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Why Is FOX News Working To Recall Atlanta's DA?

Reported by Ellen - March 17, 2005

Thanks to my blogmates, Marie Therese and ChrisH, I have become aware of a pattern of attacks by Bill O'Reilly on Atlanta DA Paul Howard. As I reported yesterday, Bill O'Reilly has attacked Atlanta DA Paul Howard five times in the past month. These attacks began prior to the Atlanta shootings of last week (as reported on by Marie Therese) and continued after the shootings (as reported by Chris H and myself). Yesterday, O'Reilly urged viewers to "check out" the recall petition against Howard on a website. Tonight, on FOX News Live with Alan Colmes, a radio show, FOX legal analyst Lis Wiehl - out of the blue, during a discussion of the Scott Peterson death sentence - suddenly segued into a lecture about why DA Howard does not deserve to keep his job.

Substitute host Eric Shawn came back from a break and opened with the following question relating to a prior statement by Wiehl that she had problems with the death penalty.

Shawn: You dealt with murder cases and you're a prosecutor. How do you do it, if you're not quite sure you believe in the death penalty?

Wiehl said she told her employers during her interview that she'd have a hard time with any death penalty cases and that her employer appreciated her honesty about it. Then, without answering Shawn's question, she suddenly went on the attack against Howard. "If I were in that position - for example, the DA down in Atlanta. He's faced with a choice of whether to prosecute Nichols as a death penalty case. If we have the death penalty on our books and we're not gonna prosecute someone who has killed - allegedly killed four people then you shouldn't be doing that job because you are - when you sign up to be a prosecutor you are (unintelligible) whatever the laws of the land are and right now there's death penalty in most jurisdictions and for a case like that where four people are dead (voice rising in indignation) - that should be a death penalty case!

Comment: Wiehl's sudden Howard-bashing tangent made me suspicious that she may have been prepared to bring that into the conversation and took the opportunity that was handed to her. In any event, isn't there something very wrong with a news network - especially one that brags incessantly about being fair and balanced - trying to manipulate a recall of an elected official? I think we should contact the FCC.

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