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Fred Barnes Redefines "Hyperbole"

Reported by Nancy - May 19, 2005 -

Last night (5/18) on Special Report, the usual suspects offered the usual bashing (bad: unions! Howard Dean! Dan Rather! Ward Churchill! ...), but the most interesting segments were devoted to media issues, not politics. Fred Barnes outdid himself by equating "patriotic" with "willing propaganda tool."

At 6:21pm (all times ET) Molly Henneberg reported on new CPB Chair Tomlinson & (as Hume put it in his intro) "bias in public broadcasting." Henneberg used Bill Moyers as a symbol of liberal bias on PBS, cherrypicking a couple of short clips from his long-running program, "Now with Bill Moyers". She said that Moyers claims he "did feature" some conservatives on his show, & that he declined to be interviewed for her report. According to Henneberg, Tomlinson thought PBS needed a "counterweight" to programs like Moyers's, so he started "Journal Editorial Report" & hired 2 ombusmen but he says there will be "no pre-broadcast censorship." Henneberg said that "some" ("particularly Moyers") see Tomlinson as "meddling" & claim he was involved in blacklisting at VOA during the 80s, but Tomlinson denies that. Henneberg noted that two Representatives, Dingell & Obey, have asked for an investigation of censorship at CPB, & said Tomlinson "welcomes the investigation."

At 6:31pm Brit Hume did his "Grapevine" segment:
1 - Barney Frank "denounced" Howard Dean as "out of line" but Dean "is refuisng to back off"
2 - OK-based tribe now says Ward Churchill is only an "honorary associate" member
3 - Dan Rather has "another new job" - he'll contrib to 60 Minutes
4 - Newsweek - they're acting like "no one actually did anything wrong"

At 6:42pm the "All-Stars" (FBarnes, MKondracke, MLiasson) bloviated, ostensibly about the filibuster, but most of the comments were about defending judicial nominee Priscilla Owens (Barnes: "she's not out of the mainstream") & bashing Dems (Barnes: "I can see why Democrats have so much hyperbole" & "Teddy Kennedy called her [Owens] a Neanderthal"). When Kondracke tried to discuss the 6 GOPs & 6 Dems who are trying to negotiate a comprromise, noting that they claim they're making progress, Hume brushed that off with a brusque "heard that before."

At 6:53pm the panel discussed how the Newsweek story has "morphed" into a story about how the White House is trying to pressure Newsweek. All defended Scott McClellan's statments (Liasson: McClellan was "just trying to get his story out to the press"), but Barnes went McClellan one better by suggesting what Newsweek should do: they "could write how they messed up the story." Barnes claimed they have an "underlying attitude" of "we're reporters first & Americans second" & ended with an astonishing: "If Newsweek screwed up American foreign policy & there's something they can do to help out ..."

Comments: Curious how the reactionary echo chamber wasn't at all outraged when the Newsweek story about abuses at Gitmo "morphed" into an attack on Newsweek, but now that it's "morphed" into what they're calling an attack on the White House, they're shocked ... shocked! And for someone critical of supposed Dem "hyperbole", Barnes sure knows how to sling it with the best of them. Since when can Newsweek (or any news org) "screw up" US foreign policy? Looks like Barnes is so used to FNC functioning as the official propaganda outlet of the RNC he's come to think all news orgs should simply spout government propaganda.

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