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Paeans for Rice -- From A Potentially Biased Source

Reported by Nancy - February 8, 2005 -

Since FNL has been touting Condoleezza Rice's whirlwind tour of various places as though it were something very special & unique, it was no surprise that FNL this morning (2/8) covered her stop in Paris exhaustively, including live coverage of her talk & the Q&A session afterwards. Needless to say, FNL's coverage was also superficial & shallow.

At 11:00am (all times ET) Amy Kellogg reported about CRice in Paris. Since FNL was "awaiting" the start of Rice's speech, Brigitte Quinn filled up some air time with "deep" observations (musing about whether this might be a "new era" in US-French relations) & politically biased opinions (saying that the new French Foreign Minister is "less strident" than Villepin, & that Chirac seemed to have a little more "conciliatory" attitude after the Iraq election). Kellogg said that the French press has been more hostile than the govt & noted that Bush phoned Chirac to "walk him through" the Iraq election. Kellogg also noted that Rice's speech "will be analyzed for tone & subtleties" because ha ha the French are big on subtleties. Quinn started to comment about the French press, but viewers were spared further inanities when Rice started speaking at 11:05am.

FNL broadcast Rice's speech in full. When she finished at 11:29am, Quinn repeated some selected remarks (e.g., "time to turn away from disagreements of the past") then killed some air time with more "deep" observations (e.g., while droning on about how we're expecting a Q&A session, Quinn said: "no doubt there will be members of the French press there"). The Q&A session lasted just over 20 minutes, & FNL stayed with the whole thing [comment: both Rice's speech & her answers during the Q&A session were in English, & 4 of 5 question were asked in English (the one asked in French was simultaneously translated; does anyone know if Rice speaks or understands French, the language of diplomacy?].

At 11:52am, David Asman joined Quinn & contributed more "deep" observations (e.g., Rice has an "impressed gift for elocution"). Then both Asman & Quinn interview Richard Burt (former US Ambassador to Germany) about Rice's speech. Asman asked "Do ya think she wowed the audience in Paris?" Burt ssaid she is "one of most articulate Secretaries of State in recent history." Quinn wanted to know if Rice's words would "resonate in practical terms", that is, would the French "do more in Iraq." Burt said that Rice was speaking over the govt "to the French people" [comment: trying to expand the use of "the American people"?] & that her speech was the third important speech about peace/freedom/blahblahblah following Bush's 2 speeches. Burt further said that there's a "real charm offensive" by the Bush admin. Asman noted that Rice said "we [the US & France] disagree as friends" & wondered did the French "buy that line?" Burt claimed that the French "have clearly decided they want to get along with the second Bush administration" but added that there are still some "very serious differences" re Iraq & Iran.

Comment: As usual, what FNL doesn't tell you about their guests is more important than what they do tell you. This brief bio of Burt is from the website of the European Aeroautic Defence and Space Company, where Burt serves as a member of the North American Board of Directors.

Ambassador Richard Burt serves as Chairman of Diligence LLC, a commercial information and security services firm based in Washington, DC, London and Miami. He also is an International Director of the Washington-based government affairs firm, Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, and serves as an advisor to the Carlyle Group, a private equity investment firm. In addition, Burt serves as Chairman of the Board of Weirton Steel, the largest tin-plate manufacturer in the U.S., and on the Board of Hollinger International. He is a Director of the Brinson Advisors family of funds and of the Deutsche Bank-Alex Brown fund family. Prior to the formation of Diligence LLC, Burt was a partner with McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm. He served as the U.S. Chief Negotiator in the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START) with the Former Soviet Union, U.S. Ambassador to Germany (1985-1989), Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs (1983-1985) and Director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs (1981-1983). Burt received his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University and a Master's in International Relations from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Gee, do ya think those links to Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, & to the Carlyle Group, might give the impression that he might be just a tad biased?

NOTE TO READERS: The topic is FNL's coverage of Rice's visit to & speech in Paris. Off-topic comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category (see list at right) to make such comments.