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Krauthammer Sums It Up: "Unbelievable Hypocrisy & Irony"

Reported by Nancy - February 17, 2005 -

Last night (2/16) on Special Report, Brit Hume again interviewed Dennis Ross (former US envoy to the Middle East) during his one-on-one segment. The interview (as usual when the guest is of a caliber as high as Ross) was both useful & informative. The same can hardly be said of the "All-Star" panel in the latter part of the program, who bent & twisted themselves into verbal pretzels trying to condemn Ward Churchill while giving Larry Summers a free pass.

Hume read teasers to open the program, including: Goss "scares the pants off Congress"; Meyers says insurgents in Iraq face a "bleak future"; & "wait'll ya see the exchange between one house member & Secy Rumsfeld." Donna Fiducia read headlines, then there were the usual brief reports. At 6:02pm (all times ET) Carl Cameron reported on Goss's testimony to the Sen Intel Committee. According to Cameron, Goss warned that Iran is "the biggest threat to the US" in the Middle East. At 6:05pm, Bret Baier reported on Rumsfeld's testimony says that >136,000 Iraqi troops have been trained (clips of Rumsfeld, Rep Loretta Sanchez D-CA, Sen Pete Domenici D-NM). There was also a clip of Gen Meyers saying the insurgents aren't "winning minds & hearts" in Iraq [comment: I have a question for Meyers: can you say "Vietnam"?].

At 6;08pm Hume reported that the House has passed & the Senate is considering bills to raise fines for broadcast of "indecent" material. At 6:11pm Brian Wilson reported on Syria & Iran, with emphasis on how "bad" they are (clips of Rice, Rumsfeld). Wilson said that "some on Capitol Hill" think more should be done & showed a clip of Sen George Allen (R-VA), Wilson then said that Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA) asked Rice why the US is not in talks with Iran & Rice said it wasn't necessary (clip of Rice saying that). [comment: Wilson showed a clip of GOP Allen asking his question, but a clip of Rice responding to Dem Boxer; shouldn't free ait time for GOPs count as a political contribution from Fox?]

At 6:14pm Mike Tobin reported on Hariri's funeral in Beirut. At 6:16pm Hume said that the Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade (a Palestinian resistance group) won't honor the cease-fire because IDF forces killed 2 of their members; the IDF said they were "terrorists". Hume also noted that the Knesset approved payments to Israeli settlers to evacuate Gaza.

At 6:20pm Hume showed clip of Rice talking about Syria & UN Security Council Resolution 1559, then interviewed Ross. Hume asked how likely is it that Syria is behind Hariri's assassination. Ross said "I believe it's the case" because Hariri supported 1559 & he thinks Syria was sending a message ("if you think you're gonna be better of with us out of there, this is what you'll have to live with"). Hume noted that 1559 is not the first UN SC Res re getting foreign troops out of Lebanon & Ross agreed, citing one "back in 1991" that involved Saudi Arabia. Hume opined that Syria is "not very big place" with "not much of an economy" & described the atmosphere there are "Mafia-like." Ross called that an "exaggeraion" but pointed out that the Alawites who dominate both the govt & the military are "only 10%" of the population. Hume dismissively said that Syria's "military is no match for even Israel." Ross agreed with that assessment but but said it shouldn't be minimized. Hume asked what the meeting in Tehran means. Ross said Syrians "know they're alone right now, no one else in the Arab world" supports them, so the "image" they want to project is "we can cause lots of problems for you". Hume noted that "Hezbollah is active in Lebanon" & asked "how new is this alliance?" Ross said it's "not new at all." Hume asked about Hezbollah's popularity in Lebanon & Ross pointed out that "they provide a lot of the social" services/infrastructure, citing schools & clinics as examples. He said that "Iran is providing them with money" to do that. Hume brought up Res 1559 again & Ross said "it's not one that has a built-in implementation" so there's some wiggle room but it "creates a sense of vulnerability" for the Syrians. Hume asked what "leverage" the US has apart from 130,000 troops "already busy in Iraq" & Ross said we should work with the French. Hume interject ""Oh boy" with a look that combined sneering & disbelief, but Ross persisted, pointing out that the French have a "traditional interest in Lebanon" & already "joined with" the US on 1559. The interview lasted 7 mins, & Hume

Fiducia read headlines at 6:30pm, then at 6:31pm Hume did his "Grapevine" segment: Iran can't get stories straight (various versions of explanatios re explosion in Iran); Memogate - 3 CBS staff have yet to resign & one (Howard) is demanding CBS clear his name; 2 "prominent" African-American GOPs (Steele & Watts) demand apology from HDean; an assignment at a middle school in NC was "write to President Bush & persuade him" to bring troops home, & "many" parents are "up in arms." At 6:34pm Jim Angle reported that Greenspan saying he likes private accounts in SocSec (multiple clips of Greenspan) which, according to Angle, caused "consternation" for "some Democrats" [comment: the "some" turned out to be Sen Chuck Schumer D-NY & Sen Paul Sarbanes D-MD, & "consternation" is not the word I'd choose to describe their questions to Greenspan]. Angle added that Bush said raising the cap (now $90,000) on SocSec taxable income is "on the table."

At 6:37pm Major Garrett reported on Sen Ted Kennedy. The report was sort of a brief video bio, starting with Kennedy's appearance at the 1980 DNC ("a liberal's roar in the face of the coming Reagan Revolution") & ending with the assessment that Kennedy "may yet find himself out of step with the times." Along the way, Garrett admitted that "America has mvoed to the right since then" & incorrectly stated the Kennedy, not Hillary Clinton, was the one who "first softened Democratic rhetoric" re abortion (showing a clip of Kennedy saying abortion should be "rare") [comments: every Fox commentator gets this wrong; the "abortion should be rare but legal" phrase is not new, it was Bill Clinton who first used it during his presidency. Other than plugging Garrett's book -- which Hume did in his intro & Garrett did more subtly throughout his "report" -- what was the point of this segment?]

The All-Stars" (Bill Sammon, Mara Liasson, Charles Krauthammer) took over at 6:42pm. Their first topic was Iran & Syria, & none of them contributed any new insights. Liasson pointed out that Bush "used to prasie Syria" as an ally in the WOT. Sammon & Krauthammer tried to drag Russia into it, with the latter saying "it's not just 2 isolated regimes." Sammon added that "Rice's rhetoric" is "much tougher than" Colin Powell's.

Hume brought up the second topic at 6:51pm, saying that Larry Summers (Pres of Harvard) is "in hot water again." Hume read a brief excerpt from a statement issued by a group of Harvard profs, characterized Summers as a "very bright guy" & said the faculty was "alienated & demoralized" over "various statements" Summers has made while "attempting to stimulate" academic discussion. The panel was much more animated over this topic. Sammon immediately jumped in with "Make no mistake, this is about Larry Summers' comment re women" & said that "anyone who's foolish enough to offend the PC police is run out of town on a rail." Liasson tried to point out that that's "not all there is" to it, there's also "his management style." Hume dismissed that as a distraction, asking "What commerce do tenured professors have with him?" Liasson had a good answer ready: "Enough to know they don't like him." Krauthammer offered "full disclosure" -- that he went to Harvard Med School & his son is an undergrad there -- before going on a rant: "unbelievable hypocrisy & irony", "he was accused of stifling dissent", "he offered a theory -- only a theory", he is "being run out of town", "he's not allowed to speak on this" [comment: talk about "unbelievable hypocrisy & irony"! Krauthammer could be describing Churchill & Bill O'Reilly's crusade against him.] Krauthammer suggested this was really about "other issues" noting that "he's shown a lot of courage in going against the PC mainstream" because Summers "opposed the movemen to divest Harvard of investment in Israel" & he had a "contretemps with Cornel West". Krauthammer further politicized the issue, saying it shows "how left & how out of mainstream this faculty is" because "in real life he's a moderate centrist" [comment: no, Chuck; it shows how far right-wing you are that you consider Summers a "moderate centrist"]. Sammon chimed in that "the same leftists who champion Ward Churchill" oppose Summers. Liasson objected, saying "I don't think the people at Harvard are defending Ward Churchill. I really don't."

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic -- the issues covered by Special Report on 2/16. O/T comments will be deleted.