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FOX News Pulls Plug on Civil Rights Attorney. Abruptly Terminates Discussion of First Amendment.

Reported by Marie Therese - June 21, 2006

Tiki Barber may be superb on the football field but on FOX & Friends' "Tuesdays with Tiki", he comes across as just another FOX News shill-in-training. Yesterday morning, he and co-host Kiran Chetry were so completely outmaneuvered by civil rights attorney Michael Gross that FOX literally cut the segment short for a commercial break. You can watch the video and/or read the transcript below.

As they say: One picture, or, in this case, video clip, is worth a thousand words!

KIRAN CHETRY: Switching gears now, the ACLU Board is debating a proposed policy that places limits on its members' speech. Well, with us is Michael Gross, a constitutional attorney, who is also a member of the ACLU and this has generated a lot of buzz, simply because the ACLU, of course, by nature protects free speech but now some of its Board members are being told "Maybe you can't really air your opinion." What do you think?

MICHAEL GROSS: The ACLU, as you know, is a great organization. Why FOX News likes to point up any opportunity to ridicule them, I don't understand, but every group - the Cabinet of the United States, the Board of any corporation - says to its members "Let's not knock each other publicly." I'm sure that if you go into an editorial meeting, you don't come out here and publicly say "I disagree with what Roger said. I think that Rupert is wrong."

CHETRY (talks over the last 6 words): Yeah. Understood, but your organization's charged with allowing people to say what they want to say. And you talked about why they get knocked around here at FOX and (glances at her laptop) sometimes we wonder why, you know, they support - why they pick certain causes, like protecting the right of a man to marry a boy?

GROSS: What they said was that they can discuss and should discuss policy but not staff, not individuals, not personally, but, but really it seems to me that, if there's a story here - I must say that I was on FOX one night on one of the later shows and I got a call the next day from the ACLU asking me not to speak as - with the ACLU underneath my name and I said, of course, I'd respect that but why? And they said because we feel that FOX just wants to knock us, just wants to beat us up and doesn't give us a fair hearing. So ...

TIKI BARBER (interrupts): But also the person that said this to you did not even watch the segment, so she was just assuming by the reputation of FOX News - but my question ...

GROSS: No. What she said was it doesn't make any difference. You can't win on FOX for ACLU.

BARBER: That's not true, though. I mean, it's, it's, it's - you give your point ...


BARBER: ... you can win. (glances at laptop) My question is this. (glances at laptop again, struggles to frame his question) Why is it that - it - that - it seems that - um - the ACLU is under - is gonna be under investigation apparently by the Attorney General's office? Is this something you guys are worried about? Are you worried about it or not?

GROSS: Now, wait a minute. What - what a slur that is.

BARBER: I'm not ...

GROSS: It's so unfair. No. No. In fact, what he said specifically was that we are not investigating the ACLU.

BARBER: So what are they doing then? What is - you tell me what the Attorney General's office contacted the ACLU about.

GROSS: Look. Somebody called the Attorney General's office and said "Would it be a concern to you if speech were barred of directors of a public or charitable organization?" and that person said "Yeah, that might be of concern to us."



GROSS: And the that, by yellow journalism, is contorted into "Oh, the Attorney General's office might be investigating the ACLU."

BARBER: So, it's really - it's really nothing, then?

CHETRY: They just - they got- they got a warning.

GROSS: It is worse than nothing. It is yellow journalism. It is unfair to ACLU.

CHETRY (pouncing): The New York Times article was yellow journalism?


GROSS: No. You're converting that incident into some black mark against a really fine civil liberties organization you ought to be supporting - every American ought to be supporting ...

CHETRY: Well, it's fair and balanced that we had you on today, now, right? So you got to ...

GROSS: ... because it supports our right.

CHETRY: ... say your opinion.

GROSS: The First Amendment. Don't you support that ...

Segment cut short in the middle of Mr. Gross' sentence.

NOTE: A big thank you goes to News Hound Judy for the YouTube clip!

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