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In Folbaum's Own Words: Are You Trying To Spin Me Here?

Reported by Nancy - April 9, 2005 -

Rick Folbaum was in for David Asman on Friday (4/8) on FNL, so there was no new installment of the "Asman Observer". By the last hour of the program, the Pope's funeral was so 10 minutes ago it barely got a nod -- & that nod was only to note that Bush said attending the Pope's funeral was one of the highlights of his presidency. The obligatory car chase was replaced by a goat chase, but otherwise FNL was the usual mix of fear-mongering (bioweapons! nuclear plants!), sleaze (teacher sleeps with students!) & political spin. Forced to discuss Tom DeLay, FNL resorted to the usual whiny complaints & finger-pointing. Kudos to Chris Bell for being well-prepared with facts & figures, & for his excellent countering of Folbaum's standard ploys.

Fear-mongering:
11:59am (all times ET) top stories include: TSA "headed for scrap heap?"
12:11pm toddler in VA falls out of 2nd story window, miraculously unhurt
12:11pm teasers: brand new report says "we are falling short on protecting nuclear power plants"; prof accused of stealing DNA from a lab -- boss says could be used to make a bioweapon
12:14pm Natl Academy of Sciences report says terrorists could get at spent nuclear fuel rods, Folbaum interviewed Sen Richard Shelby
12:20pm teasers: FL prof steals DNA/TB virus
12:22pm Folbaum interviewed Dr Murray Cohen ("bioterrorism analyst") re research scientist Singh Meena, accused of stealing 8 vials of "TB organism" which Folbaum characterized as a potential bioterrorism weapon. When Cohen pointed out that "what this guy stole are not dangerous pathogens" & there are much more likely scenarios than the bioterror ploy (1-petty thief/corporate spy; 2-disgruntled employee; 3-careless innocent error), & that the prompt discovery of the theft shows the system works, Folbaum was annoyed & asked "Are you trying to spin me here?" He suggested that Cohen was trying to put a "positive face" on the incident & claimed a "lotta people would be concerned."
12:27pm teasers: bomb in Cairo market
12:41pm ALERT for video (courtesy of Fox affiliate KTTV) of a building on fire in Mission Viejo CA

Comment: If anyone's "trying to spin" it's FNL. What Meena has been charged with is "petty theft [of vials of DNA from a TB study], offense against intellectual property and obstruction by false information" according to local Florida news sources.

Sleaze:
11:59am top stories include: CA teacher having sex with 3 of her male students
12:06pm 26yo CA teacher accused of having sex with 3 HS students, all 17yo
12:07pm police confirm "what Geraldo reported weeks ago" - JLunsford *may* have still been alive when cops stopped by Couey's sister's trailer
12:07pm Jim Hammer re MJackson
12:20pm teasers: goat in "a big city"
12:38pm teasers: CA teacher having sex with her students

Political spin:

12:42pm - Following a clip of Tom DeLay ("arrogant out-of-control judiciary") Folbaum opined that his comments are "apparently generating some backlash" & wondered if the Dems have the ammo to take him down. Folbaum interviewed former Representative Chris Bell (D-TX). Folbaum said that Culverson was scheduled to participate in this segment but was unavailable, & he hoped to be able to interview him separately later (this did not happen in the remaining part of this program).

Folbaum asked why Bell thinks DeLay is "vulnerable". Bell said it's not just his recent comments & actions, not just TSchaivo, noting that he (Bell) filed an ethics complaint against DeLay last year & DeLay was admonished. Bell said that now the media & the general public "has awakened" to DeLay's conduct & that there has been roughly "one revelation per week since January." Folbaum tried the standard finger-pointing -- "doesn't that happen all the time on Capitol Hill?" -- but Bell, while acknowledging "I'm sure there are others", pointed out that the "American public is wise enough" to see that $500,000 is too much (DeLay's wife was paid $500,000 for being an "idea person"). Folbaum fell back on the victim ploy, noting that Bell is a Dem, claiming that DeLay is a "lightning rod" & that "liberals" are out to get DeLay. Folbaum said the NYTimes & WaPo "run editorials slamming this guy" & whined that it's "not fair." Bell pointed out there have also been editorials about DeLay in the Wall St Journal (which, in an excess of understatement, he wryly called "not exactly liberal") & that even the school newspaper at Texas A&M ran an editorial, so it's "not just Democrats" who are questioning DeLay's behavior. Bell also pointed out that "any time ethics are discussed" GOPs always want to say it's a "smear campaign" & never want to talk about the specific charges, but when "the American public starts focusing they see how serious" the charges are. Folbaum tried to imply that DeLay still has support, at least in his home state & district, but Bell said a recent poll by the Houston Chronicle showed only 30% support for DeLay in his own district, & noted that DeLay only got about 50% of the vote in that heavily GOP district.

Comment: Just one example of FNL's bias -- by using non-neutral words like "vulnerable" & "lightning rod" to describe DeLay, Folbaum tries to imply that DeLay is a victim of groundless accusations. Bravo to Bell for coming to this interview with facts & figures to disprove that.

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