By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
After watching the big speech, blogger Richard Bellikoff wrote that Bush’s “defining characteristic is a sort of determined recklessness, as in ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, but I’m going to keep on doing it.’” On Fox, you weren’t likely to hear a substantive discussion either of that point of view or of its opposite. Down on the convention floor, where hundreds of popping balloons sounded like gunshots, Chris Wallace noted Bush’s humor, self-deprecation and emotional conviction, all qualities (as he didn’t need to mention) that appear to be sorely lacking in the president’s challenger. Though neither Wallace nor anyone else said it, there was a feeling that in those almost eerily intimate closing minutes, standing at a podium whose design might or might not have contained a subliminal Christian cross, speaking words that were unmistakably tinged with religious belief, Bush had shown America his heart, and with it, his (and our) destiny. One way or another, Wallace seemed to suggest, we were going to be stuck with the guy for another four years.
“Sure, we’ll think about what each one would do on taxes or Social Security or the war on terror,” he summed up. “But also I think people just make a judgment. Who’s the guy I trust? Who’s the person that I feel comfortable with . . . ? And I think tonight the president went a long way toward cementing a relationship he already has with the American voters.”
Over on MSNBC,where the tone was considerably less reverential (“How many shots of Botox do you think it took to remove [Bush’s] smirk?” cracked Ron Reagan Jr.), John Kerry was frantically reapplying the Krazy Glue to his own relationship with the American voter. Perhaps MSNBC thought it was doing Kerry a favor by showing his emergency “midnight rally” following Bush’s speech, but if so, it was a miscalculation that would have been catastrophic had more than a handful of people been watching. Kerry and John Edwards looked like a couple of overly tanned cardsharps flown in to scam the locals. “I’m not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by people who refused to serve when they could have,” blustered Kerry, referring to Vietnam yet again and sounding (as someone or other mentioned) as if he were talking to his butler.
On Fox the next day, there was surprisingly little gloating, maybe because Hurricane Frances was on the way, Bill Clinton was in a hospital, and most of the big-name anchors had taken the day off. If the network continues to do this well, you can be sure O’Reilly & Co. will let us know about it. Whatever else it may be, Fox is not modest.
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