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"Special Report" Attacks New Favorite Target: Helen Thomas

Reported by Janie - May 17, 2006

Last night (5/16) on "Special Report with Brit Hume", Fox News Correspondent Wendell Goler filed a report about new Press Secretary Tony Snow's first official press gaggle, during which Goler made it a point to offhandedly and needlessly attack legendary White House Press Correspondent Helen Thomas. At the same time, Goler neglected to mention the racial controversy that stemmed from the same press gaggle the report was concerning.

Near the beginning of the segment, Goler made his pointed dig at Thomas, "And from Veteran reporter turned columnist, questions mixed with opinions. In this case, about the NSA's telephone data mining."

To "prove" she mixed opinion with her questions, the report showed one (edited) exchange between Thomas and Snow:

HT: "Are all these stories untrue that we've been reading for the last several days, that millions of Americans have been wiretapped?"

TS: "What he said about the terrorist surveillance program is that these are foreign to domestic calls and they were all done within the parameters of the law. He has not commented on the.."

HT: "The President said he didn't obey that law." (Referring to FISA)

TS: "No he didn't, what he said was, he has done everything within the confines of the law."

Now, if you're a journalist, would it not be prudent to actually back up the claim that Thomas mixed opinion into her question by actually showing, oh... I don't know, Thomas actually inserting opinion into her question? Goler made the claim, but couldn't back it up therefore smearing Thomas for no apparent reason other than the fact that she refuses to stand lock-step with the Bush administration and does the job Fox refuses to - ask tough questions.

It is also interesting to note that the segment filed by Goler, which was supposed to cover Snow's entire first day, neglected to mention the controversy that was stirred by Snow's use of the phrase "tar baby". The "All Star Panel" at the end of the show also discussed Snow's first day and all panelists neglected to mention the incident as well.

Hume did bring the incident up during his "Two Minutes of Hate" (AKA "Grapevine") segment, but used his time to basically attack the person that had an issue with the use of the term:

"No sooner had Tony Snow finished his first briefing as the president's press secretary than Democratic activist and CNN contributor Donna Brazile was on the phone to April Ryan, who covers the White House for the Urban Radio Network.

In declining to discuss the NSA's alleged collection of domestic phone records, Snow had said he wouldn't "hug the tar baby" of commenting on a program the White House won't confirm or deny. Brazile wanted it known that several people called her to complain about that reference to an American folk story about a trap that's impossible to get out of — which has also been used as a racial slur. Ryan has obligingly filed a story about it."

So Hume attempted to make Snow the victim in all of this and took his side, despite the heavy racial connotations that come along with use of the phrase "tar baby". Unfortunately, this was not the first time Snow has used the phrase. But hey - according to Snow racism isn't a problem anymore! Maybe that's why he felt it appropriate to use a term that could possibly offend a large portion of the United States - they won't care because there is no racism!

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