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Right-Wing Echo Chamber

Reported by Judy - March 10, 2005

Michele Malkin, the right-wing columnist who couldn't stand up to an appearance on Chris Matthew's "Hardball" last summer, griped in a recent column about Italians paying a ransom to free journalist Giuliana Sgrena, but Fox News invited her on "The Big Story" Wednesday (March 9) to make sure more people heard her slant.

John Gibson has been hot on the story of the release of the Italian journalist for awhile. Not the part about her rescuers being shot at at a U.S. checkpoint, resulting in one death and wounds to Sgrene, just the part about her being a communist.

On Monday, he called Sgrena a "so-called journalist" because she worked for a Commmunist Party newspaper. His guest that day, Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Nick Halley, implied the shooting wasn't that big of a deal because "all of her articles have been very critical" of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Malkin complained in her column that there should be more outrage about Sgrene's release because paying ransoms has become a "get rich quick scheme" for terrorists, who use the money for buying more roadside bombs. Malkin is not a reporter. Her column did not offer proof of any of this -- have more Italians been kidnapped than other nationalities, has the money been traced to arms sales, etc. She is just supposing this is what is happening.

Yet Gibson invited her own to share, not a news story she uncovered with names and dates and other proof, but her opinion. That's the right-wing echo chamber, pure and simple.

Gibson did point out that raising money through kidnapping would seem to be unnecessary if the uprising really had all that Oil for Food money Saddam has squirreled away in Syria. But, hey, that's Jonathan Hunt's story and he wasn't there to explain why the terrorists didn't use that money instead of going to all the trouble of kidnapping people, so Gibson didn't really press Malkin for an answer.

What really galls me about Malkin's reaction is that when she was interrupted a couple times on Hardball last summer, she had to call in right-wing goons to defend her and make everybody feel sorry for her. Yet when a journalist working in a war zone gets shot at by supposedly friendly forces after spending a month being held against her will, Malkin can't put herself in the woman's shoes, but can only grouse about a decision to ransom her freedom.

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