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Crime, Crime, & Yet More Crime on FNL

Reported by Nancy - November 10, 2005 -

Yesterday (11/9) on FNL, the last hour of the program was the usual mix of mini-blurbs & teasers, almost all focusin on crimes or criminal trials, plus ALERTs for a house explosion & resulting fire in Lexington, MA, complete with video of billowing smoke. The piece de resistance was not one, but two "missing white woman" stories that got the full FNL treatment. Yes, they had to go to great lengths to avoid talking about the Dems winning & GOPs losing in so many of Tuesday's elections &, with the exception of two short Bill Hemmer interviews, they nearly succeeded in ignoring the election results altogether.

Here are the crime segments:
12:01pm (ET) - Todd Connor in NY reported that there may be a new trial for Andrea Yates
12:03pm - Hemmer interviewed Judge Andrew Napolitano about Andrea Yates
12:05pm - Hemmer commented on a TN high school student who went on a shootin spree & showed a clip of an unidentified young woman (student?) describing the incident
12:06pm - Hemmer reported that Chai Vang was "sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole" & showed a clip of Vang's statement
12:07pm - Hemmer reported that a former Phillies pitcher, Urgueth Urbina, was arrested in Venezuela for attempted murder
12:07pm - Orlando Salinas in Tampa reported on closing arguments in the Sami al-Arian trial. Salinas called Islamic Jihad a "Palestinian terrorist activity group" & said that prosecutors portrayed al-Arian's organization as a "Tampa terror cell that was basically a PR spin machine for" IJ & a "so-called think tank."
12:10pm - teasers included: Yates
12:25pm - teasers included: Yates
12:29pm - teasers included: Yates
12:41pm - teasers included: Yates
Comment: Boy, they're really ticked off at the mere possibility that Yates might get a new trial.

Here are the "missing white woman" segments:
12:10pm - teasers included: "popular GA teacher [Tara Grinstead] still missing"
12:15pm - Hemmer interviewed Greta Van Susteren about Tara Grinstead, ending with a plus for "On The Record"
12:25pm - teasers included: Teresa Hallbach
12:41pm - teasers included: Teresa Hallbach
12:51pm - Hemmer reported that Steven Avery, who was exonerated by DNA testing after spending 18 yrs in jail, may now be connected to the disappearance of Teresa Hallbach, then interviewed her brother, Mike Hallbach
Comment: Mike Hallbach is the complete opposite of Beth Twitty. He made no wild accusations, declined to speculate about anything & was basically supportive of law enforcement efforts to find out what happened to his sister. I'm guessing we won't be seeing much of him on Fox.

And here are the interviews relating to the elections:

12:21pm - Hemmer said election day Tuesday was a "big victory for" GOPs in NY & Dems won stuff elsewhere, then interviewed Frank Donatelli (GOP) & Doug Schoen (Dem). Donatelli & Schoen disagreed about the implications of Tuesday's voting, while FNL showed video of George & Laura Bush getting off a plane.

12:45pm - Hemmer interviewed Howard Dean (Chair, DNC) & opened by asking whether "off-year elections tell us much?" Dean said not in NJ, but yes in CA & VA, where Bush took a "high risk" in campaigning for Kilgore. Hemmer interrupted to note that "Kilgore ran a bad campaign" to which Dean replied "pundits always say that" when someone loses. Dean started to talk about how VA is supposedly a conservative state, & Hemmer again interrupted with poll results & read a comment from Sen John McCain (R-AZ) about it being "foolishness" to think these elections tell us much. Dean said "Our data shows turnout went up because Bush went to VA." So Hemmer switched to NY & asked "how do Democrats explain" Bloomberg, a GOP, winning there. Dean pointed out that Bloomberg "outspend his oppenent 10 to 1" but Hemmer suggested that New Yorkers were worried that a new mayor might be "lacking for leadership" in case of "terror attacks." Dean repeated that Bloomberg outspent his opponent & then, realizing that his 3 minutes were almost up, quickly said it was a "great day for Democrats ... a great first step ..." before the interview ended.
Comment: Dean did a good job. Hemmer, who from previous evidence on this program (not to mention his pre-Fox career) has decent interviewing skills, used a couple of Foxian tactics, interrupting & talking over Dean to get to the next talking point -- er, question. But Dean remained unflustered & didn't lost his train of thought. He was also clearly aware of the time element & wasn't caught off-guard at the end of the interview.

General comments: Had GOPs swept the elections on Tuesday, I'm sure we would have been treated to endless bloviating about that, with the usual bloviators waxing poetic about how swell it all was. Since they didn't, what we got was the 21st century TV version of True Crime magazine


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