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The Old Cut Off Their Mike Routine

Reported by Ellen - December 28, 2004

Back in the days when we News Hounds were working on Outfoxed, I read a lot of emails from my colleagues about FOX guests whose mikes were cut off - Oops, we're out of time - just as they started saying something seriously threatening to the FOX party line. That never happened on any of my shows, none of which included debates (unless you count the roundtable discussions of Forbes on FOX, which I don't). I haven't read anything about that lately and I had all but forgotten that kind of FOX tactic until last night's O'Reilly Factor.

The two guests were Peter Brookes, identified as being with the Heritage Foundation and as a NY Post columnist (unidentified as a sister company to FOX News, as both are owned by News Corp.) and Larry Korb, from the Center for America Progress. The topic was how to include the Sunnis in the upcoming Iraqi elections. Just as I was feeling the warm glow from listening to a truly fair and balanced debate that included a smart, genuinely progressive voice (not always a given on FNC), Larry Korb made this "unhappy Iraq" statement: "(The Bush Administration) understand(s) you need the Sunnis, that the security situation is not enough under control to get them to vote."

Substitute host John Gibson asked, disapprovingly: "Where we goin' with this? There shouldn't be elections?"

Korb: I think what we need to do is make sure we have the security situation under control before you have the elections.

Gibson: That's pretty tough, isn't it Larry?

Korb: The fact of the matter is, these dates we keep picking are arbitrary and they're based on the assumption that things will get better. We thought after we set up the Allawi government in June that things would get better. Instead, they got worse. So what you have basically is a hope on the part of the administration to have the election so that things will get better...

Gibson: We live and hope. Sorry, we gotta run.

Comment: Was the show so out of time that it couldn't allow Korb to finish his sentence? Or did the producers just run out of patience with Korb's non-party line? I report, you decide.

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