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Chetry Shines on FNL

Reported by Nancy - April 21, 2005 -

Today (4/21) on FNL, Kiran Chetry replaced Brigitte Quinn, & what a difference! Chetry turned in a very impressive performance -- she's far readier for the "big time" than Quinn could ever hope to be. Chetry read the usual short blurbs & teasers without the tabloid tone & unsubtle body language (think of the dreamy look Quinn gets every time she mentions Bush's name). When Chetry interviewed guests, she actually asked questions rather than stating opinions with a question mark at the end. Most of all, she let her guests speak. When David Asman joined Chetry, the contrast became even sharper.

Chetry's bio at foxnews.com notes that she received a BA in broadcast journalism from the U of Maryland’s College of Journalism. Neither Asman's nor Quinn's bio mentions any academic credentials. More than a coincidence?

Here are 3 interview segments -- two with Chetry, one with Asman -- to illustrate the differences (keeping in mind that mere transcription or description doesn't begin to convey the differences in tone, volume, speed, etc).

11:06am - Chetry noted that fpmer US Ambassador Thomas Hubbard has spoken out against Bolton, while Bush continues to defend Bolton, & interviewed Michael Isikoff (Newsweek), who has written about this in Newsweek. Chetry began with an open-ended question that allowed Isikoff to give a fair amount of background on Hubbard, Bolton & their prior relationship, including one specific instance where Bolton got so angry over a relatively trivial issue that he slammed the phone down while speaking with Hubbard. Chetry waited for Isikoff to pause, then asked if Hubbard's criticism is "problematic" because he's so well-respected. Isikoff agreed, pointing out that Hubbard has been GWBush's Ambassador to South Korea & that the bigger problem is a speech Bolton gave where he insulted North Korea & set international relations back significantly. Chetry again waited for Isikoff to finish that explanation, then asked why Hubbard had thanked Bolton. Isikoff explained that Hubbard & Bolton appeared to have different interpretations of the same event. Chetry then asked why Bush wants this nomination so much, & Isikoff said that once something like this becomes a "political mudfight" then both sides dig in & see a loss as great than just this one fight, more as part of a larger power struggle. Chetry ended the interview by noting that, for viewers who are interested, Isikoff's article is online at newsweek.com .

Comment: Isikoff is no slouch, & Chetry left well enough alone, allowing him to offer his perspective on what was going on with this whole situation. Her questions were actual questions, & actually related to the subject at hand. Her tone was normal volume & speed, & she didn't stumble over words or phrases, instead speaking clearly & succinctly.

11:16am - Chetry interviewed Michael Meehan (fomerly with Kerry-Edwards campaign) & Brad Blakeman (former "deputy assistant" to Bush) about Rep Tom DeLay (R-TX) [comment: Meehan & Blakeman are often paired on FNL]. Chetry opened by asking Meehan what is his "biggest beef" about Delay. Meehan started to rehash some of the background (how DeLay forced out the chair of the ethics committee & changed House rules). Blakeman said GOPs want to use "common sense" & "45 days is a long time". Chetry turned back to Meehan & asked if 45 days were enough. Meehan laughed & said Congress "can't pass a budget in a year" so how can they complete a complex investigation in 45 days. Meehan brought up the fact that in the midst of all the brouhaha, DeLay had a political fundraiser last night hosted by energy company that Jack Abramaoff used to lobby for. Chetry brought them back on a narrower topic, asking whether the constant revelations ("day after day") aren't hurting GOPs in general. Blakeman shrugged this off, claiming that Dems want to act like they're the majority but they're not, & "when they don't get their way" they filibuster. He claimed that DeLay "asked for" a hearing but Dems said "no" because they "want to continue to try him" in the media. Chetry turned back to Meehan & asked "Why not just go for it?" Meehan pointed out that Rep Hastings made his proposal at a press conf, & said that if Hastings were serious he should have sat down with Dems & figured it out.

Comment: Chetry controlled these 2 sometimes rambunctious talking heads effortlessly, givng neither one too much free rein.

11:34am - Right after Asman joined the program, there was an ALERT so Asman could announce that 2 of Bush's appellate court nominees (Priscilla Owens & Janice Brown) had been approved by committee vote (10-8 in each case). He then interviewed C Boyden Gray (White House counsel to GHWBush) & Jack Quinn (counsel to BClinton). Asman asked if Quinn were surprised by the vote. Quinn started to reply, saying the vote was "along party lines" & pointing out that both these judges are "highly controversial" but he never got to finish. Asman interrupted, talking over Quinn to ask what makes them controversial. Quinn said they're each "judicial activists" & "harsh ideologues" & Asman interrupted again, saying he wanted to "avoid name-calling." He then gave a glowing mini-bio of ("daughter of a sharecropper" who "rose up valiantly") & asked Gray what makes her a "judic acitivist." Gray, of course, claimed he didn't know what Quinn was talking about & futher claimed that both Owens & Brown are "highly regarded." Asman then asked Gray is he were surprised by the vote. Gray said he wasn't surprised, he was "relieved" & repeated that these 2 are "well-regarded" nominees. He then claimed that Dems are "upset" that Bush had the "temerity" to renominate them & trotted out the standard RNC line about how they should get an "up-or-down" vote. Asman asked Quinn if Dems will filibuster. Quinn started to point out that he's not a member of the Senate, but Asman interrupted (again), trying to goad Quinn into a prediction. Quinn stuck to his point, saying it's important that the Senate behave with propriety, according to their own rules. He added that Bush ought to behave properly too, that Bush's "I don't care" attitude doesn't contribute to cooperation & that as long as Bush "insists" on having his own way & "disregarding" Senate procedures ... but he didn't get to finish his thoughts because Asman interrupted (again) to comment (in what he seemed to think was a jocular way) that there would be "no filibustering here" & turn things over to Gray, who said that appellates nominees "don't require" that Bush consult with the opposition, & repeated the line about these judges deserving an "up-or-down" vote. Asman ended with a plus for Hannity & Colmes.

Comment: Asman had so much to say it was hard for his guests to get a word in edgewise. He talked over both (Quinn more than Gray), did the "I'm so jolly" routine & generally behaved like a 4-year-old on speed. Unlike Chetry, who coolly & calmly controlled the course of her interviews without raising her voice or interrupting her guests, Asman made things worse by injecting himself into the process from beginning to end. Quinn did a decent job, given the conditions he was up against.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Chetry's & Asman's interview "styles" as evidenced by these interviews). O/T comments will be deleted. Please use the O/T category from the list at right to post unrelated comments. Thanks.