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Fox News: Taking the 'Nuke' Out of U.S. Military Options

Reported by Judy - April 11, 2006

Fox News' "Dayside" program likes to let its studio audience ask questions of guests on the show, but sometimes that tactic backfires and undermines the news channel's No. 1 priority -- protecting the Bush administration from any criticism. That was the case Tuesday (April 11, 2006) when a member of the audience seemed to criticize the administration's reported consideration of using nuclear weapons against Iran. Watch the video.

"Dayside" co-hosts Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy were discussing the news that Iran has enriched uranium with their guest, former United Nations weapons inspector Tim Trevan. Huddy teased the segment, saying, "Iran defies the United Nations, begins enriching uranium … So they are trying to provoke a war with the United States?” Jerrick followed up that the enrichment was "in defiance of the United Nations” and “a slap possibly in the face of the west.”

The Fox News "journalists" were four minutes into the segment without having mentioned reports that the Bush administration is considering the use of tactical nuiclear weapons against Iran. Huddy said only that, "You’ve heard reports that the Bush Administration is studying options for military strikes on Iran” without mentioning that dropping a nuclear bomb was one of the options.

"Dayside" also played a clip from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's news conference from earlier in the day in which he commented on the report. But Rumsfeld's statement was presented with so little context that any reference to nuclear weapons use by the United States was missing. Instead, the focus was on the possibility that Iran might use the weapons (which it doesn't yet have and probably won't have for five to 10 years).

The only reference to the U.S. using nuclear weapons (rather than a generic military option) came when Jerrick and Huddy went into the audience and one woman commented: "What concerns me is that the United States is stretched very, very thin. We’re getting the reputation of being cowboys and I would love to see this as a U.N. operation, and with the world behind it, because with nuclear there are no winners.”

Her comment brought applause from audience. I took her comment as a criticism of the Bush administration, but here's the video.

The question is, when will Fox News start screening its "Dayside" audience?

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