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Geraldo Compares Edwards’ Refusal To Participate in FOX News Debate To Chavez’ “Shutting Down” Venezuelan Television Station

Reported by Ellen - June 7, 2007 -

Not since FOX News tried to paint Nancy Pelosi as a supporter of pedophilia because she marched in the same parade as a NAMBLA supporter has there been such a ridiculously malicious attack on a Democrat as there was last night (6/6/07) in FOX News’ repeated attempts to smear presidential candidate John Edwards as a traitor -- because he campaigned that day with Hugo Chavez-supporter Danny Glover. Hannity & Colmes repeated the same insinuative discussions as were held by Big Story and The O’Reilly Factor. But Geraldo Rivera took it one step further by equating Edwards’ refusal to participate in two FNC-sponsored debates with Chavez’ so-called “shutting down” of a Venezuelan television station. With video.

Even without watching the prior assaults on Edwards on Big Story and O’Reilly, any casual viewer could see that the supposedly “fair and balanced” folks at FOX News set out to malign Edwards in the Hannity & Colmes discussion. This became clear when Rivera told Alan Colmes that he was mad at Edwards for “a whole ‘nother reason” than for campaigning with Chavez. Colmes responded that they’d get into that later. So the attack on Edwards for not debating was known to be part of the agenda. One suspects that was why Rivera was chosen as a guest.

In any event, the FOX News producers obviously knew the debate issue would come up, yet the guest who defended Edwards, Professor James Peterson of Bucknell University, seemed to have no knowledge the debate issue would arise and was unprepared to discuss it.

Behind a graphic which read, “Lethal friendship,” Hannity introduced the segment with a swipe at Edwards. Hannity said Edwards “attempted to add some Hollywood star power to his sagging campaign today” by appearing at campaign stops with actor Danny Glover who “publicly supported” Hugo Chavez. Once again, Chavez was incorrectly described as a dictator. “With this latest stunt, will (Edwards) alienate even his most ardent supporters?” Hannity asked.

Peterson explained that Glover and Edwards were campaigning for funding for rural, poverty-stricken areas in North Carolina and to fight a plague of methamphetamine abuse. Peterson pointed out that Chavez is not exactly a dictator in that he was elected three times and he also explained that the reason Danny Glover took the money is because he wants to make films nobody in Hollywood would fund.

Typically, Hannity was not interested in discussing the substantive issues, only in how bad are Edwards, Glover and Chavez? Just to make sure the viewers knew what to focus on, the chyron during much of the discussion read, “John Edwards campaigns with actor who supports Hugo Chavez.” “This is somebody that has come out against his own country,” Hannity said, jabbing his finger as he changed the subject back to demonizing Glover and, by extension, Edwards.

During Colmes’ portion of the interview, he called the attack on Edwards a game of three card monty. He also pointed out that Glover may not be so supportive of Chavez' "shutting down the media.” (Comment: As we News Hounds have pointed out numerous times, Chavez did not shut down any media. He refused to renew a television permit for a station that can continue to broadcast on cable and satellite.

Rivera ignored that possibility in order to push his new assault on Edwards. “John Edwards is the senator who wouldn’t appear on FOX News.” (Wrong! Edwards has appeared on FOX News. He has refused to participate in a FOX-hosted presidential debate.)

Rivera continued with an outright attempt to compare Edwards to Chavez. “He’s a First Amendment kind of guy and he’s making choices on censorship... These guys who represent the left of the spectrum… are hypocrites. You have Danny Glover taking money from a guy who may not be a dictator but he is cracking down…” Then Geraldo went in for the kill. “John Edwards is now censoring freedom of the press in his own way.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Colmes said. “That’s not censorship because John Edwards wrongly makes a decision not to come on FOX News.”

Rivera insisted it was censorship because Edwards was “depriving the audience of FOX News Channel the right to see the…” The rest of his sentence was drowned out by shouting. Rivera continued, “The real politic is if he does it and Hillary wants to be on the left, she’s gotta do it, too. If all of the other candidates want to pre-empt a leftward move.” That, Rivera claimed, made it censorship “in effect.”

Note to FOX News: Attacking someone who declines to take part in your event because he thinks he won't be treated fairly is no way to convince him or anyone else that he was wrong. It looks a lot like sour grapes!

In Part 2 of the discussion, Colmes disappointingly turned on Peterson and Glover in a fashion that he rarely goes after conservatives. Colmes harshly interrupted Peterson for having the temerity to say that our own, American media is not such a beacon of freedom. This, from someone who works for a network whose pundits and guests routinely express desires far worse than anything Chavez did - Ann Coulter famously lamenting that Timothy McVeigh didn't blow up the NY Times building, Melanie Morgan saying she'd have no problem sending a NY Times editor to the gas chamber, Michael Reagan saying Howard Dean "should be arrested for treason, and either hung or put in a hole until the war's over," to name just a few.