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The Nukuler Smirker Does Lunch, & FNL Treats It Like News

Reported by Nancy - October 25, 2005 -

The last hour of FNL today (10/25) opened in the middle of Bush's speech to the Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon at Bolling Air Force Base. FNL then brought out Gregg Jarrett, rather than regular noon anchor Bill Hemmer, to make sure Bush's speech got the appropriate spin ... er, coverage. Jarrett, true to form, inserted opinion & used tone of voice to reinforce the message. After Bush had finished speaking, FNL lingered & invited a talking head to "analyze" what had just been said. Even their coverage of the aftermath of Wilma turned into an endless promotion for JEBBush & GWBush "tours" of Florida.

Here's how FNL spread coverage of Bush over the last hour of the program:

12:00pm - middle of Bush speech/photo op

12:19pm - after Bush finished speaking, FNL continued to show Bush surrounded by enthusiastic listeners {comment: for those who will whine that everyone was doing it, CNN & MSNBC did not -- MSNBC went to Traitorgate, CNN went to the UN report about Hariri's assassination] while Jarrett briefly recapped the speech.

12:20pm - Jarrett interviewed former Ambassador Dennis Ross ("Fox foreign affairs analyst" & author of "The Missing Peace") about Bush's speech. FNL displayed a triple split screen - Ross on the left half, right half split into top (video of heavily armed US troops in Iraq walking & running around, riding around, kicking in doors) & bottom (map of Iraq).

12:35pm - Jarrett had a conversation with Andrew Stack in Baghdad & Bret Baier at the Pentagon. Stack reported on the bombing of the Palestine Hotel; Baier reported on, as Jarrett put it, "when might the Iraqis be able to stand up for themselves" & US troops return home. Jarrett noted that Bush had said there are "80 of them [Iraqi battalions] in the fight" [comment: Bush actually said there were 90, at least during the last part of the speech -- he may very well have used a different number at the begging] & said he had heard there were "40 battalions" of Iraqi soldiers; Baer said there are "40 level 2 battalions ... overall 87 battalions in the fight." Jarrett said there was a "huge success announced today" that the referendum on the Iraqi Constitution passed & Stack said the main hope is that it will "weaken the insurgency."

12:41pm - Jarrett said "Let's listen" to Fox affiliate WSVN in Miami, & FNL played an audio feed while running banners reminding viewers that GWBush will visit FL "TO TOUR WILMA DAMAGE"

12:45pm - FNL showed video of Wilma damage courtesy of Fox affiliate WSVN while Jarrett reminding viewers that GWBush will visit FL to tour Wilma damage

12:58pm - more video of Miami courtesy of Fox affiliate WFVN, while Jarrett reminding viewers that Jeb Bush will visit Key West & GWBush will visit the state too

Comments: The speech itself was the usual. Bush used the words terror (including "war on terror") & "terrorists" 6 times each during the last part of his speech. New (to me) phrases he used included:

*"weapons of mass murder" -- which has to include the automatic weapons so beloved of drug lords & our homegrown terrorist miltias
*"democratic federalism" -- not quite as catchy as spreading plain old "democracy" but that's apparently what we're now spreading

He also said that our strategy is "clear, hold & build" -- first time I've heard that we've actually GOT a strategy.

Here is my personal favorite lie ... er, line from today's performance:

"The United Nations has passed strong resolutions against terror" so they have to act against Syria & Iran.
Here's a fact Bush didn't mention, & Fox certainly didn't bring up: Which two countries have ignored the most UN resolutions? Answer: #1 - Israel; #2 - US.

As for FNL's coverage, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at Fox treating this photo op as though it were newsworthy. But where's their vaunted "balance" when only one guest -- & that one a regular in-house contributor -- is invited to analyze the speech?

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's focus on the brothers Bush, or GWBush's speech itself). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.