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Within 45 Minutes FOX Does a 180 on Looting Coverage

Reported by Marie Therese - August 31, 2005

At the beginning of last night's O'Reilly Factor [8/30/05], substitute host John Kasich questioned FOX News correspondent Jeff Goldblatt about the looting going on in New Orleans. Within 45 minutes the entire tone of the coverage changed.

KASICH: " ... People down there, who have observed this, have been outraged - tell us what you've seen."

At 8:05 PM EDT reporting from the French Quarter Goldblatt answered:

"I have seen that but I wouldn't characterize it as looting. I'd characterize it as survival. I've seen people go into stores.

[Clips on screen showing African-Americans with plastic bags in their hands, a New Orleans Police squad car, a boarded up Foot Locker store.]

"They're taking things but they're going in there and then passing that food out. They say: 'I have to eat and this is the only way I can do so.' On the other hand, like, for example, I heard about a Wal-Mart opening its doors and letting anyone go inside and take anything they want. That's what my hotel manager told me and then I asked him: 'Hey, maybe we should go.' And then they said: 'No. That's obviously for people who need it very much so.' So, I mean, it is a situation of survival right now."

[Clips end.]

"We're not sure how much longer it's gonna go on for. We are in a communication bubble. There's limited telephone service. No electricity. No gasoline. No water. At the same point in time people here on the street seem to have a lot of hope. When you see the members of the Army National Guard go by, people wave to them, they wave back to you. Everyone seems to have an upbeat attitude - very positive. They feel very fortunate that they got through this and there's just also a lot of uncertainty. It is certainly a day of unknowns and one of the more worrisome ones is, you know, is that water come gonna come up any more."

KASICH: "I gotcha. Jeff, that's the most optimistic report I've heard. I've been down all day and, frankly, you've lifted mine and, I'll bet a lot of spirits...."

At 8:48 PM EDT John Kasich felt it necessary, under the guise of a FOX News Alert,to amend Goldblatt's earlier positive report on looting.

KASICH: "This is a FOX News Alert. Ladies and gentlemen, we're looking at new video of looting in New Orleans. You might remember at the top of the show ... Jeff Goldblatt - I asked him the question about looting in New Orleans and he said that he thought that some people were in need and that's what - that's what he had heard most of this was about. Probably true - there's some people that were looting because they needed but I'll bet there were also - and we can see here - some people that just saw an opportunity to take advantage. It's - uh - you know, it can brings out - bring out the worst of people."

The following clips were aired during Kasich's remarks:

1) An African-American cop in a blue shirt pointing a rifle at an African-American looter, forcing him to drop the armful of clothing he was holding;

2) Many African-Americans hip-deep in water, only one of whom had a black plastic bag in hand;

3) Two African-Americans carrying plastic bags and one carrying shoe boxes, scattered among many passers-by, while two Caucasian cops in black with white badges, one carrying a rifle, dragged an inflatable raft behind them, filled with items tied up in a white cloth or towel;

4) A Caucasian cop apparently with no weapon standing next to an African-American cop, who used his rifle to take swipe at an African-American youth, who had nothing in his hands - no one in the crowd had anything in their hands either;

5) Crowd scene, people knee-deep in water - three men (two in black pants, one in blue, bulges around their waist area) with large white badges on their short-sleeved black shirts (looked a lot like police uniforms as in earlier clips) carrying stuff on their heads, while two young men ran from the left to the right in the foreground, one holding a white plastic bag;

6) Standing in the doorway of a store, a blonde, short-haired Caucasian woman holding up a beer or soda bottle while a blonde teen-ager (possibly her son) removed the hanger from a pair of pants and then stuffed them in her large purse;

7) In a crowd of many people an African-American man in a black-and white shirt carrying red boxes and a very large plastic bag filled with what appeared to be shoe boxes;

8) An African-American woman throwing something, then kicking at the glass (plastic?) door of an (electronics?) store while two people look on;

9) Blue-shirted African-American officer with rifle forcing an African-American youth to throw down a plastic container filled with athletic shoes;

10) Two African-American women - one carrying a red plastic bag, the other pushing an inflatable raft filled with boxes - accompanied by two young boys carrying smaller bags;

11) Blue-shirted Caucasian police officer inside store forcibly evicted Hispanic man;

12) Four African-American men pushing an entire store display rack filled with wrapped items, that looked a lot like various food items, but could have been something else.

13) Two men pushing a double-decker store display case containing various type of electronic equipment.

COMMENT

Wow! What a shift in less than an hour!

According to an AP report filed today [8/31/05], it would seem that the great majority of those left in New Orleans are so consumed with survival that the main articles being looted are food items and bottled water.

Residents are also stealing alcoholic beverages and guns. One might assume that the beer is being taken by those who are addicted to it and that at least some of the guns might be needed to protect life, limb and property from heavily armed roaming street gangs and prisoners released from jails .

It will be interesting to see how FOX handles the coverage of Blue Louisiana and Red Mississippi. I predict that the Louisiana situation will be portrayed as a massive example of governmental incompetence and ineptitude, traceable directly to Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco's administration, while Mississippi's Governor Haley Barbour will be treated as the beleaguered hero helping his stalwart people to rebuild.

Wait and see! FOX will favor Mississippi at every turn and make Louisiana look like a mess.

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