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The Tale of Two Press Conferences & How Fox Covered Them

Reported by Melanie - September 7, 2005

Tuesday during Your World, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) held a press conference announcing legislation they'd introduced which would elevate FEMA to a cabinet-level position. Returning from an ad break, Fox showed a live shot of the two women speaking, but Fox did not provide audio. As the live shot aired, Cavuto talked over it. He implied that Clinton, Mikulski, and other Democrats who support their legislation (he didn't mention the possibility that Republicans might support it too), where flip-flopping because, Cavuto presumed, they voted to include FEMA in the Department of Homeland Security, but now wanted to make changes.

Additionally, Cavuto introduced Clinton as Hillary Clinton (absent the title of "Senator") and, at one point, he referred to the women as "ladies."

In contrast, today (September 7, 2005) during Your World, Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Bill Frist (R-TN) also held a press conference. Interrupting a discussion about oil prices, Fox cut to it with this introduction by Cavuto: We're going to switch to this "very quickly" because "Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist" are going to "have a joint statement."

Fox carried the presser, with audio, from start to finish, and Cavuto didn't say a word. Hastert and Frist spoke for about two minutes and concluded without taking questions.

Fox returned to Cavuto, who recapped: "All right. Very short and sweet. A bipartisan effort by Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist. I assume by bipartisan that's going to include some Democrats, but it will include the House and the Senate to review at all levels of government, the preparation for, and the reaction to, Hurricane Katrina. Of course, all branches of government, right down to the local level, have been criticized for the slow response to Katrina. This is a way of spearheading some of that criticism and being on top of it, but again, Dennis Hastert and Bill Frist say, they're on it."

Comment: What a difference a day, and the political affiliation of the participants makes as to what Fox covers, and how they cover it.

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