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Shawn's Report Drips with Pity for Bolton

Reported by Judy - November 13, 2006 -

Whenever the words "I think" appear in a news story, I get nervous. The words signal either that the reporter is guessing about the facts or expressing an opinion. When Fox News reporter Eric Shawn used the words in a report on George Bush's attempt to push John Bolton through again as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., I knew Shawn was leaving the realm of news reporting.

On the "Live Desk" on Monday (November 12, 2006), Martha MacCallum asked Shawn about Bush's attempt to get the lame-duck Republican-led Congress to confirm Bolton, who is serving now as a recess appointment because he could not be confirmed when first nominated a year ago. She also asked Shawn, "How is he received there by other countries?"

Shawn never got around to answering how other countries' ambassadors perceive Bolton, which might have given a clue as to why Democrats and lame-duck Republican Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island refuse to confirm him.

Instead, Shawn launched into a defense of Bolton, saying that the refusal to confirm Bolton is "actually kind of surprising, but the fact is that they accuse Mr. Bolton of being the Bush administration going alone on diplomacy. And Martha objective analysis shows you that nothing could be further than the truth. John Bolton, by any analysis, has achieved I think some remarkable success over the last few months."

Then Shawn went on to list six U.N. Security Council resolutions that he said Bolton deserved credit for. Several of them are reminders of what a dismal failure Bush's foreign policy has been: two resolutions dealing with North Korea's firing of missiles in July and its recent nuclear test, and one on Iran's uranium enrichment program. Then there was the resolution ending the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, a resolution that came weeks later than it should have.

Shawn went on. "He voted against the [U.N.] Human Rights Commission. Turned out the guy was right. We were only one of four nations that did that. Their first resolution slammed Israel," Shawn said, apparently not noticing that he was expressing his own opinion again.

Then it was on to promote the idea of the U.N. as corrupt, before Shawn concluded, "So I think he has been succesful. I think that’s exactly what the record shows, but he’s become a political pawn I think because of the results of the election.”

Next, MacCallum turned to the "A-List" for a predictably partisan discussion between a panel stacked with conservatives, the lone progressive voice being Jane Fleming of Young Democrats of America. Fleming said Bolton "continues to a bully" and that the "perception internationally is that he is not the right person for the job."

Since Shawn failed to supply any information about what other countries' ambassadors think of Bolton, the average viewer may have a tough time evaluating Fleming's statement.

Shawn should have done less "thinking" and more "reporting" in this segment.