CNN Told Viewers That Bush’s Troop Teleconference Was Rehearsed; Did FNC Or MSNBC Do The Same?

By Brian 

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At the top of Thursday’s Nightly News, Brian Williams explained it this way:

“It was billed as a chance for the President to hear directly from the troops in Iraq. The White House called it a ‘back and forth,’ a ‘give and take.’ And so, reporters who cover the White House were summoned this morning to witness a live video link between the Commander-in-Chief and the U.S. soldiers in the field as the elections approach in Iraq. The problem was, before the event was broadcast live on cable TV, the satellite picture from Iraq was being beamed back to television news rooms here in the U.S. It showed a full-blown rehearsal of the President’s questions in advance, along with the soldiers’ answers and coaching from the administration. While we should quickly point out this was hardly the first staged political event we have covered — and we’ve seen a lot of them in the past — today’s encounter was billed as spontaneous. Instead, it appeared to follow a script.”

Here’s the problem: Did the cable news networks tell viewers that this event was staged? If, as Williams says, newsrooms saw the “full-blown rehearsal,” why wouldn’t they mention this to viewers?

CNN did. “Not exactly a spontaneous exchange, we should tell you,” Miles O’Brien noted before the P.R. performance began. He added that Bob Franken had heard “them rehearsing.”

If that was the case, why did CNN bother to broadcast the staged event at all?

More importantly, did Fox News Channel or MSNBC tell viewers that the teleconference appeared to follow a script? Could someone check the segments on Tivo or consult a transcript?

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