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George & Laura's Excellent European Adventure, Part II

Reported by Nancy - February 23, 2005 -

Last night (2/22), Special Report was just another chapter in the "all Bush, all the time" saga that is Fox News. There were a few brief diversion -- Iraq, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, Larry Summers -- but other than that ... nothing but George & Laura's Excellent European Adventure.

At 6:02pm (all times ET) Carl Cameron reported about Bush meeting with Euro leaders today.
Cameron said that Bush proposed the NATO meeting (clip of Bush), that it's a "listening tour" not a "charm offensive" (clip of Bush), that Bush got NATO members to contribute to efforts in Iraq (clip of Bush), that Bush opposes tech transfer to China (clip of Bush), that Bush reassured Europeans (clip of Bush) & that Bush pressured Iran (clip of Bush).

At 6:06pm James Rosen reported about Bush meeting with NATO (clip of Bush), saying that Bush stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" with the NATO Secy-Gen, that Euro leaders are "nervous" that NATO could "eclipse" the EU but Bush tried to "allay" their fears (clip of de Hoof, clip of Bush). Rosen said there was a "renewed push" for NATO's pre-eminence in the wake of criticism from Schroeder & Chirac, but Bush was "careful to speak in neutral terms" about both (clip of Bush). Rosen added that Bush paid "lip service" to the EU but still sees NATO as the principal forum.

At 6:08pm Brit Hume reported that Laura Bush was in Germany visiting US military installations.

At 6:11pm Bret Baier reported on the United Iraqi Alliance choosing a candidate & other development in Iraq. The Netherlands is withdrawing 1400 troops, Australia is sending 450 (clip of Australian PM Howard).

At 6:14pm Hume reported Ahmed Omar Abu Ali has been charged with wanting to join Al Qaeda & is suspected of plotting to assassinate Bush but hasn't been charged with that yet.

There was a brief diversion at 6:17pm, when Todd Connor reported from Cambridge about today's meeting between Harvard Pres Larry Summers & Harvard faculty. Connor said that Summers "managed to keep his job" because his "critics" didn't have the 80% majority required for a no-confidence vote. To be "fair & balanced", Connor noted that some students oppose Summers & some support him.

Hume wasted his one-on-one interview segment on the topic of Larry Summers. At 6:21pm, Hume interviewed Duncan Curry (Harvard '04, now working for the Weekly Standard) about whether Harvard is a hotbed of liberals or if there was "more to it". Curry said that "students are far more conservative-friendly than" they were 20 years ago, that Summers has ruffled a lot of feathers, & that it might be about how he's handled moving part of the university across Charles into Alton. When Hume jumped at the possibility that the faculty grievances were all about the move, Curry had to qualify his statement, saying that he didn't "want to overemphasize moving aspect" because "there are other faculty grievances", citing issues about Cornell West & Israel as examples.

[Comment: Anyone care to speculate why the topic of Larry Summers keeps coming up on Special Report, Fox's "flagship" news program?]

Going to break at 6:27pm, Hume read a teaser: "How's life for Iraqi women now that Saddam is gone? Wait'll ya hear what one human rights group says."

The Grapevine segment, at 6:31pm, was the usual assortment of rapid-fire blurbs: Amnesty International says Iraqi women are no better off now & US forces are partly to blame; Hillary Clinton visited Iraq & said many parts of the country are functioning quite well; lots of people don't think "promoting democracy" should not be the role of the US abroad; & there are stickers in Belgium that invite people "to relieve themselves" on pix of Bush & the US flag.

At 6:34pm Major Garrett reported on class-action "reform", highlighting on particular case (with multiple clips of one particularly annoying woman whining about her Sylvania TV). The bottom line for Garrett was that Sen Patrick Leahy added the language about coupons & GOPs accepted it to get Dem votes.

At 6:36pm Greg Palkot reported on "heavy-duty America bashing" in Belgium. His report, while it didn't include anything I'd consider "heavy-duty", was an enormous step up from a similar report he had filed earlier in the day for FNL, when his tone & delivery were an imitation of Jonathan Hunt or Geraldo Rivera. At least this time he didn't use that nasal tabloid whine.

The first topic for the "All-Stars" (Fred Barnes, Mara Liasson, Charles Krauthammer) was Bush & NATO, with entirely predictable bloviating. The second topic was Ariel Sharon & Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip & the occupied West Bank, which --surprise! -- turned into praise for Bush.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report's coverage of any of the stories listed above). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.