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"One World" Concept, According to FNC

Reported by Nancy - April 5, 2005 -

I had my VCR set to tape the replay of Special Report last night (4/4), but what I got instead was an hour in the middle of Rick Folbaum & Heather Nauert co-anchoring a special on the Pope ("The Death of Pope John Paul II"), complete with soft-focus graphics & vaguely reverential music (unlike the usual FNC garish graphics & hideous musical "themes") & lots of video of Swiss Guards, St Peter's (inside the basilica, outside in the square), the 2-mile-long lines of people waiting, etc. There were interviews with a variety of people. Big surprise: everybody loved the Pope. Inadvertently funny was the tagline FNC used for this special: "One Man, One Calling, One World." One World? Definitely NOT the message FNC usually broadcasts.

While I can't tell you about Special Report, here's what was included in the 1 hour of the "special" on the Pope:

At 12:00am (all times ET) David Lee Miller reported from St Peter's Square about details of arrangements for the Pope's lying in state & funeral.

At 12:06am Nauert interviewed Msgr Joe Carroll (St Vincent de Paul Village, San Diego). When Nauert prefaced a question with a comment on the Pope's "background" as an actor, Carroll got in a good response: he retorted that what was good for Ronald Reagan was good for John Paul.

At 12:13am Folbaum played a clip from The O'Reilly Factor, with O'Reilly interviewing Michael Cromartie (Ethics & Public Policy Center) & James Fisher (Theology Prof). The discussion was ostensibly about religious issues (church attendance, the Christian message, etc), but Fisher threw in a gratuitous bash at Dems.

At 12:21am, following clips of Bush & Blair statements about the Pope, Nauert interviewed Father Thomas Euteneuer (pres of Human Life International) about various world leaders the Pope spoke with -- e.g., Castro, Gorbachev.

At 12:31am Amy Kellogg filed a report from Poland about the Pope's childhood.

At 12:40am Folbaum interviewed Rabbi Marc Schneir (Fndtn for Ethnic Understanding), who met with the Pope twice, about the Pope's visit to Israel & about future Catholic-Jewish relations.

At 12:49am Mike Tobin reported from the Vatican about how Italy will handle the security arrangements for the Pope's funeral. Nauert interrupted him to ask about what people waiting to get into St Peter's had to "go through" & both were surprised that there's no security screening. Tobin wrapped it up with the usual not-so-subtle Fox spin: "Of course the threat of terrorism will be on everyone's minds."

At 12:54am Eric Shawn reported on the Pope's travels around the world.

General comment: Seeing coverage like this on Fox, I couldn't help but compare it to coverage I've seen on other cable news networks (unavoidable, if you turn on a TV). No one on this FNC "special" (guest or staff) mentioned that Bush cribbed the "culture of life" phrase from the Pope. No one mentioned that the Pope's "culture of life" included opposition to the death penalty & to war in general, as well as to the war in Iraq in particular. No one mentioned his emphasis on social justice. There was some minor predictable spin (Nauert & Tobin re "terror!") & self-promotion (replaying an interview from another FNC program), but this program in general was a good example of some of the problems of filling up 24 hours a day with "news" -- lots of eye candy, mindless commentary from staff, boring opinions from minor guests.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (the special, "The Death of Pope John Paul II"). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.