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All's Swell on FNL

Reported by Nancy - October 5, 2005 -

Today (10/5) on FNL, the usual format reigned: fluff (Lindsay Lohan, hockey), eye candy (high speed car chases!) & upbeat reports about Iraq (Bret Baier channelling Pentagon PR) & the "War on Terror" (Catherine Herridge.reporting on yet another "catch" of a top Taliban member). Bill Hemmer anchored the noon hour, & seems to have retained some vestiges of his journalistic skills, as evidenced by the interviews he conducted.

There were 3 interviews that deserve mention, because they were the only segments during the hour when anything other than glowing optimistic spin was in evidence:

12:11pm (EDT) - Hemmer interviewed Marvin Kalb (FNC contributor) about how the White House & the Bush Admin in general. Kalb said, in reference to Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, that "he has absolute faith in this person" so the admin is "ginning up people" by saying essentially 'trust me' [my phrase, not Kalb's]. Hemmer referenced George Wil's op-ed piece in today's WaPo & asked about Bush's press conf. Kalb called it the beginning of a "charm offensive" & said the White House finally realizes "there are questions being raised about" Bush so their reaction is to be seen as "doing things" (citing photo ops, etc). Kalb also noted the discrepancies between what the WH & the Pentagon are saying about Iraq

12:19pm - Hemmer interviewed Bob Bevelacqua (former Green Beret) about current ops in Iraq. Hemmer used the screenwriter map to show & ask about affected towns, first in Al-Anbar province, then closer to Syria. Bevelacqua finally sighed & said "The problem is Syria itself," claiming that Syria is actively promoting & funding the insurgency. Hemmer asked about putting "an Iraqi face" on military ops, noting that really hasn't happened yet; Bevelacqua agreed, saying "you'd think by this point" we'd be there but "it doesn't look like we're going to get there any time soon." Discussing the upcoming vote, Bevelacqua said AQ is "shooting themselves in the foot" by waging war during Ramadan.

12:50pm - Hemmer showed a clip from H&C last night then interviewed Colin Hanna (president of We Need a Fence) who advocates building a "multi-element fence" along the US-Mexico border, like the Israeli fence. Hemmer asked how much such a fence would cost; Hanna claimed it would cost $2-$4 million per mile for a total of about $8 billion. Hemmer followed up by asking whether Hanna has found any support in DC for this proposal. Hanna claimed he had, but declined to be specific. Hanna said such a fence would also stop people from "terrorist-harboring & terrorist-sponsoring countries" &, when Hemmer asked about his data, said that his group's website (weneedafence.com) has data supporting his claims.

Comment: Hemmer does much better with a one-on-one interview format than with the typical FNL format of 2 (or more) talking heads shouting at each other. He asks good questions & follows up those questions when needed. He also doesn't let the guest wander off into prepared talking points.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's coverage of Iraq [White House version vs Pentagon version] & of illegal immigration; Hemmer's interview style vs typical FNL interview style). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.