Right-Wing Media Embrace Latest Anti-Obama Conspiracy Theory: Bin Laden Might Not Be Dead
Research ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK
Led by Fox's Andrew Napolitano, right-wing media figures have embraced yet another conspiracy theory aimed at attacking President Obama: that Osama bin Laden might not be dead. Right-wing media have previously promoted the false conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in United States and the myth that Obama is a Muslim.
Right-Wing Media Figures Ask For "Proof," "More Evidence" Of Bin Laden's Death
Napolitano Wonders If Government Is "Telling Us The Truth" About Bin Laden Or "Pulling A Fast One To Save Obama's Lousy Presidency." On the May 2 edition of Fox Business' Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano said: "Osama bin Laden assassinated. Killed on the illegal whim of the president," but later questioned whether the government was "telling ... the truth" about bin Laden. From Freedom Watch:
NAPOLITANO: But last night a little before midnight here on the East Coast, President Obama, with an eye on his lagging poll numbers and the sickening economy over which he presides, announced in a quick 40 minutes of time, 40 of America's best Navy SEALs found bin Laden, asked him to surrender and when he declined, blew his brains out. And then he told us after bin Laden's remains were identified they were dumped at sea, in accordance with Muslim tradition. No photos, no testimony from eyewitnesses, just the president's word that he's dead and, to repeat a famous phrase, now sleeps with the fishes.
Of course, the burial at sea is new to most Americans. It is new to many Muslims as well. Bin Laden belonged to a Muslim sect that believes in anonymous burial in the earth. Beyond the issue of whether the government is telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama's lousy presidency, is the issue of the lawful power of the president to order someone killed, no matter how monstrous, how dangerous, or how unpopular. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/2/11, 5/2/11]
Napolitano Asks Guest, "Do You Believe He's Dead, Or Do You Want Some More Evidence?" Later on the May 2 Freedom Watch, Napolitano asked guest Michael Scheuer: "Do you believe he's dead, or do you want some more evidence? A photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?" He later asked Scheuer, "So with the body gone, or sleeping with the fishes, won't there always be that lingering doubt amongst Americans?" From Freedom Watch:
NAPOLITANO: Do you believe he's dead, or do you want some more evidence? A photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?
SCHEUER: Well, Judge, I think what I go with is the men and women on the ground. If they didn't get him, they would admit it. The really, the success story here is not the president who did the right thing at last, but the true story is the young men and women who serve the United States in the military and the intelligence services. They risked their lives, they did their job. And if he's not dead, they'll never be able to keep that a secret.
NAPOLITANO: All right, but the intelligence services of which you were once a part want as much closure to this as the American public does. So with the body gone, or sleeping with the fishes, won't there always be that lingering doubt amongst Americans: "Well, where is the body? How do we know he's dead? Why isn't there a picture of it? Why didn't we see it before they shipped it off to sea?"
SCHEUER: I think much more than just a likelihood, Judge, I think we're already in it. The conspiracy people are going to spin this up to a very high degree, and even if they release the pictures they claim they have, with Photoshop and other programs, you can doctor any, any photograph to make it look however you want. So I think it perhaps might have been wiser to keep the body or at least show the body before they buried it. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/2/11]
Doocy: Bin Laden Death Deniers Won't "Believe DNA" Evidence Because "That's Just Numbers On A Piece Of Paper." On the May 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, during a "Radio Rumble" segment debating whether the Obama administration should release photos of bin Laden's body, co-host Steve Doocy stated that people who deny that bin Laden was killed won't "believe DNA - that's just numbers on a piece of paper." From Fox & Friends:
ELLEN RATNER (radio host): I think the liberals have transparency. I think the DNA evidence is pretty clear. I think, you know, you don't even hear -
CHUCK BOOMS (radio host): What DNA evidence?
RATNER: You do not even hear -
DOOCY: Yeah, but they're not going to believe DNA -- that's just numbers on a piece of paper, Ellen. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/3/11]
On Fox, Right-Wing Radio Host Expresses Doubt About Bin Laden's Death. During the "Radio Rumble" segment on Fox & Friends, right-wing radio host Chuck Booms stated: "We need the picture, Steve. Without the picture, it's going to make people like me think maybe they actually did throw a bag over his head and get him down to Club Gitmo and let Jack Bauer have at him with some jumper cables." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/3/11]
Big Peace Contributor On Bin Laden's Death: "I'll Believe It When I See It." In a May 2 post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace site, J. Michael Waller wrote that the U.S. must "[d]isplay the body" because "[e]very American has a right to walk right up to bin Laden's corpse and view it. We are entitled to know for a fact that the witch is dead." Waller later wrote: "Bin Laden may be dead (I'll believe it when I see it), but al Qaeda is still alive." [Big Peace, 5/2/11]
Wash. Times' Miller: Photo Of Bin Laden Is "What We Need For Proof." As Think Progress noted on May 2, Washington Times senior opinion page editor Emily Miller wrote in a Twitter post, "no photo of the body. that's what we need for proof."
Officials Confirmed Bin Laden's Death Through DNA Evidence, Photo Comparisons
AP: "Officials Produced A Quick DNA Match From His Remains That They Said Established Bin Laden's Identity." In a May 2 article, The Associated Press reported:
Knowing there would be disbelievers, the U.S. says it used convincing means to confirm Osama bin Laden's identity during and after the firefight that killed him.
Officials produced a quick DNA match from his remains that they said established bin Laden's identity, even absent the other techniques, with 99.9 percent certainty. U.S. officials also said bin Laden was identified through photo comparisons and other methods. [AP, 5/2/11]
Right-Wing Media Have Previously Promoted Other Anti-Obama Conspiracy Theories
Fox Obsessively Promoted Birther Myths. As Media Matters reported, following potential Donald Trump's embrace of theories regarding Obama's birthplace, Fox News ramped up its coverage of birther conspiracies, devoted nearly two hours and 20 minutes to the issue from February 21 to April 21. In the vast majority of the cases, Fox hosts either espoused birther conspiracies or did not challenge or correct false claims about Obama's birth that aired on their shows. [Media Matters, 4/27/11]
Right-Wing Media Incessantly Promoted Falsehood That Obama Is A Muslim. As Media Matters has noted, right-wing media have relentlessly pushed the myth that Obama is a Muslim. Those falsehoods have run the gamut -- from outright claiming that Obama is a Muslim to alleging that he "is a Christian that Christians don't recognize"; from using his family and upbringing in Indonesia to portray him as an "Islamist" to claiming he has an agenda that shows he has a "preference of Islam over Christianity"; and from distorting comments Obama or his administration has made to picking out symbols associated with his administration to perpetuate the lie about his faith. [Media Matters, 8/19/10]