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Aruba: FOX Fantasy Island

Reported by Ellen - June 22, 2005

It was never clear to me why FOX News sent Alan Colmes to Aruba yesterday. Was he supposed to help track down suspects in the Natalee Holloway case? Give the viewers a better "you are there and in the middle of this exciting drama" sense of the up close and personal? I haven't the faintest. Still, I couldn't help but think how Aruba must be the perfect Fantasy Island for FOX News. There Roger Ailes' crew can focus full-time on a telegenic, white victim of a foreign criminal without the inconvenient complications of an insurgency, phantom WMD's, dead GI's, prisoner abuse, a failed Social Security "reform" platform and sinking presidential favorability ratings.

Fortunately for me, Alan Colmes' radio show has largely ignored the Natalee Holloway story and my good luck continued during the first two hours of the show which contained two excellent topics: The first was about Sean Baker, a retired military policeman who was beaten by military MP's while impersonating an unruly detainee during a training exercise at Guantanamo Bay. The only reason the beating stopped, he said, was because his orange jumpsuit was yanked down to reveal his military uniform underneath. Baker didn't want to speculate what might have happened to someone NOT wearing a US military uniform but Colmes' question was answer enough.

The second hour of the show contained another discussion about the Downing Street Memo hearings, this one via an interview with former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who testified last week. This is the fourth segment by my count that Colmes has done on the Downing Street Memo. Once again, I commend him for the coverage.

But my Holloway-free existence came to an end during the third and last hour. As usual, it was dedicated to open phones. Asking the radio audience whether they found the Holloway and other missing-people stories interesting, it seemed to me from the phone calls that the answer was clearly "No." My favorite call came from Ed, in Danville, VA, who questioned the lack of media attention on missing person Osama bin Laden.

Colmes said that unless there's really news, there's nothing to talk about. "Getting on every day and saying 'we haven't found him again today' - there's no news there."

Ed answered that there's no real news about Natalee Holloway, either, that she's still missing. It was a point Colmes conceded but, he added, there is still some drama because there's a new search team and a volunteer citizen who arrived from the States to help out. Eventually, he promised, the story would die away.

Comment: If it's drama they need, why not send Sean Hannity to Tora Bora for some on-the-scene reporting there? I'm sure he'd find plenty of excitement and human interest and the visuals of Sean in a dishdasha in front of the caves would certainly be compelling!

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