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On Eve Of Katrina Anniversary, FOX News Makes Pre-Emptive Strike Against New Orleans Mayor Nagin

Reported by Ellen - August 26, 2006 -

Never mind the wars in Iraq, Israel/Lebanon, Afghanistan or the “Iran Nuke Showdown.” The top story on last night's Hannity & Colmes (8/25/06) was “Nagin sticks his foot in his mouth again!” The "fair and balanced" panel consisted of a black Republican and a white Republican, each of whom attacked African-American Nagin. FOX must have thought it finessed the “fair and balanced” requirement so long as one of the guests was black. Kirsten Powers, a “Democratic Strategist" subbing for Alan Colmes, gamely played along with the condemnations.

The African-American guest was Larry Elder, a Hannity & Colmes favorite. Elder is always willing to attack a black Democrat or liberal and thus provides cover for FOX’s barrage of anti-African-American coverage. Elder didn’t disappoint last night. “(Nagin) ran against the man,” Elder told Sean Hannity as explanation for how Nagin got re-elected.

The other guest was Republican Rich Galen. Galen gets a lot of credit in my book for deflecting Hannity’s phony-baloney Hanctimony over Nagin’s “chocolate city” remark. Galen shut up Hannity by pointing out that there are lots of groups for African-Americans only and that it’s OK because whites have always been in power. But after that, Galen lit into Nagin and never let up. Galen claimed Nagin had spent much of the hurricane on the top floor of a hotel.

Powers looked fabulous but she seemed to have spent more time working on her appearance than on preparing for the discussion. She seemed to know nothing about what is happening in New Orleans now and didn’t have anything to say about what had happened last year.

For example, Powers didn’t mention that Nagin disputes the claim that he was holed up in a hotel while New Orleans drowned. Even worse, she didn’t mention that while Nagin was staying across the street from his uninhabitable office, Bush was playing the guitar, Condi was shoe-shopping and Brownie was doing “a heckuva job.” Instead, Powers said that Nagin’s “competence is clearly in question” and noted disapprovingly that he seemed to say a lot of things he shouldn’t.

Powers only “argument” was to ask Galen, “Has the federal government done what they’ve committed to do? … What needs to happen?” She should have known the answer and been ready to discuss it. If she had a clue, she didn’t show it.

Galen said that more donations have come into New Orleans than for 9/11. Then he went right back to knocking Nagin by saying that he was alienating investors and those who would help him.

Powers had no response other than to reiterate that she was offended by Nagin’s remark but that he had a point, rebuilding takes a long time.

That, of course, gave Galen a new opportunity to knock Nagin for not starting. Powers seemed to know nothing about it or else she had no opinion to offer. Turning to Elder, she asked, "Larry, is that what you're seeing, nothing's happening?"

Elder said debris had been cleared and went on to say that other devestation had been rebuilt by private funds. "This mayor needs to have private funds and outside investors."

That would have been a perfect moment for Powers to mention that school children have donated more money to Katrina relief than most corporations, but she didn’t.

As is typical on Hannity & Colmes, nobody wanted to talk about the very real suffering still going on in New Orleans nor the nuts and bolts of the cleanup effort and what could be done to help. Once again, political partisanship trumped people and country. It’s too bad that despite putting in such a terrific showing with Ann Coulter the night before, Powers didn’t really seem to care.

You can read Bill Quigley's excellent but heartbreaking account of New Orleans one year after Katrina on Randi Rhodes' website.

You can watch the segment on the Hannity & Colmes webpage. For the first night or two, you may have to look in the "Free Video" box under "Click here for more video" to watch it.