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Grapevine Whine - Mad Professor?

Reported by Nancy - November 21, 2005 -

Brit Hume does a cutesy little segment every night in the middle of Special Report called "The Grapevine." It's a series of mini-blurbs about relatively minor events in the world of politics. The focus is usually on US politics, with the occasional nod to international stories, & the blurbs are delivered with Hume's trademark sneering snideness that he apparently thinks is the equivalent of humor. In fact, like much of the rest of the material on FNC, the content of these little "pickings" is actually an attack on perceived enemies & an obvious attempt to inflame viewers' emotions. Here's a recent example.

On Friday (11/18), item #4 was about John Daly, an English professor at Warren County Community College in NJ, who Hume said "is defending an e-mail he sent a student" that is "encouraging soldiers in Iraq to shoot their commanders." Daly supposedly emailed "freshman Rebecca Beach" that he'd urged students to boycott a speech by an Iraq war veteran, sponsored by "the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom." Hume quoted from the alleged email ("Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors") & said that "Daly is refusing to apologize, saying he was merely standing up to 'an ultra right-wing, possibly fascist, group.' "

Sounds outrageous, doesn't it? Well, if you google & try to find out more about this, you'll find that only a handful of reactionary "news" outlets & at least one hate-radio host picked up this alleged story. Their headlines did the usual spin (prof "Calls for Death of American Soldiers"!), morphing the alleged email into something it was not. Outside the Beltway reprints part of what they call the "alleged" email, admitting that it may be a forgery.

Dear Rebecca:
I am asking my students to boycott your event. I am also going to ask others to boycott it. Your literature and signs in the entrance lobby look like fascist propaganda and is extremely offensive. Your main poster "Communism killed 100,000,000" is not only untrue, but ignores the fact that CAPITALISM has killed many more and the evidence for that can be seen in the daily news papers. The U.S. government can fly to dominate the people of Iraq in 12 hours, yet it took them five days to assist the people devastated by huricane Katrina. Racism and profits were key to their priorities.
[...]
I will continue to expose your right-wing, anti-people politics until groups like your won't dare show their face on a college campus. Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs--such freedom fighters can be counted throughout American history and they certainly will be counted again.

Note how Hume read only one cherry-picked, inflammatory phrase from the alleged email ("Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors"). The entire sentence ("Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs--such freedom fighters can be counted throughout American history and they certainly will be counted again.") has a decidedly different tone.

For a little more background, here's how a local paper, the Express-Times wrote the story. Here's what Wikipedia wikipedia has to say about YAF, & here's the YAF website so you can judge for yourselves. One thing to note: they haven't updated their home page since Reagan died. Not so parenthetically, Hume apparently got the reactionary campus group's name wrong. Other outlets have it as Young America's Foundation (also YAF).

Meanwhile, Warren County Community College has been targeted for the usual hate email & phone call campaigns, & the Board of Trustees is having an emergency meeting over this tempest in a teapot.

Here's what Hume didn't mention: The invited speaker, Lt. Col. Scott Rutter, is a Fox News contributor.

Comments: Well, the fact that Rutter is a Fox News contributor explains how a minor item like this made it onto a national news program. Will Hume issue a clarification? Stay tuned.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report, Hume, this Grapevine item, Hume's failure to disclose the Rutter-Fox connection, FNC's jihad against academia). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.