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Checks & Balances vs Fair & Balanced

Reported by Nancy - January 21, 2005 -

Today (1/21) on FNL, Rick Folbaum provided a perfect example of Fox's inherent bias. This "fair & balanced" interview was nothing of the kind.

At 12:09pm (all times ET) teasers included: "Will he [Bush] get the backing he needs from Congress?"

At 12:15pm Folbaum interviewed 2 Congressmen Joe Wilson (R-SC) & Jim Marshall (D-GA), both of whom are on the House Armed Services Committe & both of whom are recently back from a visit to Iraq. Folbaum said that "Bush's message" in his inaugural speech was about "spreading freedom throughout the world" but "is Congress on board?"

Comment: The teaser, the opening comment & the initial question are so biased that there's no way this could be a "fair & balanced" interview. And, as it turns out, it wasn't. Folbaum's follow-up questions made sure of that.

Wilson said Congress "will be" on board & non-partisan. So Folbaum asked Marshall "Are Dems going to be supportive?" Marshall replied that Dems "want to see a free & democratic Iraq" & hope that "Iraqis take ownership" after the election. He added that we see "more negative stuff on the news" but there's "more positive" on the ground. Wilson agreed, saying they "saw police training" & that he has "a son serving in Iraq" whose unit is "providing security" for the upcoming election.

Comment: Marshall didn't mention his kids, so I checked his website & they're both too young for military service; he also didn't mentioned that he dropped out of Princeton to volunteer as a Ranger in Vietnam, where he earned, among other medals, 2 Bronze Stars & a Purple Heart. Wilson's website says he served 3 years in the Army Reserve after finishing law school, then served 31 years with the SC Army Natl Guard, retiring in 2003.

Marshall noted that they "had a thorough briefing" & he expects there will be "spectacular attacks by insurgents" but also expects "huge turnout" because while "intimidation has been very effective in Sunni areas" it hasn't been in Kurdish & Shiite areas. Wilson joked about being bipartisan already, saying "I agree with Jim" & repeating the "owenship" routine. Both Congressmen agreed that it was "inspiring" how "the Iraqi people have put this [election] together." Neither, of course, gave any credit to the UN.

General comment: Folbaum, like other Fox on-air "personalities", needs a refresher course in Civics 101. For that matter, so do these 2 Congressmen, who didn't object to Folbaum's questions. It is not the job of Congress to be "on board" with whatever the executive branch wants. Can Folbaum say "checks & balances" as readily as he says "fair & balanced"?