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Smells & Bells

Reported by Nancy - April 5, 2005 -

Today (4/5) FNL gave only a minimal obligatory nod to the Pope, with Greg Burke reporting on the "mess" in Rome & cleverly saying that "some" call all the pageantry "smells & bells" -- the standard Fox ploy of attributing a snide remark to the elusive "some" who allegedly say it. Brigitte Quinn & David Asman went into paroxysms about Peter Jennings having lung cancer. The only thing that diverted their attention from Jennings was a classic car chase in Los Angeles, to which they devoted nearly the last 18 minutes of the program -- without even an ad break! Bonus for me: no Asman Observer.

11:19am ALERT Quinn said AP quotes ABC News that Peter Jennings has lung cancer & will begin treatment next week.
11:23am following an ad break there was another ALERT so Quinn could repeat the info about Jennings, then interview Dr Isadore Rosenfeld by phone. Rosenfeld explained a little about what might or might have happened (e.g., biopsy) & what might or might not happen (e.g., chemotherapy).
11:32am Quinn repeated the info re PJennings
11:36am Quinn said there was new info re PJennings, then repeated essentially the same old info.
11:43am Asman said the "big story" is PJennings
11:46am Quinn repeated info about PJennings
11:54am Quinn repeated the info PJennings.
11:58am Asman read an ALERT re PJennings.
11:59am Lisa Bernhard repeated the info about PJennings & Asman interviewed Dr Janice Dutcher (NY Med College) re lung cancer.
12:09pm Asman read teasers, including: PJennings
12:17pm teasers included: PJennings
12:25pm teasers included: PJennings
12:30pm there was an ALERT so Asman could repeat that PJennings has lung cancer, then interview Bob Zelnick (former colleague of Jennings).
12:41pm Asman reading teasers, including: PJennings

Comment: For a program that rarely covers health topics, FNL missed an opportunity to give viewers some real info they could use, instead choosing to spend 15+ minutes (broken up into teeny segments) on largely useless speculation -- the info offered by Drs Rosenfeld & Dutcher should have been highlighted, not lost in a morass of gossip. And while both Asman & Quinn put on a pose of sincere concern, you could almost see the career wheels turning in their tiny little brains.

Car chase:
12:41pm Asman started reading teasers (PJennings; shuttle Discovery; emu chase in KA) then segued into live video of a car chase in Los Angeles, interspersed with live commentary from a KTTV helicopter & excitement galore from Asman ("Whoa!" "Woo!" "Whoa!" "Wow!"). Eventually, at 12:55pm Asman interviewed Rick Robinson (former WV state trooper) by phone about the car chase, while continuing the audio/video feed from the KTTV helicopter.

Comment: Here's an ALERT for FNL: Eye candy doesn't equal "news".

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