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Nope, No Karl Rove Here Either

Reported by Nancy - July 23, 2005 -

Yesterday (7/22) on FNL Bob Sellers was in for David Asman. There was much hullaballoo about the bombing attempts in London (complete with Fred Barnes advocating racial profiling & the suspension of civil liberties in the US, the UK & apparently everywhere else too), but Karl Rove was conspicuously absent.

Several interviews stood out during the last hour of the program:

12:16pm (EDT) - Sellers showed a clip of TBlair, then interviewed John Prideaux (political correspondent, "The Economist") about the suspects in the London bombings. Sellers did the usual FNL "tough as nails, rah rah Patriot Act" shtick, but Prideaux was calm & not at all rabble-rousing or foaming-at-the-mouth. At the end of the interview, Sellers asked if "laws need to be toughened" & Prideaux said "new laws will make people FEEL safer" but it's tough to know if they'll be effective.

12:24pm - Sellers interviewed Wesley Clark (Fox News Analyst) about the people arrested in Pakistan & US-Pakistan relations in general [no pun intended]. Clark kept saying it's "very complicated" & did his best to explain, in the ~3 mins alloted, some things that Fox viewers rarely hear: we need Musharraf to help us, he depends on some of the radical fundamentalist leaders for his support, he controls Pakistan's nukes, he "does as much as he thinks he can do." Clark also reminded us that ""we [the US] built up the extremists ... to provide a way to go after the Soviets in Afghanistan" & once that was done "we forgot about it." Sellers finally commented, "yeah, you've got protests ... from the masses" & asked "how do you change that attitude?" Clark claimed that Musharraf says if we give him $3B "he'll handle the madrassas" & repeated how it's "very complicated" (e.g., Pakistant is a "huge nation" with "gross disparity of income" & is "insular").

12:42pm - Sellers interviewed Fred Barnes (reactionary ideologue & regular talking head on FNC). There was significant audio interference at the beginning of the segment, with Sellers even asking if someone was trying to attach a mike to Barnes. But Barnes's attitude came through loud & clear. Sellers hardly had to ask questions to get Barnes going. After Barnes had proclaimed ""we should have racial profiling", & "there is a profile for terrorists & we know what it is" he asked "is that going to reduce civil liberties?" & answered nonchalantly "maybe." He claimed that we "already see efforts to weaken" the PATRIOT ACT. He said "there is no silver bulltet" so we should use "wiretaps", "random checks" & library records, & that "pretending those are great violations of civil liberties is wrong." Sellers finally got a word in edgewise, noting that "there's a change in tone, kind of a 9/11 sense coming back" but Barnes was not about to be mollified & said there's been a "LITTLE bit of a change" since the London bombings, "but slowly, not as much as you might think." He said "people are urged to look around & spot anything that might be unusual."

12:50pm - Sellers interviewed Clara Conti (intro'd as "security & tech analyst"), who spent most of her time plugging IPIX 360-deg camers + video analytics software, basically proposing that we blanket the entire country (& possibly the entire planet) with spy stuff. When Sellers asked how much her proposed hi-tech "solutions" would cost, she airily dismissed that concern, saying it "varies, but it's irrelevant" when you're talking about making people secure. Sellers persisted, asking "if money was no object, what would you like to see done?" Conti said "exactly what IPIX did for the inauguration this year."
Comment: surprise, surprise -- Conti is CEO of IPIX. This "interview" was essentially a free ad for that company.

General comment: Why no Rove? FNL wants to discuss national security? Making people feel safer? Why no Rove? What about what happens when someone (or more than one "someones") at the White House leaks/confirms -- however you want to put it -- the identity of a covert agent. For a bunch of folks who get all tied up in knots over "national security", they're awfully nonchalant over "someone" undermining it if that "someone" is a "senior official" in the Bush administration. WHY NO ROVE?

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (any of the above interview topics or guests, lack of Rove). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.