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Fox Uses a "Threat" That Was "Dissed" by Homeland Security to Terrorize its Viewers

Reported by Melanie - October 18, 2006 -

At 4:15 p.m. ET today (October 18, 2006) during Your World w/Neil Cavuto, Fox aired a FOX NEWS ALERT and Cavuto said,

We've got news of a disturbing report coming through the Associated Press from a website claiming that seven National Football League stadiums will be attacked with radiological dirty bombs this weekend in, among other cities, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston. Again, we're not getting any indications as well what the government thinks of this although on the wires a government spokesman is skeptical of these threats.
Our Katherine Herridge will have much more on them later in the show but for now, that's the threat and we just wanted to bring it to your attention.

After a roundtable discussion I posted about earlier, Cavuto headed to a break with:

Again, just to update you on this item we're getting. A website that's now being picked up by AP saying that some stadiums are in danger of being attacked by radiological dirty bombs this weekend. All we know is that it could be in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston. The government dismissing it. We'll have more on this after this.

Cavuto came back after the break with another FOX NEWS ALERT and said this, over a live, full screen shot of Miami's Dolphin stadium:

You're looking at Dolphin stadium in Miami, Florida. Fox News Alert for you. A website reporting NFL stadiums, including this one, could be targeted by dirty bombs this weekend. Now how serious is the government taking this threat? Apparently not too seriously but it is on it.

Cavuto then introduced reporter Katherine Herridge who said:

I spoke to one of my contacts over at Homeland Security and they're basically just dissing this threat.

After a few seconds Cavuto interrupted: I'm getting a report now, "reaction from the NFL" and, "I'm just quoting here -- 'The Departrment of Homeland Security has judged that the threat is not credible...'"

Back to Herridge who said Homeland Security,

[W]as in this pushing back pretty hard and pretty immediately. When they tell you that there's no credible intelligence to support it, that's as definitive as it can get.

That should have been it, right? Not today. Not on Fox. Not this close to an election.

After the Herridge interview Cavuto introduced his next guest, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, the author of Never Quite the Fight who was on to talk about Iran and North Korea. A chyron appeared at the bottom of the screen: Report: Seven NFL Stadiums Targeted with Dirty Bombs, and Fox went to a split-screen showing Peters and Dolphin stadium. Cavuto's first question to Peters was:

Colonel, what do you make, first of all of this threat?

For the record, Peters said he would have to "trust Homeland Security."

After the Peters segment, an ad break, a report by Jim Engle and an interview with a representative of the Minuteman organization, Cavuto headed to another break with:

By the way, we're referring you there, what you see on the right side of your screen, the Dolphin stadium in Miami. This report, again, disputed by Homeland Security, that as many as seven NFL stadiums could be targeted by terrorists -- dirty bombs -- all disputed, but we are keeping on top of it. After this.

After the break, at 4:40 p.m. ET, Cavuto returned with a third FOX NEWS ALERT and a full screen live shot of Quest stadium in Seattle:

Alright. Qwest stadium in Seattle, Washington among seven NFL stadiums reportedly targeted by terrorists for dirty bombs this weekend. Homeland Security has said just not so, just not credible.
The NFL putting out a statement that own stadiums are well protected. We've got a good screening process. Ain't gonna happen. Nevertheless, the fears are still there.

Government authorities are indeed investigating these latest rumors that first appeared on a website and then were carried by the wires. I'm trying to find out what this group claiming responsibility, ahead of the fact, is all about. Our Katherine Herridge though has talked to some of those folks at Homeland Security, again reminding us they're not making a big deal of this. Yet. We'll keep you on top of it.

That was the last Cavuto said about it but at 5:00 p.m. ET, John Gibson opened "The Big Story," with another FOX NEWS ALERT and he picked up where Cavuto left off.

Comment: No doubt there will be more FOX NEWS ALERTS -- er, Republican campaign contributions -- between now and November 7.