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Dump on Murtha Day at Big Story

Reported by Chrish - November 15, 2006 -

Two segments on The Big Story today 11/14/06 focused on the ethics questions and alleged earmarking records of Congressman John Murtha, who is up for the position of Majority Leader in the House come January. It's no secret that FOX loathes Murtha for his stance against continued involvement in Iraq and they are all too happy to provide a platform for criticism of him. Steny Hoyer, another possible leader, was not given any scrutiny and barely got his name mentioned except as an opponent to Murtha.

The decision-making is being portrayed on The Big Story as increasingly "bitter and personal", although we've seen many times that Congresspersons who are at odds at work are good friends after hours. (It's a grown-up thing; FOX wouldn't understand.)

Major Garrett reported a segment, if you can call it that after an editorial/introduction like this:

"I don't have to tell you that the biggest insult one Democrat can hurl at another Democrat is that Democrat is with [Bush] on Iraq."

Murtha put out a statement saying Hoyer has been "stay the course" with Bush all along and also, like John McCain, supports sending more troops. Prefacing Hoyer's denial Garrett said "John Hoyer didn't exactly call Murtha a liar, but..." he put out a statement saying Murtha's statement was wrong. Garrett continued to put a negative spin on the Democrats' decision-making, saying the Murtha "attack" was a "desperate move," and Nancy Pelosi's endorsement of Murtha presented an "obstacle" which "many Democrats privately say is draining the party of focus and unity." From his "reporting" it sounds like the whole party is about to self-destruct just seven days after their historic sweeping success. No, no bias there.

Of course, Garrett was just following orders from VP of News:

"In the House the newly empowered Dems will shed some fraternal blood before settling in...a former hawk and a political hack. Garrett will observe."

The following segment featured Steve Ellis from Taxpayers for Common Sense who was there to 1.) concur with CREW, a progressive organization that finds Murtha unacceptable based on ethics transgressions, and 2.) add a new negative to the Murtha profile. Ellis charges, without citing any specifics, that Murtha is the worst "earmarker" in Congress.

With Gibson leading the way, he and Ellis continued to list supposed negatives about Murtha: "he has a brother who is a lobbyist, and some others have made connections here"; Abscam (no charges filed); close ties with lobbying firms; and his earmarking in the Defense Appropriation Bill that directed $120 million to his state of Pennsylvania.

Clearly once again FOX has chosen sides in a political story and is using its national platform to further an agenda. This was a one-sided hit piece with no investigation or revelations about Steny Hoyer, the chosen one on FOX.