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Rice Hearing Gives FNL A Trifecta

Reported by Nancy - January 18, 2005 -

Today (1/18) FNL was all about putting the proper spin on Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearing. FNL used live coverage interspersed with interviews to reinterpret or re-cast what Rice had just said. The last hour was particularly illustrative of this, with a classic interview that managed to avoid issues while repeating official administration talking points, indulging in some bashing of the usual suspects & plugging Fox -- a trifecta!.

Credit where credit is due: FNL did stay with liver coverage of the hearing for the most part, although as always they insist on using lower-third graphics to reiterate (or in some cases re-interpret) what the speaker just said [comment: do they think their viewers are really too dumb to understand what's being said?] Opening the noon hour, FNL continued with live coverage of the hearings; at this point Sen Norm Coleman (R-MN) was "questioning" Rice [comment: his questioning consisted mostly of praising what a great job she's done as NSA, with a few asides to hit on his fave topic, the Oil-for-Food "scandal", but his idiocy isn't Fox's fault].

At 12:09pm FNL bailed on Coleman's grandstanding to go back to the studio so David Asman could interview Sen George Allen (R-VA). Asman commented that there's a "lot to digest there," but Rice says it's very important to stand back & look at it "from 30,000 feet" to see how "monumental" an event the Iraq election is. Asman asked does "the American public have the patience for that?" Allen made the obvious 'forest-for-the-trees' observation, claimed that "on 1/30 the people of Iraq will be able to form their own government" & "the ones trying to prevent" this "are either remnants of the old regime or terrorists."

Asman said that Sen John Kerry "pushed her [Rice] hard on Iraq" but "she didn't budge" [comment: the old "what we now is bad but what we had under Saddam Hussein was worse" excuse, which completely ignores US complicity in creating & ignoring the original "terrible" conditions when it suited us to do so]. Asman added that Rice is "standing behind that." Allen sneeringly dismissed Kerry's questions as "Monday morning quarterbacking" & asserted that "progress is being made."

Then Asman switched to one of Fox's bugbears, the Oil-for-Food program, which he -- like others -- insists on calling a "scandal" [comment: completely ignores US complicity in creating & ignoring the program when it suited us to do so]. Asman called the program a "debacle", citing "mismanagement" & other unproven allegations, then asked "Do we continue to use the UN with confidence in pursuing our agenda?" Allen said we should "use the UN" when it's helpful but advised caution because we want to "find out who's culpable, complicit" & "who benefitted" & "why wasn't this being watched more closely." Allen said the UN's "credibility" is at stake [comment: please see many previous entries in the "Oil for Food Program" category for extensive debunking of Allen's, Asman's, Coleman's & others claims in this regard].

Asman ended by thanking Allen for "the 'Fair & Balanced' plug" which phrase Allen apparently used during his questioning of Rice.

At 12:14pm, it was back to live coverage of the Rice hearing, with questions from Sen Russ Feingold (D-WI) in progress. At 12:22pm Feingold's turn ended & Sen George Voinovich (R-OH) started. At 12:35pm Voinovich ended & Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA) started.

At 12:57pm, as the hearing was temporarily adjourned, Asman said that everybody -- "even Boxer" -- admits that Rice will be confirmed, but that Boxer's harsh questions "required several rebuttals from Rice about what Boxer was saying." Asman's comment was (as always) editorializing, not reporting -- but (as always) wasn't labelled as such by FNL.