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Crisis Management Needed in the Aftermath of Bush's Speech

Reported by Nancy - June 30, 2005 -

Yesterday (6/29), FNL could barely muster any enthusiasm for Bush's Tuesday night prime-time speech (compare & contrast with the wall-to-wall pre-speech hype). FNL resorted to their staple "hard news" -- ongoing blather about Natalee Holloway, & the usual fluff & eye candy (gator on the loose in Florida! wildfires in Utah!) -- but FNC staff seemed glum & withdrawn.

Here's an example of how FNL's attempt at damage control backfired when guests were uncooperative.

12:46pm (ET) - teaser: how well did Bush do last night - interview with 2 "crisis management consultants"

Following the ad break, Asman interviewed Eric Dezenhall & Peter Mirijanian (the "crisis management consultants" & regular talking heads on FNL). Asman showed a short clip of Bush's speech (the part where, according to Asman, Bush got "emotional"). Mirijanian's initial assessment was that Bush did "very well" considering that he's "competing with headlines" that "aren't good." Mirijanian also noted that the use of 9/11 is "wearing a little thin." Asman tried to stir things up by claiming that "Zarqawi was there when Saddam Hussein was in power." Dezenhall ignored that & said that Bush & others claim that 9/11 "changed everything" but it didn't, "we're still watching Oprah." Asman, always looking for someone to blame, asked "Whose fault is that?" & if the US is "not energized" should Bush "take partial blame for that?" Mirijanian talked about "politics seeping in" but stopped short of blaming Bush for anything. Asman said that "just a COUPLE of Republicans" are pushing for an exit strategy & Dezenhall again refused the bait, preferring to return to his theme of the "broader cultural phenomenon" ("we don't see it [the war in Iraq] as personally relevant"). Asman, getting desperate, read an "email from an ex-Navy Seal" who wants Bush to "be out there every day making his case" for the war. Mirijanian demurred, saying he's "not sure" about that. Asman persisted, noting that the "nature of war is messy" & invoking Winston Churchill ("blood, sweat & tears"). Since his guests still weren't cheerleading, Asman took on that role, invoking 9/11 ("we had no choice, we were attacked by our enemies"). Mirijanian cynically said that "only people who lost people on 9/11" still feel that way. Asman feigned shock, & said there had been a "wellspring of sympathy" after 9/11. Mirijanian agreed, but said that "Iraq is very different", that our "attention span for this war is waning" & that there are "some concerns even among the military."

Comment: Too bad Dezenhall & Mirijanian weren't afforded more time. Dezenhall in particular seems to have a very interesting take on our current cultural melt-down. But who am I kidding? That's not why FNL invited them. They were invited to put a glowing spin on Bush's speech. When they didn't, Asman made sure to hit the FNC-approved talking points: Zarqawi ... Hussein ... Al Qaeda ... Iraq ... 9/11 -- no wonder Fox viewers believe there's a connection. And Asman's attempt to conflate Bush with Churchill? Bwahahahaha.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's coverage after Bush's speech). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.