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Trapped Russian Sub? It's All About Us!

Reported by Nancy - August 5, 2005 -

Today (8/5) on FNL, Rick Folbaum was in for David Asman. Instead of the usual Friday menu of fluff & sleaze, the focus was on 7 Russian sailors in a mini-sub, stranded at the bottom of the Pacific off the Russian coast & running out of air. Curiously (or maybe not), most of the reporting was about what the US doing in response to the crisis.

Here are the related segments from the last hour of the program:

12:07pm - ALERT - Folbaum said that 1 hr from now the Russian military will try to rescue 7 stranded in mini-sub to intro Dana Lewis in Moscow, who reported that it "may be the US Navy that comes to the rescue."

12:13pm - ALERT - Folbaum repeated info about the Russian mini-sub & added that Russian state TV reported that a rescue vessel is now towing the sub into shallower waters

12:18pm - teasers included: US Navy helping to rescue Russian sailors

12:22pm - ALERT - Folbaum announced a "potentially important development" & Dana Lewis in Moscow reported that the Russians "have been able to hook on to the sub & are trying to raise the vessel while it's being towed."

12:29pm - teasers included: trapped Russian crew

12:32pm - ALERT - Greg Kelly at the Pentagon reported on the US effort to rescue the stranded Russian sub. Kelly brought up the similar incident with the Kursk, but only to crticize Russia about that ("hapless") & recount the criticism of Putin for his mishandling of it.

12:35pm - Kris Van Cleave of Fox "sister station" in San Diego reported on the US Navy's effort to rescue the stranded Russian sub.

12:40pm - teasers included: trapped Russian sailors ("US equipment is on the way")

12:42pm - ALERT - Folbaum repeated that US teams are on the way to help the stranded Russian sailors, but it seems the "Russians [are] actually making some progress"

12:46pm - teasers included: stranded Russian sub

12:55pm - Folbaum read a short blurb repeating info about the Russian sub, adding that "help from other countries like the US is on the way"

Comments: Aside from the typical overuse of ALERTs, especially to repeat info, note how quickly this morphed into the standard "we're so swell" narcissistic, self-indulgent navel-gazing. FNL could have used this incident to educate viewers about, for example, the dangers all submariners (including those in the US Navy) face, or even something "fluffier" like interviewing someone who has been involved in a similar incident (a rescuer or a survivor). Certainly they've got someone in their huge stable of "military analysts" who would have something germane to contribute. I was glad that Kelly brought up the Kursk, because that was my first thought when they announced this crisis, but it's too bad he didn't include other similar incidents, like the Thresher. For anyone interested in history, National Geographic (of course) has a very interesting & comprehensive piece on submarine disasters.


NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's coverage of the stranded Russian sub). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.