Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

The Art of Distraction

Reported by Nancy - March 2, 2005 -

Last night (3/1) on Special Report, the ballerinas on the "All-Stars" panel outdid themselves in spinning -- call it what you will (gyrate, oscillate, pirouette, reel, rotate, twirl, twist, whirl), it's all spin, all the time. But Steve Harrigan filed a report that deserves special mention.

At 6:36pm (all times ET) Steve Harrigan filed a report about Congo peacekeepers -- Brit Hume intro'd this as the "first of 4 reports" but Harrigan has previously filed reports on this same topic on this program. Harrigan's report noted that there are >10,000 peacekeepers in Congo, but he focused on just one: Didier Bourget who is now detained in France [comment: according to the UN website, that is as per current international law, which they're trying to change -- UN peacekeepers accused of any crime are returned to their home countries to face charges]. Harrigan said there was a "recent discovery" of hundred of violent photos taken by one UN official who looked for young 10-11yo virgins to avoid AIDS. Hume capped it off by reading an excerpt from a statement by Representative Chirs Smith (R-CA).
[Comments: funny how Congo is completely off FNC's radar unless it involves graphic sexual violence that has the double whammy of titilating viewers & bashing the UN. Recent estimates are that 1000 people/day are dying in that seemingly eternal civil war, but in hundreds of hours of monitoring both Special Report & Fox News Live, I've never heard that mentioned -- only the reports about peacekeeping troops & officials accused of sexual crimes -- which, btw, the European & African press has been covering extensively for a very long time. It would probably be useful, & certainly interesting, if someone has taped Fox 24/7 over the past year or so, to compare/contrast coverage of this with their relatively sparse coverage of Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, etc.].

The first topic for the "All-Stars" (tonight: Fred Barnes, Jeff Birnbaum & Charles Krauthammer) was Osama bin Laden's recently intercepted communication with Zarqawi. Hume couldn't decide whether to call Zarqawi a "disciple" or an "ally" but the panel esentiallyly agreed with Barnes that OBL is "desperate", "hasn't been able to pull off any big attacks" lately & is "fading into obscurity". Birnbaum suggested that this was a "diversionary tactic" or an "attempt at disinformation" to "try to make authorities worry about something they don't need to worry about" & noted that Abizaid said Zarqawi is retreating & having trouble getting money & support. Hume wondered if OBL were trying to communicate to Zarqawi that attacking Iraqis is "not a good idea" but Krauthammer dismissed that, saying that's not how OBL thinks & echoing Barnes (OBL "shows his weakness", Zarqawi is "already on the run"). Krauthammer then claimed that the only attack outside of Muslim coutnries since 9/11 was Madrid. Birnbaum agreed that this intercepted communic was a "sign of his weakness", Barnes repeated that he's "desperate" & Krauthammer opined that OBL must need Zarqawi.
[Comments: All their bloviating aside, one of the hallmarks of Al Qaeda is patience; 8 years elapsed between the first WTC bombing & 9/11. And the citizens of Moscow, might disagree with Krauthammer's glib assertion about no attacks other than Madrid since 9/11 -- although I'm equally offended by his implication that attacks in Muslim countries -- Bali,Turkey, Morocco, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc -- somehow don't count or aren't important.]

At 6:50pm, following a clip of Sen Robert Byrd (D-WV) speaking in Congress, the panel discussed the "nuclear option" (the tentative GOP proposal to change Senate rules re filibusters). The initial focus was on Byrd's "Hitler reference" (with another clip of Byrd) which Hume said likened GOP tacics to Hitler, & Dems to Christ. Needless to say, the panel was outraged, with Krauthammer calling it "grotesque" to compare changing Senate rules to Hitlerian tactics. Barnes agreed, saying "wheneve they drag out Hitler it's demagoguery." Typically, Krauthammer then attacked Byrd, calling it "disingenous" for him to speak at all on this topic, since "young Senator Byrd" ("befor he became doddering") used the filibuster to "prevent" enactment of Civil Rights Act of 1964 [note to Chuckie: obviously Byrd was unsuccessful in that attempt, so what's your point? it was a tool then, it's a tool now; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't -- oops, I forgot, you were simply choosing to attack Byrd so you don't actually need a point, do you?]. Birnbaum tried to get back on topic, noting that the filibuster is not a "Constitutional right" so the rule can be changed & said that the "most important effect" might be that Dems could "completely mess up" the Senate with other parliamentary procedure & "shut it down," which he called "do a Gingrich" & remarked that Gingrich's responsibility for shutting down entire federal govt was widely seen as a "stain" on the GOPs. Hume immediately twisted this, observing that "action on key elements of the President's agenda would be thwarted" & Barnes chimed in that those who support the filibuster are "opposed to majority rule." Hume capped it off by noting that "one liberal organization" said Byrd's speech was compelling.