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No Rhyme, No Reason

Reported by Nancy - February 10, 2005 -

Yesterday (2/9) on FNL there was no over-arching theme, just the usual drumbeat of positively reporting on all people & things GOP & throwing in a few negative comments about all people & things non-GOP. It's like watching headline news, only stupider -- at least programs that deliver only headlines don't pretend to do "hard news".

Here's the short version: CRice, DRumsfeld, election in Iraq, journalist killed, explosion in Baghdad, bomb in Madrid, Bush meets with President of Poland, Ward Churchill, Mayor of Baltimore, Pope John Paul II, weather report, Carly Fiorina, suspect "on the loose" in FL, another woman teacher had sex with a 13yo student, Bush budget proposal, CIA releases docs re Nazis in US, Ward Churchill, Rice, results of Iraq vote postponed, Bush budget proposal, 2 BU students killed by commuter train, Carly Fiorina, Oil-for-Food "scandal", weather report, Bush, suspect "on the loose" in FL, etc etc etc.

But in the midst of all this jumping from topic to topic, 2 short interview segments stood out for their utter lack of any redeeming value, social or otherwise:

At 11:14am (all times ET) Brigitte Quinn said that Dems "have had some harsh words" for Bush's proposed budget but the mayor of Baltimore "likened" the budget proposal to 9/11 & showed a clip of the mayor (who was saying that "with a budget axe he [Bush] is attacking America's cities"). Quinn then interviewed 2 radio talk show hosts, Leslie Marshall & Mark Williams, asking them what they made of the Mayor's comment. Marshall, instead of fell all over herself trying to put some distance between herself & the Mayor's statement, calling it "irresponsible" instead of pointing out that he really isn't wrong in his analogy. Quinn asked if the comments reflect the "ugly debate" [comment: note the routine insertion of editorial opinion] about the budget but Williams called the mayor "just some idiot" mouthing off & likened him to Howard Dean & to "Teddy Kennedy bellowing away." Too late, Marshall tried to salvage something by trashing Dean, saying "a majority of Democrats agree" that he's "too far left" to run the DNC, so it's "offensive" to attribute the sentiments of the Baltimore mayor to all Dems. Quinn switched topics & said that "some literature is painting" Sen Harry Reid (D-NV, minority leader) as "an obstructionist" & Williams said nah, he's "an affable old guy" who's really conservative, adding "why he's a Democrat I don't know." Williams attributed Reid's leadership position to the "Peter principle." Quinn brough up the CRice "charm offensive" & Marshall said Rice is "doing great at what politicians do best -- talk" but she hasn't yet offered "concrete plans" & is "not addressing errors we made. Marshall said that Rice made some "very questionable remarks" about Iran this morning. Quinn changed the subject to a poll about Sen Hillary Clinton & asked Williams what her favorable rating meant. Williams said it "means PT Barnum lives on" & there's "one born every minute."

General comment: I've said it before when these 2 have been guests on FNL: what's the point? Who cares what radio talk show hosts say? They have no credibility & no insight to bring to the discussion. Quinn feeds them biased questions, neither one of them challenges her premises, Marshall is inept but thinks she's cute & Williams is an arrogant blowhard who thinks he's clever. Absolutely nothing about this interview qualifies as "real journalism", "hard news" or "fair & balanced." Wait. It WAS balanced: all 3 participants were equally lame.

At 12:20pm, David Asman interviewed 2 political strategists, Elaine Kamarck (Dem) & Ed Rogers (GOP). Asman said to Kamarck that she had to "admit, even as a Democrat" that CRice's "charm offensive" was working, & it went downhill from there, ending up with speculation about whether Rice might run for POTUS & Adman chortling that it would be "fun if 2 women" -- HClinton & CRice -- ran against each other.

General comment: If Asman gets any more condescending & patronizing, he's going in the doghouse. The phrase "charm offensive" is now on my Top 10 list of phrases that make me want to puke.

NOTE TO READERS: The topic is FNL interview tactics & stratagems, as exemplified by these two samples. O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T Category for such comments.