The Islamophobic rhetoric spewed by right-wing media in response to the deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris is just the most recent in a long history of conservative anti-Islam vitriol.
Fox News used the tragic attack on the offices of a satirical newspaper in Paris as an opportunity to attack New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio while blaming strict gun laws and political correctness for the tragedy.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that 12 people have died in an attack on the offices of a satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. French President Francois Hollande called the attack "a terrorist attack without a doubt," and France has reportedly "raised its security alert to the highest level."
On the January 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, national security analyst KT McFarland said that "really strict gun control policy" in France contributed to the attack and claimed that France's "politically correct " policies that treat everyone equally were also to blame. Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck echoed support for law enforcement policies that treat people unequally and added that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatens security by demoralizing the New York Police Department and painting the NYPD with "a racist brush" when officers act on that principle.
Fox's exploitation of tragedy comes as no surprise. The network immediately exploited the deadly hostage situation in Sydney, Australia in December to justify torture, politicized the Canadian Parliament shooting in October to attack gun safety measures, and used reports of American deaths in Benghazi, Libya to push their phony scandal surrounding the 2012 attacks.
From the April 30 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight:
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Sean Hannity devoted his Fox News show Friday to furthering misleading attacks on President Obama's record on national security.
Hannity opened his show by playing a misleading political ad from a right-wing political activist that deceptively edited statements President Obama made about the Osama bin Laden raid to make it look like Obama took all the credit for the success of the raid himself. Hannity then asked audience members whether they agreed that Obama "politicized the killing of bin Laden this week":
The reality is that President Obama has repeatedly thanked and praised the American troops and other military and intelligence individuals who participated in the mission.
Hannity later turned to birther and less than ethical Fox military analyst Gen. Thomas McInerney to criticize the Obama administration for attempting to negotiate with the Taliban. McInerney said "you can't negotiate with them." However, CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and many other national security experts have said that it is in America's interest to negotiate with the Taliban.
Perhaps the most disgraceful part of Hannity's special was when he brought up the topic of waterboarding and said that "President Obama calls that torture." Fox national security analyst KT McFarland then offered a full-throated defense of the practice:
McFARLAND: No, it's not torture. And there's a second issue, which is: Did it work? And it worked. And if it worked, it's kept the United States safe for this last 10 years -- even if it's torture, it's probably worth doing.
In fact, former interrogators, intelligence officials, and experts have stated that torture did not lead to bin Laden's whereabouts, and furthermore, that it doesn't provide trustworthy information.
And it's not just President Obama that "claims" waterboarding is torture.
In an April 22 Wall Street Journal op-ed, Ann Marlowe of the conservative Hudson Institute dismissed recently published photos of U.S. military personnel posing with Afghan corpses, writing: "[S]ometimes, men do dumb things. This is one of them, and not much more." Marlowe further compared the actions of the military personnel in the photos to "the way football teams psych themselves up for games."
From Marlowe's op-ed, titled, "Much Ado About Afghan War Photos":
Part of the issue here is also the accelerating feminization of American culture, which has caused the increasing demonization of relatively normal male behavior. Men at war demonize their enemy and enact their triumph over him symbolically. That is part of the psychology that makes them able to kill.
No, it isn't pretty, but it's not that different from the way football teams psych themselves up for games or the way that (with less physicality) a big company's sales force revs up for a new product introduction. Male aggressivity serves a purpose in a healthy society -- as many of us realized for the first time when the U.S. had to fight back after 9/11.
And sometimes, men do dumb things. This is one of them, and not much more.
The photos, first published last week by the Los Angeles Times, have been widely condemned by the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the senior allied commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. Army spokesman Col. Thomas W. Collins was quoted as saying: "[T]hese photos are probably a manifestation of the soldiers' relief that this insurgent no longer posed a threat to them or their fellow soldiers. That cannot excuse what they did. We are the United States Army, and the world rightly has very high expectations that our soldiers will do what's right. Clearly, that didn't happen in this case." Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called the photos "inhumane and provocative."
Last week, Fox News military analysts Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney and Lt. Col. Ralph Peters similarly downplayed the photos. Peters claimed that the photos "did not even rise to the level of a fraternity prank" and that they were just images of "young people blowing off testosterone." McInerney said that the soldiers "weren't deliberately desecrating" the bodies in the course of doing their jobs, "although they probably should." He continued: "We shouldn't worry about the remains of suicide bombers, but we do."
Fox News figures are lambasting President Obama as "weak" for apologizing to Afghans after U.S. military personnel burned copies of the Quran. This criticism is bizarre, as Obama's reaction to the incident is fully consistent with U.S. precedent: in 2008, President Bush similarly apologized to Iraq's prime minister following the desecration of a Quran by American military personnel.