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FOX Big Story in re-runs - non-stop beating of war drum

Reported by Chrish - July 19, 2006 -

The entire hour of The Big Story today was much the same as the rest of the programs: the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah (ostensibly, though it's the people of Lebanon who are getting pounded) is really all about us. The guests and analysts and commentators all shared the same view, though voiced in different terms and degrees. Ultimately the audience is being primed for the US to go to war with Iran and perhaps Syria too, which has been the Bush administration's plan all along. It was almost like watching a rerun - deja vu with a twist.

One item of note:

Gibson remarked that more than 250 people are now dead on both sides of the border (his emphasis). This implies that the casualties are in that range on, well, both sides. Actually there are over 250 dead total on both sides, but Gibson doesn't give us a breakdown. Turkish Weekly does:

"About 230 Lebanese people have been killed since then - the vast majority of them civilians, but including about 30 soldiers.

Twenty-five Israelis have died - 13 civilians and 12 members of the military. "

And the Bangkok Post reports this:

"Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militant group in back-and- forth strikes with Israel, announced the death of one of its fighters, bringing its losses to four."

So 200+ dead civilians to get four terrorists. At this rate there'll be nobody left, because Hezbollah membership is estimated in the thousands in Lebanon alone.

"Team FOX" coverage included Jennifer Griffin, who used the name "Katushya" repeatedly when referring to the rockets launched by Hezbollah, perhaps to emphasize that the weapons are not American-made (i.e. sanctioned).

Guest Dina Powell, Deputy Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, told viewers that Secretary of State Rice will go to the area to bring a permanent cessation to hostilities when the time is right. Asked if that meant that she (Rice) was waiting for the violence to stop, Powell dodged the question and did a big glib PR spiel - just doing her job. In this case, the White House wants to look at the root causes and stop the terrorist backers - Iran and Syria. Asked for her opinion of James Woolsey's comment from yesterday, that Israel should bomb Demascus Syria, she reiterated that Iran and Syria need to put pressure on Hezbollah, to stop bombing and return the kidnapped Israeli soldiers.

Greg Palkot reported from Beirut on the evacuation of Americans from Beirut. Apparently the State Department is charging Americans to get them out of the war zone - $200 a head. Nice. Big hearted Uncle Sam will "still let you get out of this country" even if you don't have the cash - they'll float you a "repatriation loan." Palkot reports that at least 8,000 of the 25,000 people carrying American passports will be gotten out, but as Melanie reported, they are having a "Katrina moment." Meantime the chyrons below downplayed the scale of the problem, saying "300+ Americans evacuated from Lebanon so far," "hundreds of Americans wait to get out of Lebanon" and "US Ambassador: 1,000 Americans will leave Lebanon tomorrow."

Congress is set to vote on resolutions to condemn Hezzbollah and to support Israel. The resolutions also lay blame on Iran and Syria. The do-nothingest Congess in history votes on another posturing resolution. (See Harper's Index August 2006, on newstands.) Guest Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) co-sponsored the resolution with Frist and Reid.

Gibson asks her if Hezbollah is the problem, doesn't that really mean Iran and Syria are the problem, really? Absolutely, says Hutchinson. Was there ever any doubt what her answer would be? C'mon. Even though we don't have relations with Iran or Syria, we have allies who do and we should call on them to place sanctions on the two countries - "if diplomacy fails." But since we refuse to "negotiate with terrorists" diplomacy is doomed from the start.

Rudi Bakhtiar, a new addition to The Big Story, joined Gibson for a look at "Hezbollah's history of deadly attacks." She reads a quote intended to send shivers down your spine:

"(Hezbollah) is ready to attack Israeli and US interests world-wide. 'We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year. They've been trained, they can become fully armed; we're ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardize Israel and American interests. We're only waiting for the supreme leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War III, we welcome it."
While the Ayatollah calls for the destruction of Israel, the Iranian Foreign Minister denies any involvement on Iran's part in the current fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. (Gibson comments "his nose is growing.") But the Iranian Parliament Speaker came out over the weekend and said no part of Israel is safe from Hezbollah. The Iranian Defense Minister says Israel will regret its crimes once Muslim states resort to action. Apparently there's dissention within Iran over whether or not they're supporting Hezbollah in this effort.

Of course no pro-war program is complete without Bill Kristol, who predictably sees Iran and Syria all over the situation. He cites fellow FOX News Contributor and Special Report "All-star" Charles Krauthammer's upcoming column, which says this crisis is an opportunity. It's a crisis and a tragedy for those caught in the crosshairs, he says wih signature fake concern, but it's a great opportunity. (See casualty numbers above and get back to us, Bill.)

Gibson asks a good question: if Israel beating Hezbollah comes at a cost of many (more) Lebanese lives and we lose the friendship of Lebanon, is it still worth it? Kristol, who sees civilian death as an acceptable price to be shrugged off and forgotten, says of course, it's worth it. The deaths are worth it if it leads to the expulsion of a disarmed Hezbollah from Lebanon, the Lebanon government able to observe sovereignity, "and then we'll have a peaceful and democratic Lebanon that is perfectly happy to live in peace with Israel and its other neighbors." It's unfortunate that Lebanese get killed in the crossfire but in the end it's better for them.

Comment: For someone so smart he doesn't learn too fast. Those "unfortunate" dead will leave raging relatives behind who will feud with Israel in an endless cycle of revenge and violence. You can't make friendly neighborly countries by killing thousands of innocents "for their own good."

One of the final guests, Mark Hitchcock, was introduced as author of "Iran: the Coming Crisis." Not mentioned are any of his other books, which include "101 Most Asked Questions about the End Times", "Complete Book of Bible Prophecy", "What Jesus Says About Earth's Final Days", and "The Truth Behind Left Behind: A Biblical View of the End Times." Yup, one of those.

He sees the fingerprints of Iran all over this and Hezbollah is a surrogate, a proxy (how many times have we heard THAT in the last few days?) (Dozens.) He sees this situation as a distraction, a smokescreen for the Iranian nuclear "crisis."

Simon Marks, "Feature Story News Reporter", said that Hezbollah is now so strong they don't need Iran anymore. He believes there is still a tie between the two.

There's a lot more detail but the point is that there was unanimity in the point of view, the conclusions, and the judgments. It's not a popular point of view, but there are people who believe the US should cut aid to Israel and stop intertwining our futures. You'd never know it watching FOX - it seems like heresy to say maybe we should distance ourselves.

This was the most unbalanced piece of orchestrated rah-rah White House agenda touting I've seen in a long time, and I've seen plenty.