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Huddy Argues with Guest, Pretends to Play 'Devil's Advocate'

Reported by Judy - May 3, 2006

On one level, Juliet Huddy is just your average Fox News blonde, a giggling piece of eye candy for the 60 and 70-year-olds that make up the bulk of the channel's audience. It would be easy to dismiss her as vapid and harmless, were it not for the nasty habit she has of arguing with guests with whom she disagrees.

Huddy's poor journalistic skills (a tribute to her training at the University of Missouri which she attended or to Fox News re-programming?) were on full display on Wednesday (May 3, 2006) when she interviewed a Durham, North Carolina, attorney about supposed developments in the Duke lacrosse team gang rape investigation.

One of the players had done a local television interview (Huddy never mentioned which station did the actual interview) and "Dayside" played part of it, showing the player in silhouette and without identification.

Huddy went to an interview with Durham attorney John Brolin, who clearly did not think much of the unidentified player's publicity ploy. Brolin said the player loses credibility by refusing to be seen or identified and dismissed the significance of the event as "an attempt to humanize the lacrosse players in the minds of the community."

Huddy jumped on Brolin, saying, "I don’t know if it’s so clear that this is so self-serving. I’m going to disagree with you on that. I’ll play devil’s advocate. … It sounds like he’s just trying to portray the situation. … You don’t understand how he could possibly not want to be seen on camera and not want to discuss the particulars of the case?"

"Absolutely not," Brolin said, adding that if the player really wanted to see the situation cleared up, he could cooperate with the district attorney.

"Don't you think their attorney is telling them not to answer questions?" Huddy said.

Brolin noted that there is no indication the player has an attorney. Then he sprang something on Huddy that she clearly hadn't thought of. He noted that the player was "very specific that there will be a third indictment." Huddy claimed that District Attorney Mike Nifong had said there would be three indictments, but Brolin corrected her.

Nifong has said there would be "another indictment" and has never limited the number to three, Brolin pointed out. The clear implication was that the player has some reason for believing that specifically only three people will be indicted -- possibly because he knew that only three players went into the bathroom were the alleged assault occurred.

It was a masterful job by Brolin of handling a journalist who was more eager to argue her own point of view on a situation than to obtain all the information she could from the person she was interviewing. Maybe if it happened more often to Huddy, she would stop her annoying habit of "playing devil's advocate," as she euphemistically refers to her clumsy attempts to insert her own views into an interview. Funny how she always picks the conservative side of the argument when she wants to "play devil's advocate."

Furthermore, Huddy could learn how to ask a challenging question without having to state her own disagreement first. Clearly, Brolin was able to see things in the interview that the average lay person did not, but Huddy was not interested in finding out what insights he might have. Who knows what else Brolin heard that might shed light on what happened that night? Certainly not the "Dayside" viewing audience, who had to settle for Huddy's botched interview.

In a recent interview with Worldscreen.com, Fox News honcho Roger Ailes claimed that the reason the network is a "success" is: "Our on-camera people are better. We have a higher morale and a lower turnover of personnel. We do a broader range of stories. Our analysis treats more than one point of view with respect."

None of that was visible in Huddy's interview on Wednesday. One reason turnover might be lower is that Fox News personnel are unqualified for working anywhere else. Despite all her airtime, Huddy has failed to learn the basics of conducting an interview. That's why she'll remain just your average Fox News blonde, unable to get a job at a news channel where the interviewer's job is to obtain information from people --whatever that information turns out to be -- rather than follow a script handed down in the morning memo from management.

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