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FOX's "Man in Venezuela" Adam Housley Calls NY City Councilman Charles Barron a "Son of a Bitch". Barron Stays Cool. Defends Hugo Chavez and Trounces Connie Mack.

Reported by Marie Therese - June 4, 2007 -

On Friday June 1, 2007, if Adam Housley had been a wooden puppet named Pinocchio, his nose would have grown several feet during a heated exchange with New York City Councilman Charles Barron. Barron, who was invited by host Neil Cavuto to appear as a guest on Your World, was his usual highly informed, unflappable self. The topic of conversation was Hugo Chavez and the protests occurring in the streets of several large Venezuelan cities over the Chavez government's refusal to renew the license of RCTV, a privately held company. FOX News has been desperately trying to portray the protests as a large-scale, populist challenge to President Chavez, whom FOX employees and guests consistently call a "dictator." As Chrish pointed out in a recent post, contrary to what FOX News would like its viewers to believe, there is another side to the story. As video clips show, Housley was bending the truth into a pretzel. With video.

Cavuto started off the segment by announcing that the protests in Venezuela had intensified during the night before. He introduced NY City Councilman Charles Barron, who immediately corrected the way Cavuto had phrased his introduction, noting the Hugo Chavez had not "shut down" RCTV, but had simply not renewed their contract.

CHARLES BARRON: "It was RCTV that promoted, pushed the coup d'etat, the taking over, the calling for the assassination of the President. I bet you, if NBC, ABC acted like RCTV in America, and called for the assassination of George Bush, called for the overturning of his government, they would be shut down and put in jail. What the government did in Venezuela is not renew the 53-year contract."

Cavuto countered that if his contract at FOX was not renewed, he would be, in essence, fired. Barron noted that, in that case, Cavuto would just have to go find another job somewhere else.

Barron went on to explain that, "when President Bush lied us into this war, millions protested. Look at the few that's in the streets in Venezuela. President Bush, he does worse with the Patriot Act. He does worse. He's shuttin' down our freedoms."

Later when Cavuto argued that the people in the streets of Caracas didn't seem to like Hugh Chavez very much, Barron answered "You got a million people not flippin' over George Bush because they demonstrated against his war ..."

Cavuto then introduced Adam Housley who claims to be the only American correspondent in Venezuela reporting on the protests. Housley responded by saying the Councilman was "full of baloney" and suggested that Barron come down to Venezuela to "see what's actually going on." He reported that Chavez had threatened to close down Globovision, the other privately-held station. Then he interviewed "Jessica" (no last name given), the very attractive, well-spoken, young daughter of an unidentified political prisoner, who said that Chavez shouldn't have shut down RCTV.

Barron's response was swift. "Oh, that was a real democratic sampling of the Venezuelan population," Barron said. "...You talk to one protester in a crowd of a few thousand in a country that has millions, and you talk about objective journalism? Let us hear from the other side."

Barron later agreed there might be a thousand or two thousand protesters. Housley then jumped into the fray, pointing at the camera angrily and saying "You tell that son of a bitch I just came from a Chavista rally!"

CHARLES BARRON: "Why don't you go talk to some of the opposition to the people that you're standin' in front of? Talk to some of the millions that support Hugo Chavez."

ADAM HOUSLEY: "I have. I just came from there!"

BARRON: "What kind of - what kind of journalism is that..."

HOUSLEY: "I just came from there."

BARRON: "... when you talk to ..."

HOUSLEY: "I just came from there."

BARRON: " ... one - wait a minute! Let me say something. I listened to you."

HOUSLEY: "Hey."

CROSSTALK.

BARRON: "You talked to one protester in a crowd of a few thousand in a country that has millions ..."

HOUSLEY: "Congressman or, excuse me, city - thank god you're not a Congressman, actually."

BARRON: "... and you're talkin' about objective journalism."

HOUSLEY: "City Councilman."

NEIL CAVUTO" Alright. Go ahead Adam."

HOUSLEY: "City Councilman."

BARRON: "Let us hear from the other side."

END CROSSTALK.

HOUSLEY: "I just came from a Chavista rally where I had people threaten me. The City Councilman needs to understand ..."

BARRON (interrupting): "Adam, let us hear from the other side."

HOUSLEY: "... that we just came from a Chavista rally and if he watched FOX News, he would know - let me finish, sir."

BARRON: "FOX News is ... "

HOUSLEY: "Let me finish, sir. I let you finish. I'm just tellin' you we've been down here. We've been showing both sides."

BARRON: "No, you haven't! I haven't seen anything."

HOUSLEY: "We've been to both Chavista rallies - only two - we've been to both. Excuse me. Excuse me. Let me finish. There have been two since we've been here, the week. We have been to both. No other network in the U. S. has been to both. We've been to both. We've been threatened at both. We have not been threatened here."

BARRON: "Thought you said you'd been threatened at both?"

HOUSLEY: "So we've been to both. And we've been to both rallies and talked to people on both sides. If there are more Chavista rallies, we'll go to them. You need to watch what's going on and understand that we have been to both rallies, sir. You have not been watching FOX News, 'cause we've been to both rallies for the Chavistas and all the rallies here." (sounds of applause in the background, possibly from protesters who were listening)

BARRON: Well, I don't have time to sit home and watch TV. I'm an activist. But you ..."

CROSSTALK.

CAVUTO: "You just said that we weren't getting the other side ..."

BARRON: "I'm going by what I saw."

CAVUTO: " ... and he has."

HOUSELY: "Well, obviously he's an activist who doesn't know what he's talkin' about. That's fine. That's fine"

BARRON: "That's what he's tellin' me. If he's sayin' that, that's fine."

CAVUTO: "OK."

In a second segment Barron took on Florida Republican Congressman Connie Mack. Mack started right off by insulting Barron, saying he'd "been bought off" by Hugh Chavez's oil giveaway to poor people.

Barron's response was "When intelligence ends, name-calling and accusations begin. You don't know what you're talking about." He continued, pointing out that Chavez has tried to alleviate the plight of poor people over the world who cannot afford oil.

When Cavuto pointed out that the unemployment rate is higher under Chavez, Barron shot back that that rate was a vestige of the oligarchy that ruled Venezuela for many years. He then said that he had heard "something different" from the information Cavuto quoted.

Later Mack insulted Barron. Barron insulted Mack. One got the impression these two guys did not like each other very much.

COMMENT

As soon as I heard Housley and Cavuto state that FOX News had indeed covered the pro-Chavez rallies, I knew I hadn't seen any such thing and emailed the other News Hounds asking if any of them had seen any coverage whatsoever of either Chavista rally. The answer from one and all was a resounding "no."

In order to "get" Charles Barron, Housley and Cavuto lied to him. In the clips below, which are representative of those that we News Hounds saw, there are only two brief descriptions, not of "Chavistas", but of "socialists", whom Housley claimed Chavez had summoned from the hills to attack the innocent doctors, lawyers and college students were were in the streets protesting. Housley clearly states that the anti-Chavez protesters outnumber the pro-Chavez supporters, leaving the audience with the assumption that the protests were growing in size.

However, in the same reports Housley contradicted himself when he mentioned that the Venezuelan army had been called out to keep the two opposing factions separated.

So, what is it? Either Chavez wanted a confrontation between the protesters and the Chavistas - or he didn't. FOX News can't have it both ways.

We News Hounds are convinced that, prior to June 1, 2007, FOX did not show its viewers the pro-Chavez side of the RCTV issue.

There is something else that just doesn't pass the smell test in this story. Knowing FOX as well as we do, none of us can believe that FOX would have suppressed a juicy bit of tape showing their stalwart "man in Venezuela" being threatened with bodily harm by a crowd of "socialist" peasants from the hills around Caracas. If such footage existed, it would have been shown, to demonstrate to FOX viewers that the Chavistas were nothing more than out-of-control animals.

Which leads me to wonder if Housley was telling the unvarnished truth when he said he'd been "threatened."

As for his and Cavuto's contention that FOX News showed both sides, take a look at the Housley clips below, which are representative of how FOX covered the "uprising in Caracas." They speak for themselves.

in an interesting twist, our guest blogger Priscilla did report that during the weekend edition of Big Story, Adam Housley finally got around to mentioning the "very large" pro-Chavez rally that he attended. Naturally, he and Banderas put the typical FOX spin on it. Here's how Priscilla put it:

"[Julie] Banderas interviewed Adam Housley who is covering the unrest in Venezuala. He reported on a massive pro-Chavez demonstration which, according to people he interviewed on the streets, consisted of government workers who were coerced into attending and given rewards for their participation. Banderas indignantly said that she 'couldn’t imagine living in a country where the government forces you to go to a protest. That’s just insane.'"

Of course, we all know that the "people on the streets" that he interviewed were all anti-Chavez protesters.

A lot of very powerful people don't like Hugo Chavez.

The oil companies. (Chavez nationalized * the oil industry in Venezuela, as did most of the Arab nations many years ago.)

The 25 families that used to run the country. (They lost their land and a lot of their wealth.)

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. (They were disappointed when Venezuela paid off all of its debts early. It hurts to lose all that nice interest, doesn't it?)

As for Adam Housley, his metaphorical "wooden nose" just keeps growing and growing and growing. Poor guy. At this rate it will be a long time before he'll be able to walk without his FOX News strings attached!


* Post updated June 4, 2007 at 1:36 Pm EDT: "Privatized" changed to "nationalized." Hat tip to Peter for the catch. - MT

CHARLES BARRON, NEIL CAVUTO AND ADAM HOUSLEY


CHARLES BARRON TROUNCES REP. CONNIE MACK (R-FL)

ADAM HOUSLEY CLIPS FROM YOUR WORLD 5-28-07

ADAM HOUSLEY CLIPS FROM YOUR WORLD MAY 29-30, 2007

ADAM HOUSLEY CLIPS FROM BIG STORY WITH JOHN GIBSON MAY 29-30, 2007

ADAM HOUSLEY CLIPS FROM BIG STORY WITH JOHN GIBSON MAY 31 - JUNE 1, 2007