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Would You Like Some Smears With Your Tabloid?

Reported by Chrish - October 14, 2007 -

NOTE: Guest blogged by Priscilla

Yesterday (October 13th), in what seemed to be an expanded version of The Big Story, Fox News did a three hour block of Fox News Live from 3PM to 6PM. Julie Banderas fans were not disappointed as she was on the set with Courtney Friel, Gregg Jarrett, and Griff Jenkins – the set consisting of a curved couch (which provided great views of Banderas' knee high black leather boots and most of Friel's legs beyond which it would have been R rated). The format consisted of news items being quickly read and followed by lite banter among the hosts. Each hour covered, essentially, the same stories with similar chat. Among the reports were stories of murders, Lindsay Lohan, Madonna, Anna Nicole Smith, and the question of whether Al Gore would run for president, which was the topic for the e-mail write-in. (Not surprisingly, the first e-mail, from MENSA member “Prickly Pete,” said that Al shouldn’t run because “he’s a whack job.”). It was snappy (Comment: for those with short attention spans) and with several notable exceptions, very frothy.

But even in the frothiest of Fox formats, there are right wing talking points that must be communicated. Part of the Fox/right wing narrative is the theme of good conservatives being aggrieved and victimized.

The gang wasted no time in reporting about how insulted NASCAR fans are about a Congressional Homeland Security committee having been advised to get immunizations before visiting NASCAR events in North Carlina and Alabama. (Comment: play to the demographics). According to the gang, “a lot of people are getting steamed.” The chyron read “NASCAR cooties.” Fox’s Jonathan Serrie, on location in NC, did briefly mention that these staffers were also going to hospitals in order to determine how prepared they were for disasters. He interviewed fans who, while upset (one said it was a “democratic conspiracy”), didn’t seem all that outraged. What he didn’t say is that the congressman is also from the South (Bennie Thompson, Mississippi) and these immunizations are routine for health care workers. Naturally, no attempt was made to speak to Thompson or a staff member.

Probably the most fundamental commandment in the FOX congregation is “thou shall not speak ill of the Iraq War” and as has been reported, retired General Ricardo Sanchez has not minced words about a war which he sees as “catastrophically flawed” and a “nightmare with no end in sight.” FOX has wasted no time in gearing up its smear Sanchez machine in what is, most likely, a portent of things to come.

Mike Emmanuel did a brief overview of Sanchez’s comments and the White House response (“more work to be done and progress is being made.”) This was followed by commentary from former Lt. General and defense contractor (NetStar System Director) Tom McInerney. He noted that words like “ill advised and nightmare” will be played against Sanchez (comment: by Fox News) and that while Sanchez made some valid points, “the negatives are coming out.” McInerney added that Sanchez “was one of the key persons responsible for the strategy.”

Emmanuel said he had spoken to a “military analyst” who said that “while there will be talk about mistakes, it’s important to allow the people who are in charge now to get it right.” Emmanuel then made reference to “a lot of people” who are asking “what was Sanchez saying when he was there” and that “it’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.” Jarrett concluded that Sanchez and Bremer are symbols of incompetence (comment: Medal of Freedom winner Bremer?) and that Sanchez might be trying “to shift blame.” He also commented that Sanchez is writing a book. (Comment: the Richard Clarke-ing of Sanchez begins.)

Later, FOX consultant retired Lt. Colonel and defense contractor (WVC3) Bill Cowan was interviewed. He said that at the time that Sanchez was in Iraq, there was no focus on the insurgency. Jarrett commented that Sanchez should look in the mirror when he uses the term “dereliction of duty.”

Banderas asserted that it “was easy to place blame” and asked “where are his facts.” She indignantly said that if “you’re going to complain, you should offer solutions.” She then offered a reverential homage to General Patraeus “who was doing a great job when he was in charge” and said “I wish that he had been there since day one.” And in typically articulate Banderas fashion, she added “I wonder what war we’d be in now if General Petraeus had been the one to lead us off.” (Comment: ??) Jarrett took the final shot in saying that “the guy who replaced General Sanchez spent half his time cleaning up the mess.”

Comment: There you have it. Lots of puff pastry with a little red meat which served to show that on Fox, not all generals are created equal and while it’s unpatriotic to criticize Petraeus, Sanchez is fair game.

NOTE: Guest blogged by Priscilla