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A New and Improved Fox News Watch? (Part One)

Reported by Chrish - February 26, 2008 -

Guest blogged by Priscilla

Before the departure of Eric Burns, from Fox News Watch, it was an excellent show about the real journalism involved in the reporting of the news. Featuring two liberal and two conservative columnists, it was the closest thing to “fair and balanced” on Fox News. I would say that it was the best news analysis show on cable. But, sadly, moderator Eric Burn’s contract was not renewed and no reason was given for this action. As such, one is left wondering if this was because Mr. Burns (who, along with the disappeared liberal Neal Gabler whom Bill O’Reilly wanted fired, had no qualms about referencing controversial statements made by Fox News commentators) was not sufficiently right wing. If so, the Burnsless show last Saturday (February 23rd) showed that Fox has retooled and is back on the “right” path.

The show was moderated (and that’s gilding the lilly) by E.D. Hill, formerly one of the three Stooges commentators who hosted the inanity show, Fox&Friends. Both Burns and Hill are authors. Eric Burns wrote a book about the history of American journalism. Hill has written a fluffy little inspirational book about successful Americans who illustrate the conservative meme that anything is possible for those who work hard. The conservative panelists were Rich Lowry and Cal Thomas. Juan Williams and Jane Hall represented the other side. While the comments by the panelists were standard fare, the comments by Hill were certainly not what we saw in the always professional Burns. As a moderator, Burns asked the questions and rarely interjected his opinion. His affect was neutral. Hill, on the other hand, has brought to this program all the smarmy teeh-heeing and eye rolls which are so characteristic of the behavior on Fox&Friends. Her questions and comments were standard right wing talking points.

During a discussion of the NY Times coverage of Senator John McCain’s possible “relationship” with a lobbyist, she never asked about the core of the story (McCain’s ties to the lobbying community); but rather focused on the anonymous sources. When Cal Thomas mentioned that the Times had endorsed McCain, Hill (loudly giggling) said that this was “kind of an iffy, iffy, endorsement.” (Comment: and the basis for your saying this, ED, is what?) When Williams said that McCain is spinning this issue to rally the conservative base, Hill (loudly giggling) said “it’s working.”

Hill then showed the “change you can Xerox” quote made by Hillary Clinton in the last presidential debate. While grinning and tilting her head to the camera, she said “whatcha think about that? (Comment: real professional, E.D.) She then went on to talk about how her sixth grader, after hearing about the plagiarism accusations, told her that his teacher had said that plagiarism is a “no-no” She and her child watched both the Obama and Patrick speeches and said “wow.” E.D. asked the group if they remembered Joe Biden (who was accused of plagiarizing from the then leader of the British Labor party). Of course, Hill didn’t tell the whole story.

The next issue was right wing red meat. Hill asked if the Mainstream Media had “buried” Michelle Obama’s remark about being “proud of her country.” Hill played the video of just the quote so there was no real context. Hill claimed that as Ms. Obama had made the comment twice (Hill did not say that in the second instance, Ms. Obama used the adjective “really”) it was “definitely scripted” and “meant to mean” what she said. Of course, she did not mention Ms. Obama’s subsequent explanation. She also noted that the Mainstream Media ignored it which is clearly not true. (Comment: ABC has a number of references. Searching other media outlets will yield the same results) Hill asked if “there is a double standard with racial politics? Is a black woman saying we have a black guy who could be president and now I’m proud?” (Comment: wha…?! ) After Jane Hall said that the Obamas need to avoid the appearance of arrogance, Hill said “when I see Ivy Leaguers complain about inequality it makes me a little queezy.” (Comment: Where did Ms. Obama specifically reference inequality? Was E.D. really speaking in right wing code about those black folks who should be just so grateful?)

Comment: What used to be a quality show is now just another run of the mill Fox propaganda forum. E. D. Hill must think that she’s still on Fox and Friends which has nothing to do with “real journalism, fair and balanced.”

Guest blogged by Priscilla