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Wilma -- Or Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

Reported by Nancy - October 24, 2005 -

The last hour of FNL today (10/23) was anchored by Bill Hemmer in Naples, FL & was overwhelmingly Wilma, even though the hurricane had already passed by that time. There were reports from various Fox staff scattered across the state, & replays of a couple of clips from earlier this morning, when the storm was pounding across Florida. Towards the end of the hour, there were two short reports of other news. Never losing sight of the real priority, FNC chose to end this program early (12:58pm ET) & begin a "special edition" with Shephard Smith & Jane Skinner -- to make sure they didn't miss a second of Bush's planned announcement about a successor to Alan Greenspan.

Other than Wilma coverage, here's the last hour of the program:

At 12:47pm Hemmer said there was a "MAJOR announcement from the White House" to intro a report by Molly Henneberg who said that Bush will announce a successor to Alan Greenspan as chair of the Federal Reserve later today & that Bush "received three briefings" on Wilma & signed off on a state of emergency for FL
clip of Bush

At 12:52pm there was an ALERT for "new videotape" of a truck driven into the area of the Palestine Hotel in Bahdad; Hemmer called it "absolutely priceless" in figuring out who's responsible

Comment: So much for cable news being nimble & quick to respond to developing events. The producers made a choice to send Hemmer & a small horde of Fox reporters to Florida, & were then stuck with covering a storm that moved much more quickly than they did. The replaying of clips from earlier in the day, when Wilma was hitting Florida in full force, were a clever re-use of eye candy & particularly useful to any viewer who had never seen hurricane footage before (sarcasm intended).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there wasn't a peep on FNL about these stories (among others):

*the State Department's "charm offensive" (Karen Hughes) is being viewed around the world as offensive rather than charming

*a new report shows Iraq is the most corrupt country in the Middle East.

*Islamists & Mujahedeen won the recent Afghan vote

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's focus on one story -- today it was Wilma -- to exclude other news such as the other stories I mentioned above). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.