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FNL Is On Message With Bush's Message

Reported by Nancy - September 16, 2005 -

Today (9/16) FNL used National Prayer Day & multiple segments about NOLA to reinforce (again & again & again) the "message" of Bush's speech last night. Bill Hemmer anchored the noon hour of the program, & showed himself to be a far superior interviewer than FNL viewers are used to seeing. Greg Kelly came up with a new circumlocution to describe where Bush has been visiting on his recent trips to the South: "the storm zone" (slightly more precise than yesterday's "the region").

Here's how the reinforcement went:

12:00pm - FNL was showing Bush speaking at the National Day of Prayer
12:03pm - Hemmer recapped Bush's speeches today & last night while FNL continued to show video of the ceremonies at the National Cathedral
12:05pm - FNL showed aerial views of the French Quarter, with Hemmer identifying where Bush spoke last night & commenting on the damage revealed as the water recedes
12:06pm - Jeff Goldblatt in NOLA reported on Senators visiting there today, noting that they were on the Iwo Jima (adding that's where Bush had stayed) & giving their planned itinerary "one day after President Bush delivered a speech."
12:10pm - Greg Kelly at the White House reported that Bush was "speaking like the man of faith that he is" at the National Prayer Day & showed a clip of Bush from last night; Kelly said that Bush "ackowldegd again failures at all levels of government" & showed another clip of Bush from last night. Finally, Kelly said that Bush "endorsed a bipartisan" review by Congress of what went wrong. & that Bush "will return to the storm zone" next Tuesday.
12:12pm - Hemmer reported that Laura Bush visited the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children & showed a clip of her making a statement.
12:13pm - teasers included: Bush speech today
12:24pm - Hemmer said "the President was down in New Orleans last night & the price tag is adding up" to intro his interview with Rich Masters (Dem "strategist") & Terry Holt (GOP "strategist") about what the cleanup & recovery is going to cost & how it will be paid for
12:38pm - Hemmer reported that Russian President VPutin will meet with Bush later today
12:53pm - Hemmer showed more aerial pix of NOLA, then interviewed Sen Bill Frist (R-TN), largely about what Bush said last night, & the funding he promised (with emphasis on how to "alleviate taxpayer concerns that the money will be used appropriately").
12:58pm - wrapping up the hour, Hemmer reminded viewers that "the President says New Orleans will build again."

Here's a good example of Hemmer's interviewing skills:

12:45pm - FNL showed more aerial pix of NOLA while Hemmer described the plans for residents to return to various areas of the city using the "Fox Box" maps, then interviewed Philip Clapp (president of the National Environmental Trust) about hazards facing those returning. After they discussed some specific toxins found in any urban area (e.g., benzene from gas tanks in cars), Hemmer drew parallels between NOLA & Ground Zero in NYC & asked if people were going back to NOLA too soon. Clapp noted that there are 66 major chemical & petro plants in the area of NOLA & many of them have highly toxic materials (e.g., digoxin).

Comments: Hemmer's interviews routinely include & elicit information viewers can use. More importantly (in my view, from having watched David Asman far too long), Hemmer doesn't inject his opinions into the questions he asks & allows guests to answer in full. Now if FNL's producers would just give him some material other than Bush to cover...

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's coverage of any of the above topics, Hemmer's interview style). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.