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Ill-Prepared--Or Just Plain Stupid?

Reported by Judy - May 18, 2005

It's a debate I have with myself everytime I watch The Big Story with John Gibson -- Is John Gibson too lazy to get prepared for the show, or is he just plain stupid? Stupid won out today (May 18).

Gibson tried to interview retired Air Force General Tom McInerney, a Fox News analyst, about a story in The New York Times saying the Air Force is asking Bush to permit the use of weapons in space. I only know what the story is about because I read it in the newspaper, not because of anything either Gibson or McInerney said.

Gibson's summary of the Times story was that "we're going back to space and this time we're taking guns." Not very helpful. McInenery said the Times headline, whatever it was, was wrong. Meanwhile, the screen is full of rockets being launched, radio signals beaming out from satellites, lasers zapping orbiting space ships, and so on. For a minute, I thought it was a preview of the new Star Wars movie.

McInenery managed to keep talking without saying anything, noting that satellites in space are important for banking and other commercial activities that make globalization possible and that the military is "very interested in protecting the assets we have there." He said, "Everybody ought to hope we have got the resources to protect those assets."

Gibson obviously wanted his assets protected but not having a clue what the issue was, asked, "So what is somebody proposing that we do? Are we talking about satellites in space or protecting Los Angeles from a North Korean rocket?"

McInenery said the U.S. has equipment to tell us when rockets are launched (I guess he meant that we don't have to worry about a sneak attack from North Korea).

Still lost, Gibson asked, "Is there a difference between whatever it is we're really doing and what we might do that would launch a space arms race?"

McInenery insisted there was not, saying, "All we're doing and all they want to do is to protect the assets we have."

Gibson might at least have read the Times article before interviewing somebody about it, especially somebody who wants to tear it down. If he were interviewing the author of the article, he probably could have gotten away with not reading it. This way, it didn't work.

The next time somebody in the White House wants Fox News to undermine a New York Times article, they'd better specify a reporter smart enough to understand the story he or she is supposed to debunk.

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