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Fox News "Live Desk" is an amateur hour stretched to two hours.

Reported by Ellen - June 20, 2008 -

Live Desk with Trace Gallagher and Martha MacCallum is Fox News Channel's venture into 'news on the fly', 'news as it happens' genre. Live Desk is also one of the silliest excuses for a news program I have ever seen. CNBC has this down to an art form, Fox's Live Desk can't even get its graphics right a lot of the time.

Guest blogged by Scott

On Thursday's edition, the major subject was, of course, the flooding in the Midwest. There were reports from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the president was touring the flooding from Marine 1; from Clarksville and Winfield, Missouri, where efforts to preserve homes are ongoing. (Your humble correspondent used to live in Winfield, but moved south to O'Fallon a few years back.) The coverage was all pap and human interest stories, and lots of shots of the flood waters. There was mention that presidential wannabe John McCain was in Iowa also, but no images of the candidate on the ground.

The most egregious comments of the two-hour waste of time came from an outro toss-off note from Catherine Herridge in Washington, D. C. and from Doctor Keith Ablow in a story about pregnant teens in Gloucester, Mass.

Ms. Herridge reported that the House has come to a bipartisan agreement that would expand the ability of the government to spy on its own citizens and would insulate the telecom companies from prosecution for their assistance in the Bush administration's previous illegal wire-tapping. This was a tidbit that was mentioned once, and I just told you everything that Fox reported on the subject.

There was a panel discussion about a teenager in Oregon who died because he chose to be prayed back to health rather than visit a doctor. There was the obligatory discussion of religious freedom versus society's role in protecting people from themselves. Oddly, the Live Desk panel supported society over religious freedoms.

Cut live to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where the president was talking to a group of Iowans. He said nothing of importance. Just that there were 600 FEMA agents on the ground in Iowa, and that he knew that Iowa would recover because Iowans are so tough.

Finally, according to a story in Time magazine, a group of teenagers in Gloucester, Massachusetts "... none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together." Time magazine writer Kathleen Kingsbury was a guest to present her article. For insight into why the girls formed the pact, Live Desk brought in psychiatrist Keith Ablow.

Doctor Ablow stated that the girls got pregnant because "Our culture is broken," and then Dr. Ablow placed blame on the depersonalization caused by the "Internet, the Web." But that wasn't enough. He had to lay some of the blame at the feet of Jamie Lynn Spears because she just had a baby and suffered no repercussions from her employer.