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ALERT! FNL Overdoses on ALERTs!

Reported by Nancy - March 16, 2005 -

FNL on 3/15 was forced to report some actual news, but still managed to squeeze in plenty of the usual eye candy & blood lust. They really need to rethink the "ALERT" concept, since they're now using it for nearly every story. And they need to pay more attention to the press conferences they cover live -- it's harder to spin those once your audience can compare what was actually said with how you're trying to spin it.

At 11:00am (all times ET) Jonathan Serries reported from Atlanta about Brian Nichols. Then, saying "when might we see those charges" Brigitte Quinn interviewed David Schwartz (criminal defense atty) & Vito Colucci Jr (PI). Both were fairly critical of the Atlanta police procedures both before & after last Friday's incident, but Quinn wanted to know why the DA is waiting to charge Nichols. Schwartz explained the concepts, but FNL kept pushing the bloodlust angle (see teasers below).

At 11:05am Quinn reported that the anthrax LEOs in DC say FBI investigating several suspicius packages
with a "white powder" found at a "news organization" in DC.
Comment: they're not forbidden to say "CNN" -- Kathryn Herridge says it later on, so why can't Quinn?

At 11:06am Quinn offered some commentary, then Dan Springer reported about MJackson.

At 11:08am there was an ALERT to go live to a press conf by David Kelly (US Atty in NYC) with FBI (Andy Arena) & NYPD personnel, about a "scheme to smuggle" weapons into the US. FNL stayed live with Kelly's statement. He said 17 of 18 suspects were arrested for international arms trafficking in RPGs & shoulder-fired SAMs from Armenia, Georgia & other Eastern European countries; charges include unlicensed dealing in firearms & explosive devices, illegal possession by illegal aliens. Kelly said a confidential informant posed as arms broker for terrorists; 8 weapons were sold & delivered in Los Angeles, Miami & NYC. There was also a scheme to import & sell 2 SAMs, anti-tank guns, AK74 & AKS rifles. Kelly noted that one of the suspects suggested he could obtain enriched uranium, but there never was any uranium, & no evidence they could get uranium or any other chem or bio weapons material. Kelly specifically said they didn't care how the buyers used the weapons. At 11:16am Quinn interrupted the FBI presentation to say "FRIGHTENING charges", then continued talking over the FBI speaker for a minute.
Comment: Keep in mind the facts as stated by Kelly as you read the remainder of this entry. Note that the imports are referred to as "Russian" & that FNL tries to hype the "bomb in the subway" scenario.

At 11:17am Kathryn Herridge gave an anthrax update, saying the FBI us investigating pkgs at CNN, cleared a pkg at INS (most likely rat poison) while 2 DoD mail sites remain closed. She noted that 60% of initial positives end up being negative.

At 11:19am there was a report on MJackson.

At 11:22am there was an ALERT to repeat the anthrax info, with Quinn repeating "quote unquote suspicious packages" several times.

At 11:23am Quinn interviewed Robert Jordan (fmr US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia) about Israeli plan to attack Iran & Bush comments re Lebanon. They started wih comments about Jordan (the country, not the guest). Quinn said Iraqis are "upset" about a Jordanian suicide bomber in Iraq, & Jordan added that Zarqawi is also Jordanian & the Shia are "very resentful" but King Abdullah is "very much on our side." Quinn asked "How true an all is Jordan?" & RJordan said it's a "true ally" & King Abdullah "has stepped forward," noting that "they live in a dangerous neighborhood" & "he's paying a price for this" (e.g., they were "major consumers of Iraq oil" which was cut off 2 yrs ago [comment: another fine example of how we treat our allies]). Quinn moved on to the Israeli plan to attack Iran & asked if diplomacy could stop Iran from going ahead with their nuclear program. RJordan said diplomacy "could work" but the incentives so far offered have been rejected so "more forceful diplomacy" may be needed, it's "prudent to consider other means" & "everything" should be "on the table."

At 11:27am teasers included: US borders; Bush with King Abdullah; teen girl missing; police called to scene before a robbery even took place.

At 11:30am there was an ALERT to show video of a "suspect roof chase" in Broward County FL. David Asman gave a play-by-play for a couple of minutes, saying we can assume the suspect is "a little unhinged", "he's goin' down", "clearly the've called on him to surrender ..." & "police seem to know what they're doing."

At 11:35am there was an ALERT about the international arms smuggling case. Quinn loudly repeated it was "FRIGHTENING" about the uranium but quietly reassured viewers that it never happened, & Jamie Colby recapped what DKelly had said.

At 11:37am Quinn interviewed Shannon Tanner (mom) & Daniel Torres (local sheriff) about Bianca Piper, missing 13yo in MO.

At 11:44am it was back to the FL roof to show police handcuffing the suspect.

At 11:45am Brenda Buttner reported re markets (Dow, NASDAQ, S&P down, consumer spending up, gas prices higher, crude oil futures approx $55/bbl, Lehman Bros up, Alan Greenspan "taking lawmakers to task" re SocSec).

At 11:46am teasers included: BNichols ("when will he face murder charges"); man survives 4-story fall; bumpersticker & road rage.

At 11:50am Asman interviewed Michelle Fernandez (lower-third graphics described her as "road rage victim"). Fernandez said it wasn't the Bush-Cheney04 sticker, but another pro-Bush sticker that apparently angered a man who yelled at her & waved an anti-Bush sign. She described the incident as "a car started beeping its horn," a man was "waving arms & screaming & pointing at sign he made." Asman said "He claims you gave him the finger" & Fernandez admitted she had "possibly" done that. Asman opined that the "irony" is that Fernandez is "a registered Democrat." Fernandez said the man was arrested & released.

At 11:54am there was an ALERT for a fire truck & tour bus collision in Ontario CA.

At 11:55am teasers included: anthrax (is this "the beginning of something new"?)

At 11:58am Asman read "tops": BNichols; alleged plot to smuggle "illegal Russian weapons" into the US -- "is there a link to terrorism?"; MJackson; Pakistan says they were close to capturing OBL last year.
[Comment: see above re weapons smuggling, & note the differences between what the DOJ said & how FNL tried to spin it.]

At 11:59am there was (yet another) ALERT about anthrax "inside the Beltway" & Kathryn Herridge essentially repeated her earlier report.

At 12:01pm FNL showed tape playback of Bush meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan [comment: how embarassing is it that Abdullah is better-spoken in English than Bush?]. FNL covered this until 12:09 then Asman recapped [comment: for viewers who had been in a coma for the previous 8 mins?]

At 12:09pm there was (yet another) ALERT - fire truck & tour bus collision in Ontario CA.

At 12:10pm, Asman noted that a "shackled" BNichols appeared in court today, commenting that he is not being charged with murder -- "not yet anyway" -- & Jonathan Serrie essentially repeated his earlier report.

At 12:13pm there was an ALERT that there is a verdict in Bernie Ebbers' trial, which turned into a teaser by Asman for more re Ebbers ("we don't know what, but the jury has reached a verdict") & BNichols ("will he use racism" as his "excuse" for his rampage?)

At 12:15pm there was (yet another) ALERT about Ebbers with live pix of the courthouse. Asman bloviated about corporate scandals & couldn't resist noting that Bush "has mentioned it often."

At 12:16pm Asman showed live footage of a memorial service in Fulton County GA for 3 killed last Friday, with much bloviating about BNichols.

At 12:18pm Asman began interviewing Ken Smith (boss of ICE agent David Wilhelm, also killed on Fri).

At 12:19pm Asman broke from the interview for teasers (BNichols & "race card"; anthrax) & ads.

At 12:23pm Asman resumed the interview with KSmith, who barely got out one sentence before ...

At 12:23pm there was another interruption for an ALERT that Ebbers has been found guilty of conspiracy & or securities fraud. One of the "kings of Wall St" could "spend the rest of his life in jail."

At 12:27pm Asman read teasers: "Are terrorists trying to sneak into the US from south of the border?"; is Harvard's president "getting expelled?"; rooftop burglar in FL; Ebbers is "down for the count", "could spend the rest of his life in prison."

At 12:30pm there was yet another ALERT about Ebbers' conviction on all 9 counts ($11 billion worth of fraud). Asman said the jury "apparently ... bought" the testimony from Scott Sullivan.

At 12:32pm there was yet another ALERT about anthrax & KHerridge essentially repeated her earlier report.

At 12:34pm there was yet another ALERT for pix of Ebbers who according to Asman "must be shakin' in his boots." Dagen McDowell then used her best nasal tabloid voice to repeat the same info about Ebbers' conviction that Asman had been blathering about.

At 12:42pm teasers included: "wait'll ya hear who the suspects thought they were selling the goods to"
[Comment: see above re weapons smuggling, & note the differences between what the DOJ said & how FNL tried to spin it.]

At 12:45pm Asman said there was a "plot to bring Russian weapons into the US" to intro a report from Jamie Colby about the charges announced by the DOJ re arms smuggling. Colby interviewed Andy Arena (FBI) & brought up the "uranium in the subways" scenario, & Arena again emphasized they could NOT have gotten uranium, that they didn't care who would use the weapons they sold "as long as they got their money."
[Comment: see above re weapons smuggling, & note the differences between what the DOJ said, which Arena repeated here, & how FNL tried to spin it.]

At 12:48pm Asman read teasers: "inside the mind of a reformed terrorist"; MJackson

At 12:52pm there was yet another ALERT that BEbbers was found guilty on all 9 charges brought against him.

At 12:53pm Asman said there's a lot of "psychobabble" about what makes a terrorist, then interviewed Walid Shoebat (former PLO member & author of "Why I Left Jihad: A Palestinian's Journey from Hate to Love"). Asman indulged in some gratuitous Islam-bashing ("Allah the merciful, Allah the compassionate," there's "nothing merciful about killing innocent children"), & Shoebat wants the US to "destroy" Hezbollah, Hamas, a university in Egypt & a whole lot of other stuff -- pretty strange for someone who claims to have journeyed from hate to love.

At 12:57pm Asman read teasers: BNichols; MJackson.

At 12:59pm Asman announced there would be "no Observer today."
Comment: YIPPEE!

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