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CSI Miami - Fox News Style

Reported by Melanie - December 7, 2005

Today (December 7, 2005), Your World w/Neil Cavuto consisted of wall-to-wall, uninterrupted "coverage" of the shooting of the passenger on the airplane in Miami. Even though facts were scarce and only slowly trickling in, in typical Fox fashion, Cavuto used the event to laud the precision of the homeland security bureaucracy as a whole (and thus the Bush administration), to denigrate people with mental illness, and to remind viewers of the danger posed by the terrorists lurking in Columbia.

For example, in a discussion with Steve Forbes, one of a succession of 12 guests who appeared during the hour, Cavuto wondered whether given the "$20B airline rescue plan" and the $18B we've "poured" into "the foundation of the TSA and a whole lot more billions into a variety of other security efforts, does this justify all that?"

Forbes, of course, said, "Oh, absolutely."

Later, despite the fact that there was no confirmation whatsoever that the dead man flew in from Columbia, Cavuto said Fox was getting word that the man, "was a 44 year old US citizen who we don't know his connection to Medellin, Columbia but it is going to raise, once again, raise potential questions about Columbia and whether flights coming from or to that country should be examined more closely if they're not already examined closely." He said Columbia's president, Alvaro Uribe, "has been very tough at reminding visitors...that it's a safe place." But, he said, he wanted to stress that the Miami incident "doesn't have anything to do with drugs or FARC or violent guerilla groups or any of that sort, it was apparently a deranged individual, someone who also was just sort of freakin' out on the plane, a man who suffered from bipolar disorder."

Later: "The air marshals handled it beautifully;" it was a "textbook reaction" and, the marshals "don't beat around the book."

Comment: The only fact we knew at the time Cavuto's program aired was that a man had been shot and killed at the Miami airport. As the hour progressed, we learned he was a 44 year old US citizen. We did not know for a fact that he had a mental illness; we did not know that he had any connection whatsoever to Colombia, and we did not know for a fact what any of the players said or did. The vast majority of Cavuto's "coverage" was dramatic speculation; it featured death, intrigue, gunfire, "guerillas," and drugs. It was fiction - a show about a deranged man from a lawless country attempting to penetrate the tranquility of the sophisticated and civilized United States and being stopped by a perfectly trained, infallible protective force that "handled it beautifully." Instead of fact-based news, the audience saw a macabre version of something resembling CSI Miami - Fox "News" style.

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