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War On Terror Takes A Back Seat To Paris Hilton On FOX News

Reported by Ellen - June 9, 2007 -

It was another Happy War On Terror on Hannity & Colmes last night (6/8/07) as we got the second installment from Oliver North, embedded with the troops in the Philippines, “hunting for terrorists,” as FOXNews.com put it. Not that the war on terror is all that important on the "We like America" network. There is virtually no coverage of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars on FOX News’ prime time debate show. Maybe Roger Ailes thinks there’s nothing to debate about them. But Paris Hilton? Now there’s something to argue about. The first 50 minutes of last night's show was devoted to her and the burning question of whether or not being forced to complete her 45-day sentence in jail was fair.

In case you’re wondering, I do think the sentence was fair and I would not have minded if the judge had lengthened her stay with contempt of court charges after her hysterical outburst. But, if you ask me (and I realize nobody has), the most noteworthy thing about last night’s H&C was that I agreed with Sean Hannity for almost an entire hour.

After about seven different people argued for and against Hilton’s sentence, there was finally time for a brief segment on the war on terror. As I wrote last night, the fact that FOX News would bother to report (twice) from this front, while ignoring the supposedly crucial ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, speaks volumes about how well (or not) those operations are going and the network’s desire to put forth a positive spin on the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism efforts.

Hannity introduced North’s segment by saying that he was reporting about “a major counter-terror operation.” But the placement of the segment so late in the show suggests that even FOX News regarded it as mere propaganda.

Still, that did not dampen North’s enthusiasm. Last night’s report was just as chipper as the one the night before. In fact, he even repeated a lot of the same talking points. American Lieutenant Colonel Guy Lemire used the same words as Major Whitehead the night before: American forces work "through, by and with the armed forces of the Philippines" and that "we assist them with medical projects and we assist them with veterinary projects." That's not to say that those are unimportant endeavors but it's not exactly the kind of news you need to hear twice.

Just as he had the night before, North remarked on how "unthinkable" it had been, two years before when he had visited, for civilians to help out with an "armed forces crackdown." Again North asked, "What's changed?"

The previous night, Philippine Major Gen. Ruben Rafael had answered that the difference was “good, excellent relations” between the citizens and the armed forces. Was North really curious to know if Lemire had additional insights or was it an effort to emphasize Happy War News? Certainly, Lemire was ready to do the latter. "What you're seeing now, Ollie, is a much more synchronized and a much more focused effort at bringing peace and prosperity to the area and make it a little bit better for your average Filipino."

If North could only find a blonde in distress, he’d surely get top billing next time.

The video is currently posted at FOXNews.com.