Friday, July 16, 2004


FNC Recovers “Accidentally” Deleted Edwards Transcript

This post has been sterilized!

This is the first of several parts.

You probably saw something, somewhere similar to this Daily News account of John Edwards' interview with Fox News Channel: "Running mate John Edwards was asked about the flap yesterday by Fox News. 'They weren't speaking for me, and they weren't speaking for John Kerry,' he said, adding the ticket is 'focused on our positive, optimistic vision of hope.'"

The "They" in question were performers at a Kerry fundraiser, including Whoopi Goldberg, who was widely criticized for her remarks about President Bush. This will be further discussed in a separate article.

What you didn’t hear was that there was more to the interview that was lost in a technical glitch. The interview continued for several more minutes, but tape of the incident was somehow damaged. Efforts at recovery only managed to save the wrap up comments at the end of the interview.

Interestingly, FNC’s very hush-hush “Trident” system experienced a transcription error that corresponded exactly to the damaged section of the videotape. “We spent a lot of time developing the tri-feed, and to have all of the redundancies fail in the same unusual fashion, it’s just impossible,” declared an FNC systems engineer.

He added, “This wasn’t just a power failure. We examined the activity logs and we couldn’t believe what we saw. All of our recordings, both video and transcription, were systematically erased.” Who would do such a thing? Had the Dems managed to sneak a mole into FNC? If so, what were the Dems trying to erase?

What they discovered next would shock them all. “I remember that horror movie where a girl getting threatening calls is on the phone with the police, and they tell her, ‘We traced the call, and it’s coming form inside your house!!!’ It was just like that. My boss called over the senior executive on the floor and advised him that the systems had given themselves the order to erase.”

The senior executive on the floor called over Carl Cameron, The FNC reporter who had conducted the Edwards interview. Could Cameron reconstruct the missing minutes of the interview? Cameron had no idea what he was talking about. When shown the available footage, edited together with the damaged section removed, Cameron maintained that it was an accurate presentation of the complete interview. “The complete interview?” the executive exploded. “Then what the hell happened during the seven minutes of damaged footage we cut out of the middle of it?” Dumbstruck silence was the only reply.

The executive stepped away to make a call. “I couldn’t hear everything he said, but I distinctly heard the word ‘Manchuria’, then he said it again emphatically,” the engineer said. The executive completed the call and directed the engineer’s boss, one of the top tech men at FNC, to gather up all the data collected in the investigation. The engineer went on, “He turned to me and said ‘You’re in charge. No one leaves the set. Make a list of everyone who was here during the interview, and make sure they’re all here now. If anyone’s missing, give the names to security and they’ll round them up.’ Then I noticed that every exit was blocked by two security guards. He left with my boss and the data and that was the last I saw of them.”

Soon, six men entered the set and began to interview everyone. Quickly determining that no one seemed to remember the missing seven minutes, the “witnesses” were asked to volunteer for hypnosis to see if the memories could be recovered. Most agreed, but when questioned about the missing time they could only recall a warm, pleasant feeling. The notable exception was a new intern who had taken a wrong turn. Finding himself walking in on the Edwards interview, he crouched behind the food table and watched from a distant part of the set. It appears that this is what made him different from the rest of the witnesses, and saved him from their fate.

UP NEXT: The intern’s disturbing story, and an inside look at how Xxxxx Xxxxx handled the crisis.

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