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The Hagiography Channel

Reported by Nancy - September 3, 2005 -

On Friday (9/2) FNL was back to business-as-usual. The focus was still the aftermath of Katrina, but the emphasis was all Bush. Bill Hemmer marked time by detailing every move that Bush was making. Viewers spent most of the noon hour watching split-screen displays, with the larger 2/3 of the screen devoted either to fires in New Orleans or to Bush's peregrinations. The smaller 1/3 was grudgingly allowed to display guests being interviewed or correspondents filing reports.

During the noon hour, a significant amount of time was devoted to Bush & to presenting Bush administration actions in a positive light:
12:16pm - FNL showed a clip of Bush speaking in AL
12:17pm - Hemmer interviewed Chris Wallace (also of FNC) about "how high are the stakes for Bush". Wallace trotted out the line about "fingerpointing", Hemmer made the obligatory reference to Bush at Ground Zero after 9/11,
12:20pm - FNL showed the "first tape out of Biloxi" which was Marine One flying around
12:21pm - the interview with Wallace continued, with Hemmer lobbing some softball questions about "hindsight" & Wallace ultimately acknowledging that there is "some legitimate concern whether they [the Bush administration] got the relief effort off fast enough."
12:30pm - Hemmer talked about "stunning images & drama" & announced that FNL was "waiting for videotape" of Bush's "live tour"
12:32pm - Hemmer interviewed Adm Richard Carmona (US Surgeon General) about the possibility of disease outbreaks. Hemmer asked about West Nile virus & decomposing bodies." Carmona described what the govt will try to do to minimize the dangers. When Hemmer asked about the "death count", Carmona simply said "we don't have any firm information yet."
12:37pm - Orlando Salinas in Biloxi reported on Bush flying over, then talked briefly about deaths in Harrison County. Salinas noted that 30 distribution centers had been set up, but with no communications the only way to tell people to go there was to have police drive around announcing it on speakers. Salinas also described "brothers from Pensacola" who brought gas & generators to Biloxi as a way of repaying others for the help they received during last year's hurricanes in Florida.
12:40pm - Hemmer showed live pix of the National Guard "rolling through the downtown center" wtih basic supplies.
12:41pm - Hemmer & Salinas discussed Biloxi ("we are back in the stone age")
12:56pm - Hemmer reeled off a list of supplies arriving: 5.5 million MREs; 13 million liters of water; 10,000 tarps; 3.5 million lbs of ice; 144 generators; 11,000 cots. It was not clear where any of these were arriving, or when.

General comments: Fox was calling this "America's Challenge". News flash for Fox: Americans are stepping up to the plate on this. You are not. "A day late & a dollar short" doesn't begin to describe how the administration has responded to this crisis. There was not one guest during this hour who was even mildly critical of "relief efforts" so far. So much for "balance".

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