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Happy St Patrick's Day?

Reported by Nancy - March 18, 2005 -

Considering all the fluff they normally cover, it's pretty amanzing that FNL yesterday (3/17) managed to ignore St Patrick's Day. With the little time available when they weren't speculating about John Evander Couey (a "person of interest" in the case of missing Jessica Lunsford), or covering the Congressional hearings about MLB & steroids (with special emphasis on Sen Jim Bunning, R-KY), they could barely squeeze in the usual political slant.

Jessica Lunsford/John Couey:
When I tuned in at 11:00am (all times ET) Orlando Salinas was in the midst of reporting that John Couey is a "person of interest" in the case of missing Jessica Lunsford. According to Salinas, Couey is being detained by GA police, FL police are on the way to interview him, & the police are looking to have a "come-to-Jesus meeting" with him. Brigitte Quinn then interviewed by phone Bill Majeski (fmr NYPD detective) & Rhonda Evan (Citrus County public info) about this.
At 11:11am Quinn repeated info about Couey & turned it into a teaser ("more details still to come").
At 11:14am awaiting press conf re JLunsford, repeated previously reported details
At 11:19am Quinn read a teaser re JLunsford.
At 11:22am there was an ALERT so Quinn could announce there will be a news conf, scheduled for 11:45am ET, re Couey. OSalinas repeated some of the previous info & said "we know this: they need John Evander Couey to cooperate" & that Couey's in "a boatload of trouble". Quinn said JLunsford's "grandma" seemed angry yesterday, Salinas started to comment about that, then Quinn showed "brand-new tape" of grandma's comments. Quinn noted there have been questions about JLunsford's family, Salinas agreed & gave some info re her grandfather. Quinn then interviewed Harold Copus (fmr FBI agent) about the case. Quinn showed more tape of JLunsford's grandmother sobbing.
At 11:33am there was an ALERT so Salinas could repeat the info about Couey.
At 11:37am there was (yet another) ALERT so David Asman could repeat the info about JCouey, then he interviewed Rod Wheeler (fmr DC police detective) about the case. This interview was unusually long for FNL, lasting approx 5 mins & ending only when it was time for an ad break.
At 11:45am there was (yet another) ALERT with Quinn saying we're waiting for the press conf about JLunsford to start. Jeff Dawsy, the police spokesman/sheriff, started by saying he didn't have much more info than the reporters already had. FNL stayed with this through some Q&A, until 11:53am, at which point Quinn recapped some of what the sheriff had said & repeated some of the info previously reported. Quinn then interviewed Vito Colucci (PI) about it -- but for barely a minute, at which point Asman repeated some of the info & they went to an ad break.
At 11:58am there was (yet another) ALERT so Asman could repeat the info about Couey & Salinas could essentially repeat his earlier reports. Salinas also replayed some of the footage from Dawson's press conf & tape of JLunsford's grandmother. According to Salinas, if Couey asks for a lawyer, the investigation
At 12:02pm Asman interviewed Pat Brosnan (fmr NYPD detective) by phone about Couey. Asman of course repeated the info about Couey's background, & both speculated about whether Couey is "the kind of guy" who would "cut & run" if he's guilty.
At 12:13pm Asman read a teaser about Couey: "Can they make him talk?"
At 12:19pm Asman read a teaser about Couey: "When will he come back to Florida?"
At 12:26 teasers included: Couey
At 12:31pm there was almost an ALERT but they ran an ad over it instead. After the ads, at 12:33pm Asman did the ALERT about Couey & Salinas essentially repeated his earlier report.
At 12:36pm Asman interviewed Judge Andrew Napolitano (Fox commentator) about Couey.
At 12:46pm Asman read a teaser: Couey
At 12:49pm there was (yet another) ALERT - any moment now we could be hearing from" JLunsford's family. Asman repeated the same info about Couey.
At 12:50pm Asman had what he called a "fair & balanced debate" about pet cosmetic surgery with Bill Grant (veterinarian) & John Duran (Mayor of W Hollywood). At 12:52pm Asman cut off the "F&B" debate to go live to JLunsford's "dad" who made a statement & took some questions.
Comment: A little classism here? Why does FNL refer to JLunsford's "grandma" & "dad"? Why not call them "grandmother" & "father"? Mr Lunsford was far more eloquent than any of the talking heads (including Fox "personalities") who were bloviating about this.

MLB/steroid hearings:
At 11:08am Quinn noted that steroid hearings have begun on Capitol Hill & that the first witness was Sen Jim Bunning (R-KY & former baseball player). Major Garrett then gave a summary about why the hearing are being held & showed a clip of Sen HWaxman (D-CA). Quinn capped it off by mentioning Bunning again.
At 11:19am Quinn announced "breaking news" -- to report that the baseball hearings are ongoing.
At 12:05pm it was almost back to baseball, but FNL just had to interrupt to show Martha Stewart leaving court. Asman commented "she's not talkin' " but her lawyers are "trying to derail" the SEC investigation. After 2 minutes of watching Stewart navigate a horde of reporters & letting Asman bloviate about the downside of celebrity, FNL went to Major Garrett, who essentially repeated his earlier report about the steroid hearings & included a clip from the testimony of Sen Jim Bunning (R-KY).
At 12:10pm Asman interviewed Fred Barnes [comment: !!!!] about the baseball hearing. Asman asked if Congress should "get into this" & Barnes said "absolutely," calling steroid abuse a "national epidemic." Asman said we don't need new laws, we've already got laws about this, so we should "just arrest 'em" but Barnes said Congress "does other things" besides making laws, like having "show trials to play up an issue," so it's "appropriate" for them to do this. Asman wondered what kind of questions would be asked, particularly if players would be asked directly whether they used steroid. Barnes said they should be asked that, because there are questions about whether records are legit & there's a "cloud" over MLB. Asman speculated that Congress is using anti-trust rules as the grounds for their investigation, since MLB is a "private national pastime" but Barnes said it's "more than just a private business."
At 12:23pm it was back to baseball, with Asman commenting snidely about "political grandstanding" & interviewing Jim Bouton (fmr NY Yankee pitcher & author of "Ball Four"). Asman asked Bouton if he had seen steroids used during his career. Bouton said at that time players "didn't know about steroids" & "our drug was amphetamines" to get over a hangover. Asman opined that "speed" is also used to enhance performance, but Bouton disagreed, saying he tried it once & couldn't focus or concentrate. Bouton said Congress should be banning any drug that artificially enhance performance. Asman played "devil's advocate" & asked if drug use isn't "just another way to sacrifice for your sport?" Bouton again disagreed, saying no because it's a "danger to health," it a "bad example for kids," & it's "not fair to teammates or opponens." Asman noted that owners try to "maximize" player performance & asked where Congress should "lower the beam." [Comment: Yes, he said "lower the beam."] Bouton said Congress can force MLB into "real, tough testing."
At 12:26 teasers included: Schilling to testify re steroids

Political slant:

At 11:15am it was almost back to baseball, then Quinn noted that Porter Goss is testifying at the Armed Services Committee, saying he had "FRIGHTENING words" re OBL & Al Qaeda "still trying to figure out our security weaknesses." She then interviewed Arnaud de Borchgrave (UPI) & Marc Ginsberg (fmr US Ambassador to Morocco) about OBL. Quinn said it's "no surprise" that Al Qaeda still wants to hit the US & asked if there's any "hope to finally get this guy." de Borchgrave said there's been an "intensive" & "ongoing" search for a long time. He said there's a current rumor OBL is in Beirut, which he (de Borchgrave) doesn't believe but he does think that OBL is "protected by powerful people within Pakistan." Quinn asked where he thinks OBL is, & de Borchgrave said there are "hundreds of large houses protected by mud brick walls ... in Baluchistan" where the Pakistani police & army don't go. Quinn then asked Ginsberg where he thought OBL was, & Ginsberg didn't hesitate to say he's in Pakistan, snidely commenting how Musharraf says 'we just almost caught him' "every time someone from the administration" goes to Pakistan. Quinn asked "What's Pakistan's game here?" & Ginsberg said that Musharraf is in a "very delicate position at home" & "Al Qaeda would like to assassinate him." At 11:19am Quinn cut off de Borchgrave & Ginsberg for "breaking news" -- to report that the baseball hearings are ongoing & read a teaser re JLunsford.
Comment: Both Ginsberg & de Borchgrave are frequent talking heads on FNL. They are always identified as Quinn identified them today -- which is not incorrect, but hardly tells the whole story. For example, de Borchgrave is also an editor at the Washington Times, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & Internatl Studies, & a member of Benador Associates (a PR firm that includes many Fox talking heads, like Charles Krauthammer, Mansoor Ijaz, Paul Vallely & Victor David Hanson). Ginsberg is on the board of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (along with Richard Perle, Gary Bauer, Charles Krauthammer & Zell Miller, among others). Both write often for the Weekly Standard. Not even on the same planet as "fair & balanced".

At 11:34am Quinn noted the 2nd anniversary of the US invading Iraq will be this weekend, then interviewed Nick Calio (fmr legislative asst to Bush). Quinn said that Michael Meehan (Kerry campaign) had been slated to participate in the discussion but he "had to leave." Quinn opened by asking why the US should not leave Iraq, & Calio replied that it hinges on "mission" accomplishment. Quinn noted that "some" are wondering if the "coalition of the willing" is "crumbling." Calio said Berlusconi is talking about pulling Italian troopsout of Iraq "in consultation" with the coalition & "if appropriate" but then asked Quinn "Does anybody but me get annoyed by all these people" in the media being "so delighted" whenever someone leaves. Quinn [comment: first time I've ever seen Quinn reluctant to bash other media] - asked if "the Amer people are "patient enough." Calio said they've been "marvelously patient so far" & trotted out the "Happy Iraq" scenario ("look at the elections," there's a "lot of hopeful signs") which he attributed to Bush having "the guts to stand by what he thought was the right thing to do," adding that Bush "doesn't pay attention to polls" & "we're clearly on an upward path."

At 12:38pm Kathryn Herridge reported on Goss's testimony to the Armed Services Committee & showed a clip of Goss's testimony re how media leaks have seriously hampered the WOT. She said he wants to create a Natl Univ of Intelligence & showed another clip of Goss.

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