At an event attended by Hillary Clinton, Harry Belafonte said that President Bush has begun to "suspend our Constitution" and that doing so is an "act of terror." The pop singer made these comments after giving a speech at a children’s charity dinner. The exchange was reported on the January 13th edition of Fox and Friends, at 7:08AM EST. Co-hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and E.D. Hill began by discussing Mr. Belafonte’s earlier comments, where he referred to the President as "the greatest terrorist in the world." (Noel Sheppard reported this story for Newsbusters.) Ms. Hill set up the new Belafonte statements by saying, "You know what we did? We sent someone from Fox News Channel to go find out if that’s what he really meant to say." Mr. Belafonte told FNC:
In their heart of hearts, do the liberal media believe we are at war? The answer is a resounding 'no', judging by liberal Newsday columnist Ellis Henican's performance on this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend. Thankfully, fellow Newsday columnist Jim Pinkerton was there to remind his colleague of some cold, hard facts.
The topic was the Justice Department's investigation into the leaks behind the New York Times' publication of the highly-classified program of NSA surveillance of possible Al-Qaeda-related phone calls. Henican appeared utterly unfazed by the way the Times' revelations undermined national security and the fight against terrorism. His overwhelming focus was on the possible infringement of civil liberties. He brushed off the security leak in these terms:
Hubert Humphrey was known as the Happy Warrior for his cheerful approach to the political wars. In contrast, Fox & Friends Weekend's Julian Phillips, judging by his crabbiness this morning, might be dubbed the Whining Warrior.
Beyond his rain-on-the-parade words, Phillips' body language and facial expressions oozed negativity. The shot to the right is a file photo, but typifies Julian's less-than-sunny demeanor.
The show lead with news of the latest AP poll, which revealed a significant uptick in support for the Iraqi war effort among Americans, with 57% opposing immediate pull-out.
Page Hopkins is clearly the most pro-administration among the hosting triumvirate composed of herself, Kiran Chetry and Phillips. She kicked off the discussion by observing "it so interesting that a solid majority is behind staying the course in Iraq."
In a TV-journalism age in which a good haircut and a sharp suit often seem to count for more than substance, there's something admirably old-school about Barry Schweid. Old, and unapologetically schlumpy, Schweid is the antithesis of TV's Sharp-Dressed Man.
Even so, on Fox & Friends Weekend this morning, Schweid let his liberal leanings show.
Schweid has been covering diplomacy for the Associated Press for over 30 years, and is currently its senior diplomatic correspondent. He joined FOX News Channel as a contributor for foreign affairs in 1997.
Schweid came on to discuss the issue of torture, and specifically Condi Rice's recent European tour, intended to pallliate delicate continental sensibilities on the issue.
No DNA evidence, no execution of Tookie Williams. That's the standard Fox & Friends Weekend host Julian Phillips established this morning. As he put it:
"The issue for me is, is he guilty or is he not? He still maintains his innocence. If they can prove through DNA and other stuff, fine."
To bolster his case, Phillips asserted:
"There have been a number of cases where people on death row have been executed and it's later found out through DNA evidence that they are innocent."
Oh, really? It's not surprising that Phillips didn't cite any examples to support his contention. Even avid death-penalty opponents have been unable to point to a single unequivocal case of a man being executed who was later proved innocent by DNA.
Readers of my NewsBusters entries know that Ellen Ratner, the short end of the "Long & Short of It" feature at Fox & Friends Weekend, has been a frequent object of my ire, as seen here, here and here.
It's thus saying a mouthful that the puerile performance of pinch-hitter Ellis Henican this morning was almost enough to make one long for the short Ratner. Almost.
Henican took on fellow Newsday columnist Jim Pinkerton, who normally locks horns with Ratner in the segment.
The topic was Iraqi pre-war intelligence. At one point it was noted that Hillary Clinton has posted an item on her web site criticizing the pre-war intelligence provided by the Bush administration and suggesting that if she knew then what she knows now, she might not have supported the war.
Ellen Ratner, the short, liberal side of The Long & the Short of It on Fox & Friends Weekend, just let the liberal cat out of the bag. Discussing the Democrats' approach to Iraq withdrawal proposals, Ratner admitted:
"If you got [Dem leaders] in a room off camera everyone agrees, but people are trying to look tough on security so the Democrats can win the House back in 2006."
Jim Pinkerton, the long, conservative side of the equation, pounced on this rare bit of Dem candor:
"Viewers should note that Ellen basically said that Democrats will think one thing and say another."
Host Julian Phillips, who moderated the debate and is hardly a Bush administration shill, scored the point for Pinkerton:
The claims that Mary Mapes is now making on her Truth and Duty book tour are as obtuse and embarrassing as those made by CBS News in the 10 days after the 60 Minutes hit job on President Bush aired back on September 8, 2004.
This morning on Fox & Friends, Mapes told co-host E.D. Hill that when she was first given the now-infamous memos, “I assumed they were forgeries,” but became convinced of their reliability by comparing them to official records and talking to others in the National Guard at the time.
Those arguments were laughable back in 2004, and only Mapes (and Dan Rather) seem in utter denial of the obvious: that they were victims of a not-very-convincing hoax.
Is Julian Phillips of Fox & Friends Weekend undergoing a sea change?
Readers of my entries here and at Free Republic know that over the months I've enjoyed skewering Julian when he has let his liberal slip show. But this morning, Julian sang a very different song.
The context was a report that Bill Clinton yesterday urged his fellow Democrats to speak out bluntly on controversial issues, from abortion to religion.
Phillips had this to say:
"You can speak up and be tough but the question is, do you have any different solutions? And I think that's the thing with the Democrats at this time. They have to come up with some alternatives and I don't see that they have actually come up with anything yet." [emphasis added]
Regular readers of my threads at FR know that Julian Phillips of Fox & Friends Weekend has been a favorite target for my barbs.
Fairness therefore dictates that I salute him when he gets something right, as he did this morning.
The topic was the planned neo-Nazi march in Toledo, OH and the violence it sparked among largely black protesters.
Co-host Alisyn Camerota teed up the issue: "the question always arises, do you let the neo-Nazis or other groups, like the KKK, march?"
Phillips' answer was unequivocal and spot-on: "my answer is you let them march." While making clear that he understandably takes strong issue with such groups' positions, he repeated: "this is America. You let them march."
For five years I've hosted a local, community-access political TV talk show, 'Right Angle.' We've had hundreds of guests, many of them college students, with a good smattering of high school students and even a handful of middle-schoolers.
But for sheer embarrassing, puerile, vapidity, none of them has been the equal of the utterly unwatchable Ellen Ratner, the short, and liberal, half of "The Long & the Short of It" feature on Fox & Friends Weekend.
Try this on, for utterly vacuous 'political commentary,' from this morning's just-completed episode. Responding to conservative counterpart Jim Pinkerton's prediction that Roberts would acquit himself well as Chief Justice, Ratner had this to say:
"Oh, Jim, you just wait. [Roberts] will be so right-wing that you won't even know he has a left-wing."