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Political Grandstanding Substitutes for News on FNL

Reported by Nancy - September 12, 2005 -

Today (9/12), FNL got its priorities straight again. No more of that silly coverage of the minor problems along the Gulf Coast! Nope, now it's all about the Senate hearing on Judge John Roberts's nomination to be Chief Justice of SCOTUS.

Viewers of the last hour of the program were treated to non-stop coverage of the opening of the hearing -- the preliminary statements by Senators on the Judiciary Committee, in order of seniority (Specter, Leahy, Hatch, Kennedy, Grassley & Biden). FNL ran one larger-than-usual lower-third banner (ROBERTS / CONFIRMATION HEARINGS) for the first 5-6 mins of each speaker's comments, then went to their usual pattern of recapping what the speaker was saying for 1-2 mins, then reverting to the big ROBERTS banner again. The camera at first focused on either the speaker, or on Roberts looking interested, but eventually FNL went to the split-screen, showing the speaker on the left-hand 1/3 of the screen & Roberts on the right-hand 2/3 of the screen. The camerawork was also intermittently shaky -- there must have been a gazillion cables & other obstacles the crew had to cope with.

Roberts looked alert & interested throughout. He even managed a very slight smile at some appropriate moments. Excellent coaching by C Boyden Gray.

Comment: Sorry, but political grandstanding is NOT news. It will be interesting to follow this & see how much of the proceedings Fox shows when the hearing gets down to actual Q&A.

Meanwhile, as far as viewers of the last hour of this program could tell, nothing else happened of interest anywhere in the world.

One interesting point: not only is Roberts a white male; the Judiciary Committe consists of 17 white males plus one white female (Sen DFeinstein, D-CA), & white males made up the overwhelming bulk of all the assistants, aides, press & other hangers-on shown on screen. Aside from Feinstein & some members of Roberts's family, there were few women to be seen. I'm going to have to keep watching as the camera pans, or wait for still photos showing the whole room, to see if I can spot any racial minorities. If this weren't being broadcast in color, it could have been taking place in 1952.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL coverage of the Roberts nomination & hearing). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.