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Fox News Ups the Fear Factor After Chavez Speech

Reported by Judy - September 20, 2006 -

Fox News turned to fomenting war against another country Wednesday (Sept. 20, 2006), with one of its anchors warning of a Cuban missile crisis looming with Venezuela and claiming that the country's president is on his way to becoming a dictator.

David Asman, host of Forbes on Fox, showed up on "Dayside" to react to Hugo Chavez's speech to the United Nations, in which he referred to Bush as the "devil" and said Bush talked "as if he owned the world."

Asman, who apparently was invited to react to the speech because he once interviewed Chavez, warned against under-estimating Chavez.

"He’s not a dummy," Asman said. "He knows what he’s talking about, and he is absolutely committed to the socialist path. He takes all of his cues from Fidel Castro who has taught him how to be the dictator that he is, seems to becoming. Now he was elected by the people, but what happens when he begins to run out of money? What happens when the price of oil goes down to $50 a barrel?"

Mark Weisbrot, of the Center for Economic Policy and Research, attempted to balance Asman's claims by noting that the positive reaction from other U.N. delegates shows "how much our government has aliented the world with our foreign policy."

As Weisbrot attempted to rebut Asman's claims about Chavez being or becoming a dictator, Asman interrupted him, laughed, and talked over him, distracting viewers from the points Weisbrot was attempting to make.

"People have been saying now for more than seven years that Venezuela is going to be a dictatorship, but they’ve had consistently clean elections, actually considerably better than ours in terms of transparency," Weisbrot said, while Asman muttered, "Better than ours? No way."

Weisbrot eventually said, "Can I finish? I didn't interrupt you?"

"But you say things that aren't true," Asman insisted at one point.

Weisbrot continued that Venezuela "is a democratic government. You may not like what he says and he‘s not the most diplomatic president in the world obviously, but that is a democratically elected government and a democratic government and the rest of the world respects that. It’s very unfortunate that our government has chosen not to respect that. They’ve chosen to support a military coup against his government."

After Asman finished trying to undermine Weisbrot, "Dayside" went to Sen. Saxbe Chambliss, R-Georgia, for more Chavez bashing.

Chambliss tried to persuade viewers that he actually would be upset if Chavez had made similar statements against a Democratic president.

"Venezuela’s not that far away from the southern tip of the United States," said Chambliss. "So it’s pretty frightening and we do need to pay very close attention to it because again, this guy is not an idiot, he’s not a fool, and yet he’s somebody who comes into the United States and makes these kind of statements about our leader and it should really be a wake-up call to athe American people."

The U.S. already had supported one coup against Chavez, and Chambliss may be pushing for another one, more or less guaranteeing the end to democratic government there, despite Bush administration claims to love democracies.

Next it was back to Asman, for yet more scare tactics.

"We could have another Cuban missile crisis in Venezuela, particularly because of Chavez's relationship with Fidel," he said.

Why is it the U.S. refuses to try to get along with any country that produces oil?