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Terror Alert! Terror Alert!

Reported by Judy - September 24, 2004 -

George Bush's post-convention bounce has gone flat so that means it's time for a new terror alert. The Department of Homeland Security obliged and Fox News did its job of trying to scare us half out of our wits today (Sept. 24).

Fox News Live anchor Jon Scott repeated the non-news that the department believes that Al Qaeda wants to strike the U.S. between now and the election. Fox played video of Tom Ridge saying that the threat level remains at yellow or elevated, but said that the threats are serious.

Even though the threat level has not been raised, Scott said that this warning "seems particularly ominous." His guest, Republican James Gilmore, former governor of Virginia and head of a task force on emergency preparedness, declined to flatly agree, saying it depended on what intelligence they actually are getting. He added, "I suppose that al Qaeda probably would like to do something in this country, but it's just going to increase Americans' concern and I think that we're to the point where we're just going to have to understand that an attack could occur, we're going to do everything we can do to prevent it and that we need to get on with our lives."

Scott stuck to his game plan, saying that "obviously, al Qaeda thinks that they can accomplish here what they accomplished in Spain. They bombed the buses and they seemed to overthrow a government and get Spanish troops out of Iraq." Gilmore said, "I really wonder about that conclusion, even in Spain." Here, he said, an attack only would increase American resolve to see the job through in Iraq, making the leap that fighting insurgents in Iraq has a lot to do with defeating al Qaeda. In the end, Gilmore said, "we've got to stop being terrorized by this."

Scott "asked" if the U.S. wasn't better off staying in Iraq because, "Frankly, if we're going to fight terrorists, I'd just as soon have them taking on the well-armed, well-trained soldiers in Iraq as to be facing them on the streets of New York City." Gilmore agreed.

The interview was vintage Scott. He trumped up the Ridge's non-threat threat announcement by calling it "particularly ominous," speculated an attack could come any day now, made a reference to the tragedy in Spain (erroneously referring to attacks on buses and forgetting the train attacks), and then reminding us that we're really safer, despite the heightened threat, because our soldiers are in Iraq keeping the terrorists busy.

It's tough to strike exactly the right balance between scaring people out of their wits, but still keeping them believing that George Bush is keeping us safe so we shouldn't dump him. But Scott has plenty of chances to practice this act in the last few months with all the well-timed terror threats coming from the Bush Administration.