Fox 31, Boyles reported on and attacked Pelosi's trip to Syria but ignored earlier GOP visit

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

A report on KDVR Fox 31 noted White House criticism of Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria, saying the visit came "in defiance of President Bush's policy." Similarly, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles asked whether it was "right" for Pelosi to "talk to these people." Repeating a pattern seen in national media outlets, neither Fox 31 nor Boyles mentioned a GOP delegation's earlier Syrian trip to meet with the same "people."

The April 2 broadcast of KDVR Fox 31's News at Nine O'Clock reported that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was "defending her decision to meet Syrian president Bashar al-Assad," a trip that co-anchor Jeremy Hubbard stated "comes in defiance of President Bush's policy not to engage with one-on-one talks with Syrian officials." Similarly, discussing Pelosi's scheduled April 3 meeting with Assad, 630 KHOW-AM host Peter Boyles asked on his April 2 broadcast, "[I]s it right to go and talk to these people?" Neither Hubbard nor Boyles noted that a Republican-led delegation had met with Assad on April 1, or that Pelosi's delegation was bipartisan.

As Media Matters for America has noted, several national media figures have reported White House criticism of Pelosi without pointing out the inconsistency in the administration's silence about a delegation, including Republican Reps. Frank Wolf (VA), Joe Pitts (PA), and Robert Aderholt (AL), that the Associated Press reported had met with Assad on April 1. As CBS News reported March 31, Pelosi's delegation also included Republican Rep. David Hobson (OH).

Fox 31's brief news item followed this pattern of reporting the administration's criticism of Pelosi while omitting mention of the Republicans who also visited Syria.

HUBBARD: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is defending her decision to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later this week. Her trip to Syria comes in defiance of President Bush's policy not to engage with one-on-one talks with Syrian officials. Pelosi shrugged off the White House criticism and said she had great hope for reviving U.S. relations with Syria and changing its behavior.

Boyles' statements about the trip came in the course of a conversation with a caller, who alluded to actress Jane Fonda's controversial visit to North Vietnam during the Vietnam War:

CALLER: This is a whole different subject, and maybe off of the topic right now, but, I mean, she's over in a foreign -- she has no business being where she's at right now. None. I mean, she's over there trying to do something, and I don't -- and to me it's just grandstanding. I mean, I just -- I don't get it.

BOYLES: Yeah, no. Pelosi goes to Syria.

CALLER: Yeah.

BOYLES: Um --

CALLER: For what -- for what reason?

BOYLES: You ask your question. You know, when you read what people are saying is going on inside of Iraq. Syria is -- is one of the countries that's kind of the gray eminence.

CALLER: Right.

BOYLES: Weaponry, personnel, you know, support -- comes out of Syria to kill young kids. American kids.

CALLER: Right.

BOYLES: And -- and you think to yourself, you know, is it right to go and talk to these people? I mean, these people are, look --

CALLER: Well, you and I grew up in a time when another citizen went to a foreign country and people reviled her. Jane Fonda.

BOYLES: Have a good morning.

CALLER: Bye-bye.

As Media Matters for America has noted, the selective criticism in some media accounts of the Pelosi delegation's visit to Syria mirrors conservatives' attacks on Democratic Sens. Bill Nelson (FL), John Kerry (MA), and Christopher Dodd (CT) for their December 2006 meetings with Assad while ignoring Sen. Arlen Specter's (R-PA) meeting with the Syrian president later that month.

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