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A Billion Here, a Billion There

Reported by Melanie - January 14, 2005

During the "Fox Stox" segment of Your World w/Neil Cavuto, Cavuto reports three or four business news headlines. The "Fox Stox" segment is 60 to 90 seconds long, and "reports" on the individual businesses last approximately eight seconds each. Here is one of the seconds-long "reports" from today's (January 14, 2005) "Fox Stox" segment (video of Marine One lifting off the White House lawn aired as Cavuto spoke):

"Meantime, the Navy is expected to pick a contractor for the next generation Marine One by the end of this month. Lockeed and Skorski are vying for the $1.6 billion contract." (My emphasis.)

COMMENT: The first three segments of Your World were about the landing of the Cassini-Huygens space probe on Saturn's moon, Titan. Introducing Rick Leventhal, Cavuto said that "to some" having the probe on Titan "justifies the expense right there." Rick Leventhal said Cassini sent incredible pictures with an "incredible price tag." (The US contributed $2.6 billion to the project.) Cavuto reminded one guest that "critics" of the space program ask whether spending the money on the project is "really worth it." Questioning a second guest Cavuto said, "there are people" who wonder "why, with these record deficits we're having and problems addressing Social Security [I love the way he tucked this in] and all that other mess in this country, are we bothering doing something half a galaxy away?"

I'm confused. Fox's reporter and anchor express concern about the cost of the Cassini-Huygens space probe but don't blink when reporting that the President is getting a new $1.6 billion dollar helicopter (how can a helicopter cost that much?). How about the $5 billion per month we're spending in Iraq (which isn't mentioned on Fox)? Is that worth it? Why is money spent on space science an issue for Fox? Is Fox trying to turn its viewers against funding it? Is Fox preparing its viewers for eventual cuts in the program (to make way for a budget dedicated to the military and war)? I don't get it. All I know is, watching Fox can make you crazy when spending $2.6 billion "expanding human lives and inspiring young people" (as one guest said), might not be "really worth it," $1.6 billion for one helicopter doesn't seem to matter and the billions and billions and billions spent on the Iraq war aren't mentioned.

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