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Grapevine Whine - Defending Terrell?

Reported by Nancy - November 22, 2005 -

Brit Hume does a cutesy little segment every night in the middle of Special Report called "The Grapevine." It's billed as 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, targeting Jesse Jackson & Ralph Nader..

On Tuesday (11/15), item #3 on the Grapevine was about Jackson & Nader who, Hume said, "rushed to the defense of" Terrell Owens, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver, who was suspended for making "negative comments about the team" (that the Eagles showed "a lack of class" by not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown). Hume added that Owens "has a history of outrageous behavior." Hume explained that Owens was docked 4 games' pay, was deactivated for the rest of the year & has since apologized. According to Hume, Jackson called the punishment "much too severe for the charge" & Nader called for the suspension to be lifted "arguing that Eagles ticket holders paid to watch the exciting receiver on the field."

Here's how ESPN described the same situation vis-a-vis Jackson:

Jackson said in a statement released Friday that Owens could have been more professional when he publicly complained about his contract, his team and the Eagles' organization. But Jackson said Owens' suspension without pay for four games and deactivation for the rest of the season is "much too severe for the charge" and hurts the athlete's NFL career at its height.

Here's a link to the letter Nader sent to the Eagles & to the NFL, & here's an excerpt:

... the team's decision, which dishonors this country's traditional respect for free speech and cheats fans of an opportunity to see arguably the best receiver in football. There is no question that Terrell Owens' comments have been boorish and unwarranted. However, the comments were just that -- comments.

Comments: Note Hume's language -- Jackson & Nader "rushed to the defense of" Owens. Well, no they didn't. From Hume's own reporting, & substantiated in the links above, what they did was oppose the penalty levied on Owens. Neither one defended his behavior. In fact, both explicitly described his behavior in negative terms.

What is a sports item doing in a political report anyhow? Oops, I forgot! Jackson (civil rights activist, former candidate for political office, & permanent thorn in the side of the powers-that-be) & Nader (who could be described in much the same way) are public figures who don't often agree with the official Fox/RNC party line. When was the last time either was mentioned on Grapevine for something good? When will either be mentioned again? Stay tuned.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Special Report, Hume, this Grapevine item). The topic is most emphatically NOT Terrell Owens, football, the Eagles, or sports in general. O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.