Fox's Presidential Favors

Compared to Fox News, Monica Lewinsky is an amateur in administering presidential favors. Following the State of the Union address, Brit Hume and the gang couldn't wait to heap fair and impartial glory on President Bush. "Awfully strong," they said. "Awfully powerful."

"The president really seized the initiative tonight."

Then Hume goes on to interview Fox's Sunday news anchor Tony Snow. "Very powerful‚ highly successful, very dramatic." And the big question these two journalists came up with: Gosh, what made Bush such a hit tonight, content or delivery? The answer? Both!

Closing thoughts: "Great power‚ stunned the Congress‚ electrifying, mesmerizing."

Then Fox, eager to give Bush a multi-orgasmic evening, begins its special Hannity and Colmes report on the state of the union. This is the show that bills itself as a "fair and balanced" debate.

Here comes Peggy Noonan, former Reagan speechwriter, now a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. "Big, powerful, important," she says. She likes the compassionate angle for foreign policy, how Bush makes the case for bombing Iraq while making the home folks feel safe and secure.

"Big stuff," she says. "Big."

Fox rushes to agree. "Yes, this is a big vision, a forceful case by a great wartime president."

"This is big stuff," she says again. "Fabulous sincerity."

After laughing off the Democratic response, she says "I heard the president's thinking and it was good stuff."

They go on to compare Bush to Winston Churchill and Harry Truman. And like Teddy Roosevelt, Bush provides us with "joy of battle and moral comfort with what he's doing."

Joy of battle? Moral comfort? Who gets joy and comfort from killing people?

Then Michael Waldman, former Clinton speechwriter comes on. He supposedly represents the other side, but peace isn't in his vocabulary. Instead, he gives Bush fair marks for the foreign policy segment. When he begins to criticize the president's domestic agenda, we get to see the standard treatment for subjects who differ with Fox:

Step 1) A Fox interviewer asks a question.
Step 2) The subject begins to answer.
Step 3) The interviewer interrupts and answers his own question the way he wants to.

On this fair and balanced evening, Noonan droned on with repeated praise for Bush while Waldman, hardly a serious critic in the first place, barely finished a thought.

Fox News: Oxymoron or Orwellian? The answer: both!

Mike Archer is a retired newspaper editor and writer who lives in Florida.

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