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Cavuto in Full Dumb-Down Mode re Tomorrow's VP Debate

Reported by Melanie - October 1, 2008 -

Neil Cavuto, Fox's "business news" anchor, aired four segments today (October 1, 2008) during Your World setting up some, or all of the excuses he will use on Friday if Sarah Palin bombs tomorrow night.

First came John Hostettler (R-IN) on how Gwen Ifill "must" recuse herself from the debate. Per Cavuto, Ifill has a book coming out "January 20 of next year," and it's about "Obama nation" (actually it's titled, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama), so though she is a "terrific journalist and a great questioner," there "is that pall over her, and there is that worry that she won't be fair" because she wants Obama to win so she'll sell more books.

(See UPDATE below.)

(See UPDATE #2 below that.)

John Hostettler (R-IN) called on the debate commission to "kick Ifill out as moderator" because she has "a vested interest, economically at least, in the Obama/Biden ticket." It doesn't matter if "it's a pro-Obama book or an anti-Obama book" because sales of her book depend on Obama winning and being president.

Immediately after the Hostettler segment Cavuto headed to a break over this:

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while he asked, "Well, are we putting too much stock in these debates anyway? Remember Dan Quayle and Lloyd Benson? Look at how that turned out. We'll explain." (Palin = Quayle? Sounds like it to me.)

After the break it was on to Fox's Carl Cameron who had just interviewed McCain. Cameron essentially repeated what Hostettler said (hey, it's a GOP show so why not?) and then went to video of McCain saying he thought Ifill "would do a totally professional job," but "does this help that she has written a book that's favorable to Senator Obama? Probably not, but I have confidence that Gwen Ifill will do a professional job." (The book isn't out yet so how do any of these people know what it's about?)

Next came pollster Scott Rasmussen who Cavuto introduced with, "So what happens if one of them just botches it? Just horribly? Well not much, according to my next guest." He says that "we put way too much stock in these debates which is Scott's way of saying ignore all those Fox promos for it."

Rasmussen said "you shouldn't ignore those promos, it'll be great entertainment." (It's "entertainment?") "Tomorrow night's going to be a big night for Sarah Palin's future. If she does very well she'll be a big factor in American politics for many years to come. If not, she'll be a footnote and go back to Alaska. But in terms of the presidential election, the economic issues that are out there, far more important than anything that happens tomorrow night." Cavuto said that four years ago people thought that Kerry won all the debates - "they thought Kerry went away in a walk."

Twenty minutes later (Cavuto lays out the propaganda of the day during the first half hour and then reinforces it at the end of the show), Father Jonathan Morris came on to talk about whether Palin is "being de-briefed too much" ahead of the debate. (Fox hit all the talking points today, huh?) Cavuto introduced him wondering whether Palin's being "brief booked to death. I mean, they're giving her so much to memorize."

(My God. How far we have fallen. Instead of being utterly appalled that a vice presidential nominee has to memorize facts and figures in order to appear to be qualified for the job, we characterize that as some sort of abuse of the poor candidate. And I can only imaging how Fox would be playing this if the tables were turned.)

Morris went on to say that the "whole idea of Sarah Palin the star" has "come down to the Sarah Palin who knows nothing about Washington" and "the fact is, there are a lot of Americans out there who say we don't want somebody who knows a lot about Washington. We want somebody in Washington who has a bit of common sense and Sarah Palin has common sense, from what we can tell." Tomorrow night she has to prove that "she not only has common sense," but she has the "ability to put those common sense abilities into practice."

Comment: So, in sum, the debate moderator is biased; John McCain is being a gentleman about it even though he doesn't like it; Palin is the new Quayle but who cares; debates are nothing more than entertainment; and if Palin - at a bare bones minimum - can come off as Sarah six-pack she will have "won"? Do you want a Sarah six-pack as you prez? Stay tuned.

•UPDATE - 8:30 p.m. ET - Keith Olbermann just reported that Ifill's book was announced in July - two weeks before McCain agreed to her as a moderator. Here's more.

••UPDATE #2 - 9:56 p.m. ET - This image is above the fold on Fox's website right now:

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