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Brit Hume sees bias everywhere (except Fox, of course).

Reported by Chrish - January 18, 2005

There was lively debate on Fox News Sunday 1/16/05 on the issue of the report on the CBS News investigation and its finding that CBS was not guilty of journalistic bias. Brit Hume, speaking as a panelist, said some unnecessary, unkind, and arguably untrue things about Senator Ted Kennedy, saying he is "not the large figure he once was in American life, and probably never will be again..." and insinuated that CBS was showing their bias by having Senator Kennedy as the sole guest on "Face the Nation". Hume said the White House would have been happy to put on Dan Bartlett (who was making the rounds on Fox News Sunday, NBC's Meet the Press, and CNN's Late Edition) or someone else, but CBS said no.

While Bartlett was not the sole guest on Fox News Sunday, he had the podium alone for the first segment, about 11 minutes. (He was followed by a bipartisan discussion between Rick Santorum and Dick Durbin.) This is hardly the first time that FNS has had a Republican on for the first portion of the show, unbalanced, before the (sometimes) bipartisan debate, so Brit Hume should not be accusing CBS of anything.

Mara Liasson in her turn briefly defended CBS, saying they didn't have to be the White House's "friend", but then went on to reinforce the Republican talking point that CBS has reached a point of no return. As she said, they have other troubles in other quarters (not elaborated on), and they have no cable channel. Progressives do not need "friends" like this who are willing to sound the death knell of a newspaper or TV network every time there is an error. If that were the case, FNC would have died when Carl Cameron's phony story about John Kerry appeared on their website before the election.

Bill Kristol was next, asked by Chris Wallace if he thought CBS was guilty of bias. His reply was, of course, "Sure." He referred to the report's phrase "myopic zeal" and wondered why there was so much interest in the story, inferring that there is no other reason (like, wanting to know the truth) than bias for "beating the brushes in Texas, trying to find someone to come forward." He seems to take them to task for spending time and money on investigative journalism that might confirm what many suspect - that the man who has led this country into an avoidable costly war was given preferential treatment during another war and was allowed to skip out on his relatively safe state-side obligation, without consequence.

Juan Williams rebutted, saying that it is a legitimate story and it has gotten lost in the brouhaha over the documentation. (Brit tried repeatedly to interrupt at this point but Juan did not let him.) The story of Bush's incomplete TANG service was obscured, and the questions remain unanswered.

Brit finally took over and said, "presume that this is true, that Bush did get favorable treatment in the NG. The story has been around for a while, the accusation has been around for a while. When Bush was up for election the first time we had no way of knowing what kind of commander-in-chief he would be, which is obviously what we care about. That's what stories like these may shed light on. So, he gets 'elected'. We now watch him, for 3 1/2 years, dealing with a war-time situation. We go into two wars under him. Now we have an idea what kind of c-i-c he would be. The story of whether he got favoritism in the NG had lost its news value. It didn't matter anymore. And the obsession that CBS News had with it was remarkable.... What's strking about this and perhaps the best evidence of bias is this, that CBS was still pursuing this Captain Ahab, this Moby Dick of a story after all these years when the public already had plenty of basis to judge Bush.'

Unfortunately Juan Williams, who clearly wanted to respond, was not allowed because of time, ;-/, and Brit had the last word.

Comment: Too bad Juan was not able to point out that if the Bush campaign misrepresented his service and blocked efforts to find the truth of the matter it would be a cover-up of enormous ramifications, that the documentation may have been faulty but the accusations have yet to be disproved, and many Americans, at least 57,000,000, are not favorably impressed with Bush's handling of foreign policy. Does Brit not remember the Clinton years, when $73 million of taxpayer money was wasted on a decades old non-scandal? Does he not remember Trooper-gate, a real Moby Dick of a story? On Fox, it's bias only if Republicans are the subject.

I find it impossible to take Brit Hume seriously as a journalist during the week after watching his unwavering partisanship on Sundays. His support for all things Republican contributes to his decisions on what stories to cover or not, and how to cover them. To the unititiated he may appear above reproach but it is clear to the practiced eye where his loyalties lie.

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