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Whining Reactionaries

Reported by Nancy - January 4, 2005 -

On Special Report last night (1/3), Brit Hume led the All-Star panel in yet more damage control for the Bush admin's relief efforts for victims of the tsunami. As with all other topics for these reactionaries, "privatization" was the mantra -- but only when they weren't whining about "why don't they appreciate us."

The first few reports were about disaster relief efforts in SE Asia, inlcuding segments from Greg Palkot & Jennifer Griffin that were essentially repeats of reports aired earlier in the day on FNL.

At 6:14pm (all times ET), Bret Baier reported about bombs today in Iraq (increasing sophistication), US military actions & general conditions in the run-up to the planned elections there. He included a clip of WH statement. He added that "All concede that low turnout could undermine legitimacy."

At 6:16pm, Hume reported on Kofi Annan chosing Mark Malloch Brown as new Chief of Staff

At 6:20pm, Hume showed a long clip of GHWBush & BClinton talking to Jim Angle about heading up efforts to coordinate disaster relief for tsunami victims.

Carol Iovanna read headlines at 6:29pm (another laser beam/plane incident; demonstrations after nightclub fire in Buenos Aires; Havana restores diplomatic contacts with 8 EU countries; Empire State Building dimmed its lights as a gesture of respect for tsunami victims), then Hume did his usual rapid-fire Grapevine Segment (Muslim cleric on Saudi TV says Christians caused the tsunami; "Democratic Underground" writer says Bush & the war in Iraq could be to blame; CBS meets with WH to mend fences; tape of Al Jazeera head meeting with Uday Hussein; Mexican govt plans to hand out guide to crossing US border). [Comment: note the neat pairing of the Saudi cleric's & the DU writer's theories of the tsunami to discredit both.]

At 6:34pm, Brian Wilson reported on Bush meeting with new members of Congress.

At 6:46pm, Major Garrett reported that the "Bush tax reforms" [comment: a/k/a/ tax the poor to give more to the rich] has fallen below Social Security "reform" [comment: a/k/a another privatization scam] & tort "reform" [a/k/a a distraction so you won't notice the first 2 scams] on Bush's agenda.

At 6:30pm, Hume said that "Bush noted the passing of" Robert Matsui & Shirley Chisholm. [Comment: Why not simply report their deaths? Or better yet, why not give a short bio/obit of each to inform viewers about why they were important in US politics? Why mention Bush at all?]

The first topic for the All-Star panel (tonight: Mort Kondracke, Mara Liasson & Charles Krauthammer) was US relief efforts to help victims of the tsunami. Hume showed a clip of GWBush announcing that GHWBush & BClinton would head up a new coordination program. Kondracke said the admin "was a little slow on the uptake", but "in the past couple of days" they've "gotten up to speed"; he said "the important thing is we're in it big now", because that "sends a message." Liasson agreed that Bush had been "slow off the mark but he's made up for it." She was enthusiastic about "private donations" & mentioned their "important symbolism." Krauthammer, typically, didn't address the message but chose to attack the messenger, saying "Let's remember who kicked this all off, it was the UN official who called the US stingy." He characterized the US military as a "standing army for the world", citing its role "to help in any disaster" & claimed that this is the equivalent of the US maintaining the world's "fire dept" because there's a "huge cost of maintaining infrastructure."

Hume came at the topic from a different angle: why don't they appreciate us? [Comment: a new twist on the "why do they hate us?" plaint, & equally disingenuous.] Hume noted that "We've gone to war in Kosovo on behalf of Muslims," & wondered if it's "possible to earn lasting gratitude" in that part of the world. Kondracke said it's "better to try than not be involved" but then bashed "our media" for not being much help [comment: can't he distinguish between news reporting & PR efforts?]. Liasson pointed out that when we give aid we should be doing so "because it's right, not to improve our image." Krauthammer added to Hume's complaint, saying that "We rescued Muslims in Somalia, in the Balkans" but "we don't get any credit" for that. Kondracke said "We have to remind people of what we've done," to which Krauthammer replied that the "problem is not lack of info, but lack of appreciation" [comment: those ingrates!].

The second topic -- "what does the election [in Iraq] have to be - is it the case really that the Sunni minority must participate?" -- was introduced by Hume noting a WaPo article about a Sunni party pulling out of the Iraq elections. Kondracke was adamant that the "elections must go forward, Sunnis must understand if they don't participate they'll be the losers," so "they should get on board." Liasson said that "whether the election looks credible is important, but more important is that Sunnis must participate in the new govt." Krauthammer noted that "Sunnis could be shut out because it's a party system"; he claimed that a "vast majority would like to participate" & "may feel intimidated". He said it's "important to have the election" & "transfer power to a legitimate govt" so that the "Shia will have a stake in maintaining peace & will join us in fiiighting the Sunni rebellion." Kondracke said that "even Sunnis admit that postponing would be a victory for the insurgents." Hume wondered "What would be achieved by postponing" the election, postulating that it would make the "insurgents stronger." Krauthammer said it would mean that "Americans will be alone in the war" & indulged in some traditional neo-con instant revisionist history by claiming "We should have had this election early on in this occupation." Krauthammer also got in the last word about the election: "We don't care, as long as Iraqis accept it."

General comment: I know I'm in trouble when Kondracke starts sounding reasonable. Then I do a reality check & acknowledge that it's only when he's opposite Krauthammer.