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Happy Bastille Day!

Reported by Nancy - July 15, 2005 -

No, FNL didn't wish viewers Happy Bastille Day (which is probably just as well, since they would merely have used it as yet another excuse to indulge in some France-bashing). FNL was much too busy doing damage control for RoveGate. David Asman, for example, used demonstably false talking points in an effort to discredit Ambassador Joe Wilson.

Here's just one sample of the endless interviews, bloviating, spin & speculation -- none of it, of course, clearly labelled as "opinion" -- viewers are being subjected to, courtesy of this "hard news" program.

At 12:22pm (EDT) David Asman said that Joe Wilson called on Bush to fire Rove, but Bush said he's not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. Asman then interviewed Mary Ann Marsh ("Dem strategist") & Alan Raul (former White House counsel). Asman gave a brief [comment: & biased & inaccurate] summary of the situation: in July 2003 Wilson said Cheney hired him & Iraqis never bought yellowcake. Asman continued, "So Rove says he's [Wilson] lying" & asked essentially what's the big deal. Marsh scored a good opening point: "What is the White House political director doing talking with reporters" about national security & intel info. Raul chimed in with the alread-classic talking points: Rove "wasn't out to smear anybody", Rove "didn't initiate the call" & Rove "was responding to something Wilson put into play."

Asman interrupted to show completely unrelated video of Bush travelling, then stated that "Wilson lied about his wife not being involved" & asked "Should that play a role?" Marsh said that "All facts should be on the table" & observed that if Rove could respond to a phone call then, it's curious that he won't respond to questions now. Asman tried to defend Rove -- "Hasn't he already attempted to do that" with a waiver -- & Raul dutifully followed that lead, piously proclaiming what a super-duper "degree of cooperation that both Rove & the White House have provided." Raul also claimed that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has asked Rove not to speak about this publicly. Asman said he wanted to make a "final point" & announced that Wilson would be holding a press conference later with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), which Asman opined was a "partisan" move. Marsh got in a good comeback -- that GOPs "would like this to be partisan" so Asman talked over her, asking "Wouldn't it be better if he appeared alone?" Marsh was on a roll, & said "It would be better if Karl Rove appeared with him."

Comment: So let's debunk just one of the talking points echoed by Asman & Raul (& every other reactionary over the past few days). The original NYTimes op-ed piece written by Wilson, "What I Didn't Find in Africa", is available in the NYT archives for a fee, but has been widely reproduced around the web, including here

Asman said Wilson claimed Cheney hired him. What Wilson wrote:

In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. ... The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office.

After consulting with the State Department's African Affairs Bureau (and through it with Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick, the United States ambassador to Niger), I agreed to make the trip. The mission I undertook was discreet but by no means secret. While the C.I.A. paid my expenses (my time was offered pro bono), I made it abundantly clear to everyone I met that I was acting on behalf of the United States government.

Gee, what a surprise. Wilson does NOT claim that Cheney hired him. He specifically states that he was asked by the CIA to take on this project.

For even more debunking, see this article about the "Wilson/Rove Research & Talking Points'' memo distributed by RNC Director of Television Carolyn Weyforth

As for the "cooperation" offered by Rove & the Bush admin, does anyone besides me remember how they've fought every Special Counsel & every investigatory commission, tooth & nail, for the past 5 years?

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Asman's interview with Marsh & Raul, the Wilson/Rove talking points). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.