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Fox's Chris Wallace repeats wrong amount for initial pledge

Reported by Chrish - January 3, 2005 -

On January 2's Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace repeated the misinformation that "the initial pledge, which was $35 million, is in fact less money than is going to be spent on president Bush's inauguration, and the current number, $350 million, is still pretty small compared to the 13 billion that Congress allocated for hurricane relief in Florida last fall."

Comment: While I was glad to hear Wallace stating the comparison to the expense of the upcoming parties and the past hurricane disaster relief, I noted the incorrect amount, which has been heard on at least one other show, posted on by Melanie . This continued misstatement on Fox is a classic example of why they are not to be trusted as journalists. To make a simple mistake is human and easily forgiven and forgotten. To deliberately repeat a falsehood over and over, trying to convince viewers it is the truth, is propagandizing.

I can only guess that they want to avoid saying the real original pledge was $400,000, because it looks CHEAP. (01/08/05 Note: In the ensuing debate begun by this post, it is acknowledged that the $400,000 figure is immediate cash given to embassies and has no bearing on the relief "pledge" conversation. ) Even the next pledge of $15 million was stingy - we were being humiliated by our government again. Fox won't let go of Jan Egeland because he (diplomatically) called the administration on it and humiliated them (the Bush league).

Continuing with his conversation with Carl Levin (D) and Richard Lugar (R), Wallace asked if the US is doing enough, and is it even fair to assess this early on?
Levin replied in essence that he had been disappointed that Bush did not come out and speak to the devastation sooner, but that he is proud of our significant contribution via our unique military capability.
When Wallace next addressed Lugar, he said that the Senate, upon reconvening, was expected to suspend regular legislative considerations and get right to the matter of relief.
I was surprised to learn that the promised $350 million was "significant because that is the amount of disaster aid we have in the whole budget. ... The Congress is going to have to work with the president for supplemental appropriations going well beyond that..."
Wallace "Talking about billions of dollars?"
Lugar "Ultimately that could be... A summit conference is going to happen with the Asian leaders there on Thursday, which is a remarkable foreign policy opportunity for the United States....This could be a breakthrough coming out of this tragedy, in which we demonstrate leadership, and that calls for money. And that kind of appropriations've got to be addressed."
The three went on to discuss "soft power", where the US shows the world that we are interested in something other than the war on terror and let the Muslims of the world know that we have a humanitarian side.

Comment: It would be naive to think that large powerful governments such as ours do good because it is the right, moral thing to do; there has to be something in it for them, tangible or otherwise. Such is politics, ugh. This is reminiscent of Bush's infamous, classless remarks about hitting the trifecta after 9/11. With so many dead and millions more devastated it is repugnant that some are looking for ways to make a silk lining. There IS no bright side. I suspect Bush didn't speak to the crisis for several days because he and his advisors were busy figuring out how best to benefit from it.