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Major Garrett Makes Sure Viewers Understand Foley Communication Was Simply "Over Familiar"

Reported by Janie - October 3, 2006 -

Fox Congressional Correspondent Major Garrett filed a report last night (10/2) on "Special Report" concerning the growing scandal surrounding former Representative Mark Foley. Sadly for viewers, the report downplayed the accusations, referring to them consistently with the phrase the GOP leadership has been using, while neglecting to include information in the case that harms the GOP leadership.

Garrett introduced the segment, "House Speaker Dennis Hastert said GOP leaders never knew former Congressman Mark Foley sent sexually explicit text messages to former House Pages, possibly in violation of federal and state laws."

Dennis Hastert: "We didn’t know about Mr. – the behavior of the gentleman from Florida, especially in the very implicit text messages that date back to 2003."

Comment: While it is still unclear if Hastert was aware of the situation at this point, the GOP certainly was. According to ABC, a Republican staff member warned pages in 2001, "don't get too wrapped up in him being too nice to you and all that kind of stuff."

Note: From here on, Garrett takes Hastert's statements as face value, reporting them as fact without once questioning (aka, the "job" of a journalist) or correcting any of Hastert's claims.

MG: "Those text messages are now the subject of an FBI and Florida investigation of possible sexual exploitation of children. Hastert told Fox he only knew about a 2005 email described as overly friendly and sent to a page then sponsored by Louisiana Republican Congressman, Rodney Alexander."

DH: "Mr. Foley did send a message to a page after he had left the page program. What we knew at the time, we didn’t even know what the text of the message was."

Comment: According to Hastert himself, he was aware of these emails in the fall of 2005 after he received a phone call from Alexander's Chief of Staff who had learned of the exchange. Hastert's Chief of Staff called the Clerk and asked him to come to Hastert's office to "put him together with Congressman Alexander's Chief of Staff."

Garrett continued, "Hastert said his staff referred the matter to Illinois Congressman John Shimkus, who’s head of the page board."

Comment: Again, it would have been appropriate for a balanced news station to mention that while the matter was referred to Republican members of the page board, the single Democrat on the board was
NEVER notified of the situation.

DH: "Mr. Shimkus confronted Mr. Foley at that time, to my understanding, and told him not to do that anymore, and he didn’t have text message. He was told that there was no sexual overtones to it, and it was only, he didn’t say what it was. It was over familiarity, over kind chit chat he said he was... "

MG: "Hastert acknowledged that no formal investigation occurred and that no professionals were brought into evaluate the potential seriousness of Foley’s overly friendly emails to a 16 year old boy, employed by the
House.

The sexually explicit emails that have surfaced so far dealt with contacts Foley had with a page that had graduated from the program. Hastert called them vile, many cannot be broadcast.

In one, Foley writing under his personal address, Maf54, said ‘How my favorite young stud?’ The boy says he starts lacrosse soon. Foley writes, ‘Love to watch
that. Those great legs running.’

Foley then engages the boy in a lengthy conversation about masturbation. Throughout his congressional career, Foley refused to discuss his sexuality publicly, rumors persisted that he was gay. There is no evidence that GOP leaders knew about Foley’s secret correspondence with male house pages.

Comment: Actually, as I have documented above - there is plenty of evidence that GOP leaders knew of the correspondence. Garrett is simply shilling for the Republican party in an attempt to help save the 2006 election.

Garrett went on, "But last fall Louisiana Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander warned Hastert’s staff and New York Congressman Tom Reynolds that Foley had sent an email that had unnerved a boy he had sponsored. Foley’s email sought a photo of the boy and asked him what he wanted for his birthday. The boy told a House colleague he considered the emails sick.

Comment: Garrett does not mention at this point, which would have been prudent, that Reynolds became aware of the situation in March or February of 2006. Just a few months later in July of 2006, Reynolds' PAC (TOMPAC) received a check from Foley for $100,000."

Garrett continued, "Alexander also alerted Minority Leader John Bohener about Foley’s overly friendly email to the page. Boehner, like Hastert and Reynolds, did nothing personal to investigate the matter.

Conservative talk show host Michael Reagan, son of the former President and former House GOP investigator turned activist, David Bosse today called for Hastert to resign."

David Bosse: "Speaker Hastert has to be held accountable for inaction. Actions have consequences, and so does inaction. And I feel very strongly that our children need to be protected."

MG: "Meanwhile, a separate division of the FBI opened an investigation over the weekend. Today, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement opened a second inquiry.
Both agencies determining whether Foley broke laws against sexual exploitation of children.

Fox News has learned that over the years Foley had gained a reputation among boy house pages as overly friendly."

Matthew Loraditch (former House page): "When we were in Washington, you know, all we knew was he was a little bit flaky, he was a little bit odd."

MG: "Foley was not known to have conducted sexually explicit emails with House pages until they had left the program. A former page says Foley often sought
follow-up email addresses from outgoing male pages."

ML: "Before he left, he gave several people his email address so they could keep up with him after they left, and then, you know, the people who kept up with him, some of the guys, ended up having conversations that devolved into stuff like you saw on the internet."

MG: "And Brit, late today David Ross, who was the attorney for Mark Foley described his client as emotionally devastated and confirmed on camera what we’ve known all day, that Mark Foley has checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center. Mr. Ross
says Foley needs mental heath assistance as well, he would now disclose where Mark Foley is, saying he will be there for a while."

Brit Hume: "There were rumors about his sexuality, but never anything about him being a drunk."

MG: "Mr. Ross said his, Mr. Foley, in his words, like many alcoholics, consumed his alcohol privately, and did not do so publicly."

Comment: Fortunately, Hume actually acknowledges that the drunkeness is not really at issue here, but he and other members of Fox have specifically pointed out Foley's tendency towards homosexuality, which really has no bearing in this situation. The one word that does apply - pedophile (or two words: child molester) - was not once mentioned in the entire, biased segment.

Coming from a channel that claims they are looking out for American's best interests, especially the children - to be complicit in helping the Republican party save face over these events is shameful and hypocritical.

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