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Fox News Makes Murtha the Issue in Haditha Case

Reported by Judy - May 30, 2006

How does Fox News, the "good news in Iraq" network, handle a story about the possibility that U.S. marines killed 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha last fall? By making an issue of anyone who wants it investigated, of course. The messenger being shot Tuesday (May 30, 2006) on "Dayside," was Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania.

Dayside co-hosts Steve Doocy and Juliet Huddy invited Lt. BIll Cowan, a retired marine and a Fox News military analyst, to discuss the issue, not of what has been discovered in the investigation into what happened at Haditha, but rather whether Murtha "is rushing to judgment before a full linvestigation is completed and made public."

Huddy made an issue of Murtha's calling the possible massacre of 24 unarmed civilians, including women and children, "worse than Abu-Ghraib." Well, wouldn't 24 people killed for no reason be worse than abusing prisoners who lived? Oh, I get it. If there aren't pictures of it happening that are spread across the web, then that makes it not so bad.

Cowan, of course, as much as admitted that the massacre had taken place and that marines had tried to cover it up. "The indications are this is not going to be a good story by the time it's all done," he said, adding that "most likely some people did not want to send this word up the chain of command."

But the tone of the report was that the nation just should sit back and trust the marines to look into it themselves and not bother our busy little heads with a massacre that might make our country look like murderers in a part of the world where too many people already hate us. As Doocy pointed out, the military may not have wanted to believe the military, but now they're investigating.

Huddy apparently didn't think the "blame Murtha for the massacre" message was getting through clearly enough, so she trotted out the latest version of Fox News' "some people say" mantra. That is, she claimed to be getting a lot of emails from viewers who think that "Murtha is stoking a fire that really isn't burning so brightly right now. He's kind of pushing it a little bit, mentioning Abu Ghraib, saying this is even worse when we really haven't found out all the details of the investigation yet."

Cowan, of course, agreed and then lectured this elected representative of the people "just to sit back and let the events take their own course, take their own time. The Marine Corps, the commandant of the Marine Corps is not going to sit idly by while this happens."

That certainly would be the easy thing to do. Maybe Fox News should do that. Just close down all its news bureaus and just assume the government will take care of everything and if anything goes wrong they'll fix it. Why should Fox News reporters like Huddy and Doocy bother important people in the government asking about these issues that are so unpleasant when we know we can trust them to do the right thing? In fact, why do we even need representatives like Murtha poking into the military. It's not like the military is subject to civilian control in this country or anything.

Think how much more time Doocy and Huddy would have to spend on getting ready for their daily segment on "American Idol" if they didn't have to waste time reading those cards that their producers type up for them about such tedious issues as the Iraq civil war.

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