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"Because You Asked" -- A Vast Improvement Over The "Asman Observer"

Reported by Nancy - October 13, 2005 -

The producers of FNL today (10/13) must have been in seventh heaven, with a surfeit of "wicked weather" videos & reports on rainy & flooding in the northeast. But I'm pleased to note that Bill Hemmer (so far) seems to be keeping this "hard news program" focussed on actual hard news that viewers can use.

There were several good interviews by Hemmer during the noon hour: Jay Carney (TIME mag) about the chances of the new Iraqi Constitution passing; Judge Andrew Napolitano (Fox judicial analyst) about Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald; & Tres Savage (an editor of the student newspaper at the Univ of OK) about rumors concerning Joel Hinrichs (the student who blew himself up recently). There were multiple teasers about Bush's teleconference with troops in Iraq but only one report from Wendell Goler, at the Whit House, who called it a "carefully scripted event" & noted that the soldiers practiced their answers before Bush asked the questions.

One new segment that Hemmer has introduced this week is email from viewers ("Because You Asked"), which he says the program will use to identify which stories viewers would like the program to investigate & report.

Today's email was from "Gloria in Ardmore, OK" who asked what is happening to all the cars in NOLA? Hemmer commented that the LATimes reports there are 200,000 cars in NOLA which were damaged by hurricane flooding & which will take 10 years to remove. He then interviewed Hugh Kaufman (senior analyst at EPA) who estimated there are >300,000 damaged cars. Kaufman said that insurance companies "will take possession" & will then re-sell them. Hemmer interrupted to say "consumer beware" & Kaufman agreed, pointing out that any car that has been flood damage is "basically a lemon" but "not all states require that titles show flood damage" (e.g., Maryland does not, but Delaware does). Gloria owns a scrap metal company & said she had been told the metal from those cars could not be recycled because of contamination, but Kaufman clarified that it's the interior furnishings (carpets, seats, etc), not the metal parts, that are deemed non-recyclable after floor damage.

Comments: This is a huge improvement over the "Asman Observer" that closed the program under the previous noon-hour anchor. It will be interesting to watch this segment evolve. Have at it, readers -- let Hemmer know what YOU would like the program to investigate & report: hemmer@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Is the jury still out on Hemmer? What about the new "Because You Asked" segment?). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.