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'Fox and Friends' Finally Notice Libby Trial

Reported by Judy - February 9, 2007 -

After weeks of ignoring it, "Fox and Friends" finally took notice of the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of former top Bush administration official Lewis (Scooter) Libby, but the only purpose of their error-filled report was to try to slime a rival news organization. With video.

Co-host Brian Kilmeade led the discussion Friday (February 9, 2007) of the trial of Libby for lying to a grand jury about the outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame, the wife of a critic of the Iraq war. "Fox and Friends" has mostly ignored the trial since it got underway, but could no longer resist it once they saw a chance to attack Tim Russert, NBC News' Washington bureau chief.

Kilmeade claimed that the trial has been "confusing most everybody except those who are actually trying the case," sending a message to viewers that the case against Libby is a muddled one. In fact, day after day, witnesses against Libby have uniformly contradicted his claims that he did not know who Valerie Plame was, leaving Libby's defense nearly helpless to undermine them.

After that false description of the trial, Kilmeade went on to identify Russert as the "news director over there," prompting co-host Steve Doocy to step in and correctly identify Russert as NBC's Washington bureau chief.

Kilmeade and Doocy never mentioned that Russert denied that he had told Libby that Plame was the wife of administration critic Joe Wilson, contradicting again Libby's grand jury testimony. Instead, they zeroed in on defense attacks on Russert for his statement that Libby's indictment was "like Christmas Eve last night. Santa Claus is coming tomorrow. Surprises. What's under the tree?"

Kilmeade and Doocy interpreted the remark as excitement about Libby being indicted. "Now is that a fair and balanced approach to a breaking news story?" Kilmeade asked, claiming Russert may have been rooting for Libby to be indicted rather than reacting to the fact that a big story was breaking that reporters would be covering.

Even as he chided Russert for not being "fair and balanced," Kilmeade went on to make false statements about what the case is about. Kilmeade claimed that the trial was unnecessary because one reporter who wrote a column about Plame has identified Richard Armitage, an undersecretary of State, as the source for his information about her. Kilmeade conveniently ignored that there were leaks to other reporters that did not involve Armitage.

Furthermore, Kilmeade claimed there was some question about Plame's covert status. "How can you leak something about somebody that might not even have covert status," Kilmeade asked.

That statement, of course, ignored the fact that Libby is not charged with leaking Plame's identity but with lying about it to the grand jury. Specifically, he is charged with perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.

For much of the segment, Kilmeade was merely reading from the teleprompter so the errors are not his alone. It's too much to ask, apparently, that he have some independent knowledge about news events.

Later in the show, Chris Wallace told Kilmeade that his comments were a "cheap shot" and that all reporters get excited about big stories.