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Condi Cover-Up Continues

Reported by Nancy - January 19, 2005 -

Whew! Condoleezza Rice's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committe, 16-2. FNL was so relieved that they only devoted one segment to bashing Senator Barbara Boxer. It was just as well, because when Jane Skinner anchors instead of David Asman (as she did today, 1/19) the quick-cut MTV-tempo of the entire program gets even worse.

At 12:12pm, following a clip of Boxer questioning Rice, Skinner wondered "why all the hours & hours of" questions since it seemed her confirmation was a foregone conclusion. She interviewed 2 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bill Nelson (D-FL) & Lincoln Chafee (R-RI). Skinner opened by asking Nelson "Was Boxer's line of questioning fair?" Nelson said "of course it's fair" & pointed out that the questions were asked "in the contect of all the misinformation we got" when Congress was asked to vote on whether to go to war in Iraq. He said that he "brought up more examples" of such misinformation today. Before he could list those examples, Skinner interjected that there's a "difference between bad intelligence & lying" which Rice was trying to point out. Nelson replied that the whole point was that "you have to give full information." Skinner then asked Chafee "Was Boxer's questioning respectful enough?" [comment: yes, she used "respectful", as though a Senator shouldn't ask tough questions of a potential Secy of State] Chafee reminded Skinner that "Rice will be 4th in line of succession" so "yes" the questions were "appropriate." Skinner then showed a clip of Sen Joe Biden (D-DL) questioning Rice, & asked "If confirmation is certain why spend time on hearings except to give Senators some face time which they seem to enjoy." Chafee said Rice had some tough questions to answer because, for example, "up to 9/11 Rice was more concerned with missile defense" than with terrorism, so these questions are "appropriate" & the Senators were "doing our jobs." Skinner commented that there were "lots of questions about truth" & "will she [Rice] be a counterweight." Nelson said "It's important to have checks & balances" & added that it's the Senate's responsbility to "advise before [giving] consent" & Rice needs to know what reservations some Senators have. Skinner said that the "grandstanding gets in the way" & Nelson replied that it "may be grandstanding to you but those are very important points." Chafee added that Senators were "trying to find out where this admin is going."

General comment: Again, rather than inform viewers of the substance of these hearings, FNL chose to focus on style. They must think they're terribly clever, but it should be transparently clear to any viewer that the whole point of this exercise was to distract from the underlying issues. Skinner isn't even up to FNL's abysmally low standards for on-air "personalities" -- the question about "face time" doesn't belong on a program that bills itself as a "hard news" program.