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Communication 101: Two Democrats Actually Get Their Points Across on FOX News. But, It Wasn't Easy!

Reported by Marie Therese - May 3, 2007 -

Probable Presidential candidate Fred Thompson recently told Sean Hannity that the Democrats were "near to vesting in the defeat of their own country." Neil Cavuto invited Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to respond on yesterday's edition of Your World. Later on, Cavuto went head to head with Democratic New York City Councilman Charles Barron, an outspoken supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Barron's district includes East New York, Brownsville, Canarsie and East Flatbush. Despite Cavuto's rudeness and repeated interruptions, both men managed to get their points across. To be a Democrat on FOX News Channel one must either use subterfuge (realigning an earpiece) or have a louder voice in order to be heard. With video.

Cavuto started off the Menendez interview by claiming that the Democratic Party "seems to be kowtowing to the MoveOn.orgs or the extreme left-wing elements of the party." Sen. Menendez, of course, denied this accusation, noting that, in essence, Fred Thompson was accusing 65% of the American people of being left-wing extremists because they want a change of course in Iraq. "That 65% of America all aren't part of MoveOn. org or any other part, necessarily, of the Democratic Party," Menendez said. "As a matter of fact, just every poll we see even a significant number of Republicans and a wide number of Independents have a view that is very similar to what Democrats are espousing here in the Congress...."

Cavuto jumped in and denied the validity of Menendez's 65% figure, but the Senator came back quickly stating that a "majority" of Americans "across the spectrum" agreed with the Democrats. Cavuto would not let him finish his thought (because, of course, it did not reflect the most recent GOP talking points memo).

Menendez then used a diversionary tactic that was terrific. He said, "Since you're screaming in my ear, let me remove my earpiece a little bit." Bingo! Score one for the good guys! Cavuto did not look happy about this, but at least he allowed the Senator to finish his thought! Cavuto stayed on his best behavior for the remainder of the segment, which permitted Menendez to clearly make the point that Democrats are not calling for immediate withdrawal but are also not willing to write George Bush a "blank check" to engage in a war that drags out far into the future.

Comment: One must remember that last year Dick Cheney admitted to Chris Wallace that this war could take 20, 30 or 40 years! Since a lot of FOX News Military Analysts have become millionaires providing services on the battlefield and many of the FOX business pundits recommend investing in war-related companies, that prospect is probably pretty attractive!

Later in the show Cavuto invited New York City Councilman Charles Barron to speak about Hugo Chavez's recent nationalization of the oil fields in Venezuela. Despite the fact that Chavez is the legitimately elected leader of his country, Neil Cavuto and FOX News consistently refer to him as a dictator. In fact, the chyron used in the lower third of the screen set the tone for the entire interview: NYC COUNCILMAN DEFENDS CHAVEZ'S OIL GRAB.

President Chavez recently paid off the outstanding loans that Venezuela had with the IMF and the World Bank and has severed ties with those two institutions. He saved his country $8 million in interest payments, no mean feat in a region where high levels of debt are the norm. However, this fact carried no weight with Cavuto whose sympathies lie with the large oil concerns who have had to renegotiate their contracts with Venezuela in order to continue to do business there.

At one point Neil Cavuto used a technique that is common on FOX News. He asked a question - "What do you think the history is of nationalized entities? How do you think they do?" - knowing full well that his preconditioned audience would assume that the answer must be that nationalization has always been bad. Thus, when Barron answered, correctly, "I think they do well when they serve the people," Cavuto merely threw out a one-liner about Vladimir Putin and modern-day Russia, thus implying that all nationalization efforts have been failures without having to actually bring up the biggest and most telling of nationalizations, i.e., the Arab takeovers of the oil fields in the 1970s.

Barron was not shy about reacting when Cavuto refused to let him speak, asking him at one point "Are you gonna let me get a word in?" and later wondering whether or not Cavuto was just interested in carrying on a monologue rather than a dialogue.


Although Democrats Bob Menendez and Charles Barron actually were able to get their points across, one wonders, however, if there are enough impartial FOX viewers to make the effort worthwhile?