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Spying On Americans? Check Out The Banner Method For The 'Fair & Balanced'

Reported by Donna - January 23, 2006

In the past I have reported on Fox using the 'Banner Method' in telling their stories. This is where they run banners on the bottom of the screen to get their story out. For a couple of examples here is a story I did on Iraq and one on picking a Supreme Court Justice.

Today on Studio B with Jane Skinner substituting for Shepard Smith, they chose to tell the story of all of the reasons that President Bush has for why he is spying on Americans without a warrant. As you'll see from the banners, they are neither fair nor balanced.

The banner method seems to be favored when their is a guest host for Smith. Here is the latest one on President Bush's spying on Americans without a warrant:

1) President Bush Says NSA Wiretap Program Is Legal & Necessary

2) Bush: Calls Intercepted Were By Known Al Qaeda Suspects Into U.S.

3) Bush: Other Presidents Used Same Constitutional Authority

4) Bush: Congress Gave Me Authority To Use Necessary Force

5) Bush: I Briefed Congress On NSA Wiretap Surveillance Ops

6) Bush: The Patriot Act Is Under Constant Review

7) Bush: Congress Needs to Extend All Aspects Of The Patriot Act

8) Bush: Patriot Act Tools Were Important After 9/11 & Still Are

9) Bush: There Have Been No Documented Abuses Of Patriot Act

10) Bush Say NSA Wiretap Program Is Legal & Necessary

11) Daschle: There Are Right & Wrong Ways to Defeat Terror

12) Daschle: I Did Not Support Giving Authority For Wiretaps

13) Powell: Nothing Wrong With President Authorizing These Actions

14) Rep Pelosi: President Must Be Consistent With Our Laws

15) Durbin: No Legal Basis For Spying Without Approval

16) Leahy: Increased Concerns About Warrantless Tapping

17) Pres Bush Says NSA Wiretaps Program Is Legal & Necessary
Comments: Did you get the message? Did you like how they repeated the banner about President Bush saying the NSA Wiretaps Program Is Legal & Necessary three times? Not to mention that Colin Powell's banner should come with an asterisk. Powell actually said that obtaining the wiretaps were legal but the President was going to have to answer to Congress about not getting the warrants within 72 hours.

Skinner had two lawyers on who didn't have much to add, at one point one argued that you could get a warrant right away and the other said he's waited hours to get warrants before. (Ok, but you can get the wiretap right away and you have 72 hours after that to secure the warrant, so what's the problem?)

In an earlier segment (yes, we saw clips of President Bush's speech twice) they said that intel experts said if this program was in effect before 9/11 they could have detected Al Qaeda operatives. Put this together with President Bush saying other presidents had done it before him and one could ask, why didn't you do so before 9/11 and possibly prevent it?

In both clips of the president he said, "You know, it's amazing that people say to me, 'well, he was just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" (Smirk, pause, a "heh" and then applause)

As you can see, this story was neither fair, nor balanced. It was just Fox doing its normal propaganda for the Bush Administration. Where is the outrage from the American people?

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