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For FNL, 'Balance' Means One France-Bashing Guest

Reported by Nancy - November 9, 2005 -

Yesterday (11/8) on FNL, Bill Hemmer said the last hour of the program would focus on the rioting & violence in France as the "top" story. But of course FNL defines 'focus' & 'top' in its own bizarre way, & apparently now also considers "balance" achieved when only one talking head is invited to bloviate. There were multiple teasers, some opinions from Hemmer & a single 2-minute report from Greg Burke in Paris. But the largest chunk of time given to this 'top' story was a 3-minute interview with Bill Kristol that was essentially yet another France-bashing exercise.

Here are the segments devoted to that 'top' story:

12:00pm - Hemmer reported on the curfews in France, noting that police will now be able to "conduct raids" if they suspect anything, & that use of the French army is "under consideration" to curb the "civil disobedience." While waiting to start an interview with Bill Kristol, Hemmer wondered "how much of this is just young people venting?" & "is this the perfect storm of immigration & second-class citizens?"

12:02pm - Hemmer interviewed Bill Kristol (reactionary ideologue, who was in Boston but said he was on his way to France) about the riots & violence. Kristol described the situation as a "genuine crisis in Europe" & then went off on a typically reactionary tangent, bashing France for being a "welfare state [that] offers very little mobility" & for using "appeasement of violence" & "failure to rethink their own policies." By contrast, according to Kristol, "we [the US] tend to face up to" our problems but "I don't think they've had anything like that in Europe." Hemmer asked whether a "tigheter curfew" might help & Kristol agreed, but couldn't resist returning to his main theme: a "lack of opportunity for them [rioters] to integrate themselves" into society, & the French are "paying a huge price for" their "social welfare" state. His final boast: "We provide opportunity & mobility in our society."

12:12pm - teasers included: violence in France ("why hasn't the government called in the army?")

12:26pm - teasers included: violence in France

12:30pm - teasers included: "mayors using curfews" in France

12:34pm - Greg Burke in Paris reported on the rioting in Franace, including a clip of an unidentified English-speaking tourist who was worried. At the end of Burke's report, Hemmer sighed "12 nights & counting."

12:50pm - ALERT - Hemmer repeated the info about the curfews in France, counting down the hours until the curfew would be imposed

Comments: Total time for this 'top' story: approximately 8 minutes. Balance? Yeah, one guest equals balance if you've got a flag-waving agenda that requires some France-bashing, & Bill Kristol's definitely the guy for the job.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (FNL's delight in France-bashing, lack of balance, & devoting 8 minutes of the last hour to the "top" story). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.