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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A Pax on Credibility

The Pax Television Network specializes in family-friendly programming, which is a lot of syndicated stuff (game shows, stuff featuring Chuck Norris) as well as "original" programming. And, at least with a show I watched yesterday, right-wing disinformation.

The show was Lie Detector. The premise is pretty basic: people who want to vindicate themselves for whatever reason (such as, your girlfriend thinks you're smoking pot; or, the White House didn't feed you questions to ask as press conferences) appear, are interviewed by show host Rolonda Watts, and then put through the polygraph wringer (helmed by "leading polygraph expert" Dr. Ed Gelb). Once done, we get the big reveal, and, BLAMO! The truth is revealed! Hallelujah!

The May 31 episode was the first time I had ever watched the show, so maybe other episodes aren't so heavy on the right-wing propaganda. I'm not planning on tuning in every Tuesday night, based on last night's show, but readers can let me know of other episodes that might feature a right-leaning cant.

First up: famed journalist Jeff Gannon, who wanted to clear his name of charges that the Bush administration had fed him questions to ask at press conferences. Rolonda Watts launches into her "interview" where Gannon gets to bitch about the "liberal" media and how it was out to get him. The "interview" goes on for a few minutes and Gannon is off to be tied up to the polygraph machine, where he is asked a handful of questions. Interestingly, one question asked is something along the lines of "have you engaged in any illegal activity prior to 2003," which I presume is a reference to the whole male escort business.

We finally get the results of the polygraph, which is that Gannon had been telling the truth that he hadn't been given questions to ask by someone from the Bush administration. Fair enough. But then host Watts completely ignores the question asked about Gannon's involvement in illegal activities! Why do you suppose that was? I mean, why did Dr. Gelb even ask the question at all during the polygraph session, only for it to be ignored in the follow-up segment?

Second guest is some guy. I didn't watch this segment.

The third and final guest is Steve Gardner, one of those Swift Boat Vets for The Truth. He was on the show to convince America he's been telling the truth that John Kerry deliberately forged official Navy documents, and thus was not fit to be president. Or something like that. For more on Gardner, check out Media Matters for America, as they show that the truth and Gardner never served aboard the same Swift Boat.

Rolonda Watts conducts another "interview" and Gardner lays out the same lies we heard before from the Swift Boat Vets. But he's there to discuss a particular incident, something the Swifties have pushed in the past, the "Sampan incident" (Daily Howler has good info on this particular charge).

So, according to Gardner, in this particular incident, while John Kerry was below deck, Swift Boat 44, on patrol, encountered a sampan (a flatbottom skiff) and, thinking they saw a man on board the boat reach for a gun, opened fire; when the smoke cleared, two civilians were dead.

Now, keep in mind during the whole exchange Watts basically lets Gardner tell his story unchallenged. And doesn't say much when Gardner says that John Kerry falsified reports of the incident, playing up the incident to say that five VC had been killed and two captured. Fair and balanced, I guess, only applies to Fox.

Gardner is hooked into the polygraph and in the questioning, is not asked if he believed John Kerry had falsified documents.

John Kerry is not mentioned by name AT ALL during the polygraph session. Gardner is asked if information had been left out of the report. That's it. Not "Did John Kerry falsify a report" but just "was information left out of the report."

The results come in, and...he's telling the truth! About information left out of the report. Not about John Kerry, since Gardner was not asked about John Kerry during the polygraph session. But as Watts talks to Gardner about the polygraph results, the show puts up a graphic that says: "Proven: John Kerry falsified reports," or something along those lines. But a lie, all the same, which I guess is a bit ironic considering the show is about finding out the truth.

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