, Sellers read the "tops": >70,000 dead, internationall coalition helping, boobytrapped house in Baghdad, Orbach died. At 11:56am, Sellers read teasers: Thailand, what US is doing, Bush speaks (T#4)

Sellers led off the noon hour with the "tops": >70,000 dead, toll may go to >100,000; what if one hit here; terrorists in Iraq desperate to stop elections, "will freedom prevail?"; & Orbach died.

At 12:01pm Griffin reported that the Maldives may never recover, some islands are now uninhabitable. She showed "amateur home video" taken by "a Dutch tourist" of waves hitting land. She then essentially repeated her earlier report, adding that there are now reports of looting & people "masquerading as police & rescue workers."

At 12:03pm, Mike Emanuel essentially repeated his earlier report (S#3), complete with 2 clips of Bush (C#4 & C#5).

At 12:05pm, Greg Kelly reported from the Pentagon re US military helping out in Thailand & Sri Lanka.

At 12:06pm, saying that "some countries now admit" they failed to issue timely broad public warnings & wondering "what if something like that happened in the Atlantic?", Sellers interviewed John Pike (of Globalsecurity.com). Pike said it's "not question of if but when." Sellers noted that in the NW they issue warnings, why not send warnings worldwide. Pike said that was a "good question", we had a "big wakeup call with the Hilo tsunami 50 years ago, this will be wakeup call for other oceans"; he added that there was some concern about false alarms & the "cry-wolf syndrome", but said that investing a "few million dollars" can avoid that. Sellers wondered whether satellite imagery could help, but Pike said no, they're "not always overhead", we "need ocean sensors" to do the job right.

At 12:21pm, teasers included: tsunami death toll; Bush response (T#5); Orbach died.

At 12:38pm, Sellers repeated that the US has given $35M to disaster relief & reminded viewers that a "UN relief coordinator called the US stingy". Kelly Wright then essentially repeated his earlier report (S#4), complete with the same clips of Bush (C#6 & C#7) & a list of what some other countries are giving.

At 12:39pm, Sellers cited US vulnerability to natural disasters, noting that "geologists say there's a 5% chance" the US will be hit in the next decade; & commented on flooding in southern CA, leading into Janice Dean's weather report.