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Beware the Garden Bunny!

Reported by Nancy - March 25, 2005 -

After yesterday's Schiavopalooza, today (3/25) on FNL it was back to the usual whipping up fear with ALERTS sprinkled on nearly every story (child abducted! roof collapsed! danger at petting zoos!). Uma Pemmaraju was in for Brigitte Quinn, & Rick Folbaum covered for David Asman. And FNL trotted out that old stand-by, the poor persecuted Christians, in a laughable version of the "we're under attack from atheists" scenario.

There were multiple ALERTs for:
*Jetseta Marie Gage - Amber Alert for missing 10yo girl in IA
*roof collapse at a Texas Instruments plant (complete with live pix from KTVT) in Richardson TX,
*Terry Schiavo [comment: as others have noted, their coverage is much more about the Schindlers than it is about the Schiavos], with the usual superficial coverage:
*kids getting hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) from petting zoos in FL, with:

There were blurbs from
*Pemmaraju on the Chippewa "getting ready to bury" those killed at Red Lake
*Pemmaraju on Pope John Paul II missing most events this Holy Week.
*Greg Burle in Rome on Pope John Paul II missing most events this Holy Week.
*Steve Harrigan in Iraq on all the bombings & killings there
*Pemmaraju on "no refuge north of the border" for Jeremy Hinsman, this is a "blow to Amer deserters."
*Stan Goldman on the MJackson case
*Kathryn Herridge on an EPA internal audit that says BioWatch managed is poor [comment: the only time FNL ever reports anything related to the environment, you can be sure it will be something negative like this]
*Janice Dean on the weather (twice)
*Folbaum on Pope John Paul missing some Easter Week events
*Folbaum on "thousands of Christians" doing the Way of the Cross in Jerusalem
*Folbaum on gorillas at Cincinnati zoo having an easter egg hunt
*Folbaum on a baby elephant at a zoo in Germany getting a paper egg full of his favorite snacks

There was the obligatory political spin:

At 11:26am (ET) Pemmaraju showed a clip of CRice speaking in Beijing, said she's a "major presence on the world stage" & that she has a "great deal of support from foreign leaders", then interviewed Ed Rogers (former aide to GHWBush). Rogers said Rice is the "most powerful woman in world right now", Pemmaraju contrasted RIce's "close relationship" with GWBush vs CPowell's, & Rogers wrapped up with an ode to Condi, calling her "attractive ... articulate ... single ... powerful ... compelling world leader."

At 11:47am Jonathan Hunt reported that some of the Volcker Report has been leaked to the Wall St Journal [comment: & tried, as usual, to make it sound like the end of the world]

There was a piece of fluff:

At 11:54am Pemmaraju interviewed Robert Caploe (exec editor, Ladies Home Journal) re a poll that magazine did about women & spirituality.

But the piece de resistance (sorry, can't seem to do diacritical marks with this software):

At 12:24pm Folbaum interviewed Jerry Dantone (Long Island Secular Humanists ) & Robert Knight (director, Cutlture & Family Inst). Knight immediately started ranting about a "cultural lobotomy" to "make sure we forget where we come from", called it an "attempt to make us forget our Christian heritage" & even dragged in poor Terry Schiavo. When Dantone pointed out that the "Easter bunny" was originally a pagan symbol co-opted by Christians, Knight lost it, & started yelling about how Christ came as a gift to us, so we give gifts to our children & threw out a reference to the "Soviet model." Since Folbaum didn't even attempt to exercise any control, Dantone finally interrupted to say that the "Easter bunny is not offensive, but that is." There was some more yelling from Knight & some attempt to counter from Dantone but, again, Folbaum did nothing to control the discussion, simply ending the interview.

Comment: Folbaum never gave any real background on this story, & when Dantone tried to do so, both Folbaum & Knight talked over him. The Garden Mall (in The Gardens of the Palm Beaches, FL) this year used "Garden Bunny" instead of "Easter Bunny" for their Easter egg hunt. Nearby malls used Baxter the Bunny, Peter Rabbit, the Easter Bunny & no rabbit at all. The mall management that chose "Garden Bunny" apparently thought it was a nod to the multiculturalism of their community that would appeal to consumers & that played well on the name of the mall.

Also, note that the Easter egg hunt in question was held the weekend of March 5-6, the story was written up in the Palm Beach Post on March 11, & FNL waited until March 25 (which just happens to be Good Friday) to "cover" it -- even after Sean Hannity frothed at the mouth about it on March16 (see my colleague Deborah's post about that). Coincidence?

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's coverage of any of the above items). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.