On the August 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly argued extensively for "profiling of Muslims" at airports, arguing that detaining all "Muslims between the ages of 16 and 45" for questioning "isn't racial profiling," but "criminal profiling."
Discussing the August 16 rerouting of a flight from London to Washington, D.C., due to a passenger disturbance, O'Reilly posed the question: "Is profiling Muslims the answer?" Apparently answering in the affirmative, O'Reilly declared, "[I]t's long past time for the USA to stop the nonsense and institute profiling at airports" because "[w]e're not at war with Granny Fricken. We're at war with Muslim fanatics. So, all young Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny than Granny." Yet, despite advocating for profiling all "Muslims between the ages of 16 and 45," O'Reilly declared that such profiling "isn't racial profiling," but rather "criminal profiling" or, as he later termed it, "[t]error profiling."
From the August 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: The O'Reilly Factor is on. Tonight, more airline chaos today, this time on a London to D.C. flight. Is profiling of Muslims the answer? Is it time for a new strategy in Iraq? [Fox News contributor and former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich [R-GA] on that. And how should religious people fight the war on terror?
But first, a "Talking Points Memo." More airline terror chaos. As you may know, some woman caused a commotion on a United flight from London to D.C. The plane was escorted by American fighter jets and landed in Boston. Then some incompetent announced to the press the woman had matches, fluid, and had written a note about Al Qaeda. That turned out to be false, another hysterical reaction to the undeniable threat of airline terrorism.
Now, it's long past time for the U.S.A. to stop the nonsense and institute profiling at airports. We're not at war with Granny Fricken. We're at war with Muslims fanatics.
So, all young Muslims should be subjected to more scrutiny than Granny. And we should blend some Israeli screening procedures with our own.
For example, trained security people should receive the passenger list on every flight and interview those people most likely to be terrorists, folks who have traveled to Muslim countries, people who have criminal records. Passengers who are Muslims ages 16 to 45 all should be spoken with.
And if the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] doesn't like it, tough. This isn't racial profiling. This is criminal profiling. Israel looks for possible terrorists, not nail files. Yes, El Al [Israel Airlines] now does ban liquids, but the emphasis is on people, not weapons.
High-tech swabs are very effective, but you can't use them on all the customers. There simply isn't time. So, selective, not random searches should be in play in the U.S.A.
But the major change America must make is switching from the hourly-wage people at the security points to trained security people at the check-in counter. That's where terrorism will be stopped.
Criminal profiling is used by just about every police officer in this country, whether they admit it or not. It's called common sense and using your head.
The wrongheaded notion that you can't scrutinize Muslims, even though the terror war is driven by them, is beyond dumb. It's self-defeating and acutely dangerous. Profiling must begin now. And that's the "Memo."
O'REILLY: It's OK for Granny -- it's OK for Granny to sacrifice, but it's a waste of time, and it impacts negatively on the whole transportation industry to spend any amount of time on Granny. But it isn't a waste of time to profile Muslims between the ages of 16 and 45. That should be done automatically by professionals.
And nothing nasty, just do what the Israelis do, speak with them, all right. If you feel that there's some kind of -- if they've got a Iran stamp on their passport, yeah, you've got to talk to them. You don't disagree with that, do you?
RUBEN NAVARRETTE JR. (nationally syndicated columnist): I agree with this much of it, Bill. I think Americans are always looking for simple solutions. On immigration, we want to build a wall and then go home and go back to sleep. On this issue, we want to simply profile this group of people, as you said, and somehow that will end it. There are no simple solutions to this.
O'REILLY: Not going to end it, it makes it harder for the terrorists to operate. Look, you said they'll find surrogates. OK? And I agree with you.
O'REILLY: It's hard to find surrogates. Once you go out of your little circle, the odds that somebody will inform on you rise dramatically. You know that.
And as for the wall down on the border, it's not going to solve the problem. It makes it harder for the coyotes to get them across.
And the United States government has a responsibility to protect us from terrorists, from illegal immigration. And to make it harder to do these things is a good thing, Mr. Navarrette. It isn't tearing apart the fabric of our society. It's smart, and it's good. I'll give you the last word.
NAVARRETTE: OK. Good. I think it is tough. I don't think it's smart. I think smart is something that gets at the problem, doesn't base it on assumptions like this. I'm sorry. Racial profiling just doesn't work. It hasn't worked out in the past.
O'REILLY: Terror profiling, not racial. Terror profiling.
NAVARRETTE: OK. Thank you, Bill.
O'REILLY: I'm not going to convince you, no matter what I do.
NAVARRETTE: Not today, Bill.