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Is Fox Spreading Rumors About Anti-War Protesters?

Reported by Melanie - January 20, 2005

Fox News seems desperate for there to have been violence directed toward Bush by the thousands of anti-Bush protesters lining the inaugural parade route today (January 20, 2005). After all, what better way to discredit the whole movement, huh? Twice during Your World w/Neil Cavuto, Cavuto asked Fox reporters about a "dent in the presidential limo." At 5:33 p.m. ET I searched Google news for "dent in presidential limo" and I didn't come up with one single hit. At 5:56 p.m. ET (and again immediately before posting this, at 6:19 p.m. ET), I searched Google news for "dented presidential limo" and again got no hits whatsoever. Nonetheless, Cavuto brought the dent story up twice during his show this afternoon.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. ET, Neil Cavuto spoke to Major Garrett who was reporting from the DC parade route (my emphasis in the quotes):

"You know, I don't want to put you on the spot Major but there was a lot of talk about this dent in the President's limo in the right rear door. Do we know how that dent got there? Was something pelted at the President or at the limo?"

Major Garrett: "There is nothing I've heard along this parade route or anything that I have seen or witnessed or heard about that suggests anything untoward hit the limo or in any way caused damage to the limo. As a matter of fact, when the President's limo passed, I didn't see it. Now, perhaps it was visible more clearly on the other side because I only saw one side of the limo, the north side. Maybe it was on the south side. But I saw nothing coming from the crowd, nothing that suggested that anyone along this parade route, which is lined by military and Metropolitan police, nowhere along where I could see, and I get the whole vista Neil, from Pennsylvania Avenue to Constitution Avenue. I did not see anyone reacting in a way that would suggest something damaged the limo or in any way, shape or form the President or Vice President were in any danger."

Approximately 20 minutes later Molly Henneberg also reported from the DC parade route. At the end of her report Cavuto asked:

"You know Molly, I don't know if you had the vantage point of seeing this; we heard a lot about this dent in the presidential limo as it was coming up the parade route. I think Shepard and his guests were earlier talking about that. Ah, was there a dent and were people heaving snowballs [Snowballs??! Do you think a snowball would dent that tank Neil?] or any of this stuff we were hearing much talked about?"

Henneberg: "We did not see people throwing anything and actually I thought I heard that the dent was on the right side of the car. We're actually standing to the left so I didn't see it. But when the motorcade went by, when the President's Cadillac went by, there were people all around it so it probably would have been hard from our vantage point to see if there were a dent anyway because there were Secret Service surrounding the car."

UPDATE: Friday, January 21, 2005. Read what Neil Cavuto said today, "the day after," here.

COMMENT: I watched some CNN, some MSNBC and come C-Span before turning to Fox at 4:00 p.m. ET. I heard nothing about a "dent in the presidential limo" until I heard it on Fox. Since nothing about a dent popped up after three Google news searches, all I know about a "dent" is what I've written above. I must say, I'm suspicious. Watch. Tomorrow there'll be comments running through the conservative press and conservative blogs and websites about how demonstrators threw (or fired) something at the presidential limo and dented it. (Denting that tank would take an event (not a "snowball") which would be broadcast by all media as "breaking news.") Could this be an RNC "talking point," floated by Fox, to be turned into an "urban legend" for use against the anti-war, anti-Bush crowd? I wouldn't be at all surprised.

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