The April 18 Fox and Friends First provided a welcome alternative to the mainstream media’s fawning over the dissident generals attacking Donald Rumsfeld. FNC co-hosts Steve Doocy and Page Hopkins interviewed retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis about his support for Rumsfeld. Doocy teased the segment this way:
Doocy: "Lieutenant Colonel Robert Maginnis. We’re going to talk to him live from down in D.C. about Mr. Rumsfeld. There is that drumbeat, okay, would you call it a drumbeat if there are seven generals, all retired, out of 8,000 active duty and retired generals, is that really a drumbeat?"
The two hosts, who questioned Maginnis at 6:15AM EDT, maintained a healthy skepticism about the motives of these anti-Rumsfeld generals. Doocy reiterated his earlier comments by asking the former Lieutenant the following:
Doocy: "All right. It's certainly not a groundswell if you only have seven out of 8,000. It’s less then one in a thousand. And yet it is pretty extraordinary that they would voice opinion during a time of war, isn't it?"
He agreed and Page Hopkins followed up with this insightful question:
Hopkins: "Sir, do you think this is so much about Secretary Rumsfeld or is he merely a lightning rod for the anti-war people?"
This tone is a marked contrast to the rest of the media, who, when it comes to these generals, have apparently lost the power of skepticism. Here are the questions that The Early Show’s Harry Smith asked John Batiste, one of those former military officials calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation. (From the April 14 edition of the CBS program):
Smith: "First off, the most important reason, single most important reason you think Secretary Rumsfeld should resign?"
Smith: "Were you frustrated in that system?"
Smith: "And I just get the sense from looking and reading the, uh, the, the opinions from you retired generals who want Rumsfeld's resignation that he just was literally just not listening enough."
So, while a contrarian network such as the Fox News Channel may provide some much needed incredulity, don’t look for it from the rest of the media. They are too busy chattering about the "groundswell."