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No News Here ...

Reported by Nancy - March 14, 2005 -

Someone needs to explain the concept of "moving forward" to FNL before they turn into all Ashley, all the time. They spent the largest part of the program today (3/14) with endless replay of clips from Ashley Smith's statement & teasers threatening to provide even more coverage of her -- culminating in (yet another) full replay of that statement at 12:30pm (ET). And David Asman no sooner joined the program than he distinguished himself with a series of mis-statements that would be funny if he weren't an on-air "personality" on a major cable "news" network. There was barely time to bash the Dems, but Asman managed one short segment to that effect.

Asman's blunders:

11:35am (all times ET) - wrapping up yet another replay of Ashley Smith talking about being held hostage by Brian Nichols in Atlanta, Asman called it a "12-hour standoff" [comment: it wasn't a "standoff", it was a hostage-taking; & it was 7 hours, not 12, & Asman ultimately was forced to correct this at the end of the program].

11:37am - Asman reported a "very deadly" car crash in Las Vegas [comment: as opposed to "slightly deadly"?]

11:52 - Asman interviewed Steve Pasierb (Pres & CEO, Partnership for a Drug-Free America) & Denise McLean (author of "Backstreet Mom") re kids & drug abuse. At the end, Asman called Pasierb's group "Partnership for America" [comment: um, David, I think the "Drug-Free" part is kind of important in this context].

12:26 - Asman called the ASmith/BNichols hostage situation the "worst that the state of Atlanta has ever seen" [comment: back to 4th-grade geography, David].

Segments re ASmith/BNichols:
11:35am (all times ET), wrapping up yet another replay of Ashley Smith
11:49am - teaser: ASmith
11:56am - ASmith & BNichols
11:59am - Asman read "tops": ASmith & BNicohols; terrorists may be targeting US aviation
12:01pm - Orlando Salinas reported on ICE agent David Wilhelm's body being escorted back to NC (with video of "caravan" escorting him & clip of ASmith)
12:04pm - Asman promised (yet another) replay of ASmith, calling it a "very special edition" of FNL"
12:13pm - teaser: ASmith
12:15pm - clip of ASmith with threat of more "coming up at 12:30"
12:17pm - teaser - ASmith (including clip)
12:22pm - Asman interviewed 2 attys re charges BNichols might face with yet another) clip of ASmith
12:30pm - full replay of ASmith statement (ad breaks at 12:43pm, 12:48pm)
12:55pm - Asman reads list of victims (4 killed, 1 wounded) last Fri
12:56pm - teaser: more of the same coming up on "Dayside"

Other "stuff" FNL mentioned briefly
11:38am - Brenda Buttner re Bernie Ebbers' jury deliberations
11:40am - early fave withdraws from American Idol
11:41am - ugliest dog
11:42am - Teasers: MJackson; Ashley Smith; Las Vegas
11:44am - "Lady in Red" Karen Hughes to be Undersecy of State for diplomacy
11:45am - MJackson - Brigitte Quinn interviewed 2 attys (emphases on "punishment for last Friday")
11:59am - Asman read "tops" ASmith & BNicohols; terrorists may be targeting US aviation
12:05pm - CRice announces nomination of KHughes
12:05pm - Greg Kelly reported that US govt confirms that Zarqawi wants to attack "soft targets" in US (theaters, schools, restaurants) & the "lack of willing martyrs" is the only thing preventing attacks in US
12:07pm - Asman says the aviation industry has "gone the extra mile" since 9/11 & Kelly Wright talked about improving airline security & safeguarding private planes & helicopters to "safeguard the homeland"
12:16pm - Terry Keegan re financial news (Disney, OPEC, Wall St numbers, Office Depot, etc) ending with a plug for "Cost of Freedom"
12:22pm - stories following this hour - WI; anti-Syria protesters in Lebanon; VA man accused of "plotting to assassinate President Bush" will face charges of aiding Al Qaeda

Typical political skew:
12:09pm - Asman interviewed Sen Trent Lott (R-MS) about recently leaked reports that terrorists may be looking at "soft" targets in the US. Asman opened by asking "Who leaked the report to the press & why?" Lott said it's "hard to know" but we "shouldn't be suprised" there are still potential problems because there is "no such thing" as perfection, adding that "we're still threatened" & "we still have to be vigilant." Asman wondered how to "legislate common sense." Lott laughed genially, said you can't, but emphasized that the US is "much more secure" than 3 years ago but the govt is continuing "to work to improve it." Asman opined that "every Democratic Senator & Representative" he talks to "wants to say the [Bush] administration is not doing enough" & asked if this issue is "becoming a political football?" Lott tried to appear conciliatory, saying "it shouldn't" & that Dems should "work with us" & bring important issues to everyone's attention. Asman then asked how we should "beef up" security along borders & Lott said terrorists want to attack "freedom-loving people, especially Americans" but pointed out that security is "like Swiss cheese" because it's "hard to fill every hole" & "all you need is one mistake" & you've got a "big problem."
Comment: You know you're in trouble when Lott sounds (relatively) sane, calm & rational.

Here's a short list of some news they didn't cover: escalation with China & Taiwan, stand-off in Manila (a real one, not Asman's mischaracterization), Haiti, ongoing investigations of US prisoner abuse/rendition/torture, Darfur, any health or science story, Congo, oil prices, India, US job market, Israel/Palestine, US housing starts, Brazil ...