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Hundreds Dead in Baghdad? Let's Listen to Brett Favre!

Reported by Nancy - August 31, 2005 -

Until today (8/31), I had high hopes for Bill Hemmer as anchor on FNL. He is certainly more professional than his immediate predecessor, David Asman. But he is saddled with talking points that are typically Foxian & producers who invariably choose eye candy over substance. By those standards, video of Air Force One flying around is worthy of an awful lot of air time.

The last hour of today's program was another good illustration of what NOT to do if you're going to pretend to be presenting "hard news". Here are the segments that weren't exclusively about Katrina:

12:05pm (EDT) - ALERT - Hemmer announced that Bush is "getting ready to board Air Force One", then read a Scott McClellan quote (Katrina may be the "worst natural disaster in our nation's history") & noted that Bush may visit areas affected by Katrina.
12:08pm - Hemmer reported that the US Navy sending 4 ships to Gulf coast, & that "thousands" of National Guard troops are already helping, as are search dogs (video), adding that Bush is "ending his vacation 2 days early".
12:33pm - Hemmer announced ("word just in") that "Air Force One will make a flyover" of the disaster area, & that Bush will be meeting later today with the disaster relief Task Force
12:37pm - Andrew Stack in Baghdad began to report on the "largest single day loss of life since this war began", caused by a "mortar & rocket attack" on Shiite pilgrims, but was interrupted for "breaking news" which turned out to be ...
12:38pm - video of Air Force One flying over the Superdome
12:39pm - FNL went "back to Jeff Goldblatt" in New Orleans, interviewed 2 men trying to reunite with their families but FNL used a split screen, with 2/3 showing video of Air Force One flying around
12:42pm - FNL went live to a Bret Favre (Green Bay Packers quarterback) "news conference" for his comments about the damage in New Orleans & Hattiesburg, where his family lives. Again, FNL used the split screen with 2/3 video of New Orleans, interspersed with video of Air Force One flying around
12:54pm - Hemmer briefly recapped what Favre had been saing, then interviwed Dr Marc Levitan (LSU Hurricane Center Director) about the broken levees in New Orleans
1:00pm - to end the hour, Hemmer re-showed video of Air Force One flying around

Today's scorecard -- Bush: ~8 mins; Favre: 14 uninterrupted mins; Baghdad death toll: <1 min.

Comments: Please tell me there is no one out there willing to say that Favre's "press conference" was a newsworthy event worth 14 uninterrupted minutes of air time. And does anyone care to speculate WHERE the video of Air Force One flying around came from? Some of it was obviously shot from cameras on the ground, but plenty of it was equally obviously shot from camerasa in a plane flying above & to the side of Air Force One. If that was a military plane, does the Pentagon have a direct feed to Fox? If it wasn't a miitary plane, what does that say about security for Air Force One?

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's choice to cover Air Force One flying around & Favre talking about his family, over New Orleans or Baghdad). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.