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Fox Touts Bush's "Plan" re Energy Independence After Energy Secretary said it was "Purely an Example"

Reported by Melanie - February 2, 2006

On Tuesday night during his State of the Union address, George Bush said he would work to help the U.S. "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past." Yesterday morning, less than 24 hours later, we learned that Bush didn't mean it.

Bush's energy secretary and his national economic advisor held a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. Energy Secretary Bodman said "This was purely an example." He said Bush just wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that "every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands."

24-hours after Bodman's "clarification," Fox is touting Bush's "dramatization" as if it were a serious proposal and as if Wednesday's conference call (which a Fox News reporter was likely on) didn't happen.

During a "news break" roughly 15 minutes into Your World today (February 2, 2006), Uma Pemmaraju reminded viewers that Bush "talked up" switchgrass during his SOTU address and she wondered, "What is it exactly?" She said it "once covered the Great Plains," and that the University of Nebraska "has been working on converting it to alternative fuel. It's hoped switchgrass can help the U.S. become less dependent on foreign oil. The new fuel could be available by 2010."

Thirty minutes later Fox returned from an ad break to video of Bush on Monday night: "Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years." A chyron at the bottom of the screen said: "President Bush Calls for Shift Toward Ethanol Fuel."

Cavuto introduced two men from the National Corn Growers Association with: "Well, those words music to the ears of our next guests." It takes corn to make ethanol fuel and "corn is the business they are in. Maybe these will be the new oil sheiks. I think I'm looking at the next sultans here."

One of the two guests, a very smiley Ken McCauley said, with "President Bush putting his faith in the ethanol business and showing how confident he is should give every farmer out there the faith to invest in more farmer-owned plants, like I've done. This just gives the industry a whole new outlook."

Cavuto and the two guests talked about the auto industry and changing its "mind set" to produce cars that can burn ethanol. They talked about ethanol blends and how cars wouldn't need to be filled more often if ethanol was used. Guest Larry Mitchell said, "Most consumers wouldn't see a lot of difference."

McCauley wrapped up the segment: With what Bush said this week, "talking about replacing foreign oil, I think you've got the country behind this...I think you're seeing a sweeping movement right now that's going to take over the country."

Cavuto thanked them with, "Gentlemen, I want to thank you both. I know I'm looking at two future billionaires in-the-making, so when you make it real big, come back on, OK?"

Comment: There's an old saying about legal documents in the legal biz: The large print giveth, the small print taketh away. Bush's SOTU speech and Fox News are the large print. The small print was Bodman's clarification. Watch Fox and you'll get the large print, and at times, large print with a line drawn through it.

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