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Conservative + Conservative Does Not Equal Fair or Balanced

Reported by Ellen - March 19, 2005

Last night's guest host for Alan Colmes' FOX News radio show was Steve Doocy, of FOX & Friends. FOX markets Colmes' talk show as a liberal program on XM Satellite and Sirius radio but it was clear in the opening minutes that Doocy and FOX could have cared less about satisfying those segments of the audience. One tends to get that impression when a host opens a show by telling a joke about liberals.

A la David Letterman, Doocy read off a list of the top five vacation desinations for liberals:
5. Euro Kennedy
4. Robert Byrdland
3. House of Henry Waxman
2. Al Gore Grotto
1. France

That piece of hilarity was followed by a discussion of the Terri Schiavo case, which Doocy described as the "top story" on "FOX News and across the country." Comment: I checked out MNBC.Com and CNN.com and it wasn't the top story on either site at the time.

Joining Doocy to discuss the story was FOX News legal analyst Peter Johnson, Jr. Rather than give listeners a "fair and balanced" review of the situation, FOX News used their tried and true technique of providing two versions of the same right-wing point of view and calling THAT fair and balanced.

Steve Doocy set the tone by demonizing Schiavo's husband right at the start: This case is SO disturbing for SO many people because... this woman's been on life-support for 15 years and her parents want to keep her alive but her HUSBAND - who's now taken up with another woman - has gone to court and has gotten a judge.. to agree that it's now time to end her life.

After a bit more husband-bashing (he has a new "common-law wife" and new children, he has financial incentives for getting rid of Terri but he is also heartless for having turned down the million dollars someone offered him if he'd let her live) and a mention by Johnson that Terri "might" recover and live a normal life, Doocy, sounding astounded said, "(The husband's) got all the cards, the parents don't hold anything?"

Johnson (dramatically): "Whether you're Scott Peterson, or you're Ted Bundy or... you've been convicted and you've been sentenced to death sometime in the future, you have more rights than this innocent victim of a heart attack 15 years ago... They haven't done a swallow test since 1992."

Doocy: "Wow!" He mentioned an "interesting story" on Newsmax.com (I wonder how many liberals go THERE for their news) that someone from Right to Life (i.e., someone with an agenda but that wasn't mentioned by Doocy) "got into her room" and asked Terri if she wanted to live. Reportedly, Schiavo said "I waaahhh" but just then the police came in and threw the person out. (Comment: Can you imagine if Michael Moore sneaked into her room, asked her if she wanted to die and used her unintelligible sounds as evidence that she did?)

Doocy asked Johnson, "Didn't the framers of the Constitution, at the core want to assure that Americans had the right to liberty, pursuit to happiness and, of course, life?"

Johnson: Absolutely. It's a matter of life and liberty, both... and this is a case about taking a life and under what circumstances a life is taken, under what circumstances a life has no more value... The larger issue, perhaps, is what's the standard, what's the point by which that life can be extinguished. Is it merely because the husband says so? Is it merely because he's gotten a million dollars in a malpractice claim and maybe that money has run out?

There was absolutely no effort made to balance this commentary with the views of Schiavo's husband or the court which agreed with him.

Comment: Terri Schiavo has been incapacitated since she was 26. Do you think she would have socked away enough money with a privatized social security account to cover the reduction in public benefits that Bush acknowledges will accompany privatization?

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