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Progressive Guests Tell Fox News, "Excuse Me, But..."

Reported by Judy - May 25, 2006

People promoting progressive causes sometimes have a tough time getting their views across when they appear on Fox News, but on "Dayside" this week progressives on two different segments managed to make their points with a couple, "Excuse me, but" moments.

The first segment, which came on Tuesday (May 23, 2006) concerned court motions being filed in New Orleans courts to free people behind bars since before Hurricane Katrina who have had no opportunity to meet with attorneys or have their cases decided because of the disruption to the court system caused by the devastation to the city.

Tulane University Law School Professor Pamela Metzger, director of the school's Criminal Court Clinic, has been filing motions asking Judge Arthur Hunter to set people free pending trial.

"Dayside" co-host Juliet Huddy offered this penetrating question: "What kind of criminals are we talking about as far as this judge saying they may be released? Are we talking about violent criminals?"

Metzger could easily have let slide Huddy's elision of "accused" with "criminals," but she didn't.

"Let me back up. You're talking about people who are accused of crimes, not necessarily talking about criminals," she said, adding that the people still in jail without trail had been arrested and the district attorney's office has not even been able to evaluate their cases to determine if they should be charged.

"These are people who have been kept in jail without any due process. It is a profoundly un-American process that we are engaged in right now and we must either release these prisoners at a minimum or move forward with these cases," Metzger added. People accused of the most violent crimes won't be released, she said.

She went on, "In each and every one of these situations, we’re now looking at an extraordinary constitutional challenge. I don’t mean just to the legal situation, but to our sense of who we are as a nation, to our sense of what it means to fulfill the promise that the framers made, and to fulfill the promise that the United States Supreme Court made 43 years ago when they decided the Gideon case, which is that any person, no matter how poor they are, gets to come to court and have a lawyer.”

Metzger's eloquent and concise statement disarmed the clueless Huddy. After all, if you work for "America's network," how can you keep pressing a proposition that someone has just told you is un-American? Maybe one of Fox News' "stars" could do it, but not a lesser light like Huddy. Instead of the segment Fox News producers had in mind that would fuel outrage over "criminals" being let go, "Dayside" viewers got a cogent defense of defendants' rights and how that underpins Americans' self-identity. Brilliant.

Huddy signaled that Fox News won't let this story go. "We'll definitely keep an eye on this story," she said, perhaps meaning they'll bring back a guest some other time to attack Metzger and the clinic when she's not around to defend herself so well.

A few minutes later, Huddy and Jerrick tackled global warming, or rather Al Gore's movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. Guests were Sterling Burnett of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation. Neither Huddy nor Jerrick made an effort to explain the backgrounds of the two organizations their guests represented.

The discussion revolved around the usual right-wing talking points such as phony claims that science does not support global warming and carbon dioxide is not a pollutant and is good for you. Oh yeah? Ask the Kentucky coal miners how good it is for you when it's past a certain level.

Burnett said Gore has been talking about global warming for years and is just trying to score political points. He
called the Gore film "propaganda" and compared it to Josef Goebbels' films. "Why go see propaganda?" he said.

Symons saw his opening and took it. "Sterling’s an odd one to be casting aspersions on what Al Gore’s motives are. After all, the oil industry’s been giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to his organization just like tobacco companies used to do to try to undercut the actual science that’s going on," he said.

Symons is right, as a previous News Hounds post on Burnett's group pointed out.

The siuation was getting a little hot for Huddy and Jerrick to handle so "Dayside" went to a break. The damage, however, was done. Symons got the last word and it was effective.

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