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Fast Forward

Reported by Nancy - February 23, 2005 -

FNL today (2/23) continued its worshipful coverage of Bush in Europe. I'm always grateful when I can fast-forward through big chunks of this program. In addition to the usual roster of the usual type of guests praising Bush, there was so much camo video the entire program could serve as a recruiting ad for the military. And David Asman was in rare form even by his own abysmally low standards, with a new record for number of inane remarks per hour.

There was live coverage of Bush speaking to troops of the 1st Armored Div at Weisbaden until 11:18am (all times ET). The banners below, as per FNL's usual practice, repeated & reinterpreted Bush's remarks, in case viewers were too dense to comprehend what was being said. [Comment: I am sooo glad I'm monitoring FNL's coverage of this "speech" & not the speech itself. It was the usual compendium of hypocrisy, lies, flattery, distortions of history, claiming credit for others' achievements, & smirking.]

At 11:18am Jane Skinner interviewed (ret) AF Gen Moore about Bush speaking to the troops. FNL used a split screen so they could continue showing Bush leaving to the tune of a Sousa march. And of course the banners below continued to repeat & reinterpret what Bush had said. Eventually, they switched to covering the return home of a reserve unit to WI (more video of soldiers, cheering, yelling). Skinner brough up the case of Keith Maupin who has been MIA in Iraq since last year. They were joined by Asman & Richard Burt (former US Ambassador to Germany ) at 11:25am. Asman immediately tried the divide-&-conquer routine, asking whether the US doesn't have stronger ties with Germany than with France. Burt agreed [comment: I disagree]. Asman also implied that the US would pay more attention to the EU than to France, but Burt wouldn't go quite that for. Then it was back to Skinner interviewing Moore, which was interrupted at 11:30am so that Jeff Goldblatt could interview one of the returning reservists.

At 11:34am Skinner reported on some of the weather in CA, Anita Vogel reported from Highland Park CA (video of stuff falling down hills in mud), & Janice Dean did the weather report. When that finished, at 11:39am, there was more video of the returning WI reserve unit.

At 11:41am Caroline Shively, embedded with US troops in Ramadi, reported on how US troops & Iraqi "commandos" are going after "insurgents" in Operation River Blitz (video of explosions & bombs). Then it was back to Jeff Goldblatt in WI talking about the returning WI reserve unit, who described the homecoming routine & gave more info about Maupin.

The teaser at 11:46am was for -- surprise! -- Michael Jackson [comment: nope, not gonna document all the MJackson fluff]. At 11:54am there was more video & commentary about weather in SoCal. Teasers at 11:55am included: Bush at Wiesbaden. Asman read the "tops" at 11:58am: Bush in Germany (Asman inserted his opinion that it was an "inspiring speech"); rain in SoCal; royal watchers re Charles's wedding; menus at Rutgers.

Vogel updated her report on SoCal weather at 11:59am, then Dean gave another weather report. At 12:04pm Shively essentially repeated her earlier report, complete with more video of stuff blowing up. At 12:06pm, Wendell Goler filed a report about Bush in Germany (clip of Bush). Goler also talked about Bush's upcoming meeting with Putin (clip of Bush). For the first time, FNL showed video of some of the protests that have dogged Bush on this little excursion [comment: Asman's next interview makes clear that they did so only to bash protesters & Europeans in general]. At 12:09pm teasers included: WI reserve unit; Charles & Camilla; Robert Blake.

Then it was back to Bush, with Asman interviewing Bill Kristol (reactionary ideologue). Asman immediately used the demonstrations mentioned in Goler's report to hark back to Reagan & demonize demonstrators. Kristol hit the GOP talking points: Bush's policy has been "vindicated", Bush "isolated Arafat", it's a "pretty impressive performance" by Bush. This particular interview was loaded with some of Kristol's wilder assertions. For example: European armies "don't go abroad" [comment: who does he think is in NATO? in Afghanistan? if this is typical of neo-con "insight", no wonder we're in trouble]. When Asman brought up Theo van Gogh's murder, Kristol said that "they [Europeans] need to be serious about radical Islam", that Europe wasn't woken up by 9/11 or Madrid & "they need a wake up call" [comment: another example of the problems generated by seeing the world through the neo-con prism; Europe has in fact been dealing with terror/terrorists long before 9/11 & continues to do so]. Asman asked whether Bush would "have to say something publicly" to Putin & Kristol said that Bush already did that in his speech in Brussels, then went back to the GOP talking points, saying that Bush has "exceeded expectations" because critics said he'd never stand up to Putin [comment: straw man argument]. Asman ended with a plug for Kristol's "Weekly Standard".

At 12:22pm Asman interviewed Mark Melman(Dem) & Brad Blakeman (GOP) about Bush in Europe. Asman asked whether Bush is "on the right track in Europe". Melman started to point out that Bush criticized Kerry during the campaign for wanting to work with allies, but the "first thing he does is turn around" & try to do "exactly what Kerry suggested, exactly what Bush rejected." Asman tried to talk over Melman, but Melman managed to finish his response. Then Asman turned to Blakeman, characterizing Melman's response by saying "that's a spin on it" & Bush is "not going with cap in hand". Blakeman hit the usual talking points ("strong leader", "goes there to listen") but was relatively conciliatory ("let's face it we have more in common than differences"). Melman again tried to make his point ("he [Bush] said we shouldn't work with them", but now that's what he's doing) & Asman again talked over him. Blakeman jumped into the fray, telling Melman "the election is over", at which point Asman played the gracious host, saying "Let Mark finish." Melman no sooner started to talk (noting that Bush is "failing to get Europe to stop selling arms to China") when Blakeman interrupted ("he's succeeding") & threw in a gratuitous Europe-bash ("when money is involved it overcomes their sense of duty"). Blakeman also claimed that it "drives these leaders crazy" that Bush is a "principled man". Asman asked Melman where Dems stand now on foreign policy, attempting to divide Dems into a Howard Dean camp (anti-Bush) vs a Hillary Clinton camp (saying she called Iraq an "honorable venture"). Melman refused to fall into the trap, replying that Dems "are very clear, very united" with clear objectives. He got no further than enumerating 2 of these (prevent terror; we're stronger when we work with allies) when Asman interrupted to asked whether he thought Bush is doing it right. Melman said yes, because Bush changed course & Blakeman again interrupted to say that was "absolute nonsense" & "that's the Bush doctrine" Melman was describing. Blakeman added that if Dems were in charge we'd be "kowtowing" to Europe & the interview trailed off.

Patty Ann Browne read headlines at 12:30pm. Then at 12:32pm Bret Baier reported from the Pentagon about an incident where a group of Iraqi citizens captured 4 "terrorists", held them, & called for help. Iraqi special Iraqi commandos responded with support from US Apache helicopters, noting that these were the "same units Rumsfeld saw in action."

For FNL's daily dose of fluff, at 12:35pm Asman interviewed Gerald & Deborah Strober re Charles & Camilla. [Question: Does Fox's obsession with "the royals" reveal Murdoch's Aussie roots? Does anyone normal & not living in the UK or even the Commonwealth really care about this stuff?]

At 12:39pm Asman showed video of troops returning from Iraq to TX, SC, IL & WI. Jeff Goldblatt then essentially repeated his earlier reports about the WI reserves & Maupin.

For a change of pace [not], at 12:46pm Asman interviewed Stephen Sackur (BBC) about Bush in Europe. The difference in manner & behavior was entirely predictable & should have been am object lesson for Fox viewers, but probably wasn't. Sackur was both diplomatic & objective, citing positive & negative aspects of Bush's current approach & of the European response to it, while Asman interrupted & talked over him.

The "Asman Observer" at 12:58pm was about the Iwo Jima anniversary ("raisin of the flag" on Mt Surabachi is Feb 23) but Asman managed to tie it to Bush's trip to Europe.

Asman's smarmy/inane remarks included the following:
11:53am (in ref to Queen Elizabeth not planning to attend Charles & Camilla's wedding): "Makes ya glad we had a Revolution to get rid of these folks."
11:54am (as Skinner reported that a man accused of stalking Kournikova pleaded not guilty): "I'll show ya my tattoos."
11:55am (in ref to Bush's upcoming meeting with Puring): "is he gonna give [Putin] a tongue lashing?"
12:09pm (in ref to Charles & Camilla's wedding): "the Church of England may become a thing of the past."
12:18pm (in ref to Charles & Camilla's wedding): "what's happening to religion in the UK?"
12:34pm (following Baier's "good news story from Iraq"
12:38pm (during interview re Charles & Camilla): "doesn't it make ya glad you're an American?"
12:43pm (in ref to food at Rutgers): "wait'll ya hear what the stuff is actually called."
12:53pm (to intro a "report" by Jamie Colby): Asman read a hideously punny intro that he kept saying was written by others but that he clearly thought was hilarious.
12:55pm (in a teaser): "President Bush workin' hard & removing a chip from Europe's shoulder."

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