Fox & Friends, a home for rampant Islamophobia, returned to demonizing Muslims this week by literally sounding the siren over the Los Angeles Police Department's recent decision to change the way it stores suspicious activity reports that end up being unrelated to terrorism. The LAPD's move came in response to privacy concerns from Muslim leaders and other advocacy groups.
While LAPD officials have called the groups' concerns a “legitimate point” and stated that its suspicious activity reporting program will be “as robust as it is now,” Fox & Friends claimed that the LAPD is “bowing to the demands of Muslims and relaxing their terrorism programs” and asked if they're “putting political correctness before safety.”
Here are the changes the LAPD is implementing, according to the Los Angeles Times:
The department, after coming under fire from civil liberties and community groups, will no longer hold on to so-called suspicious activity reports that the LAPD's counter-terrorism unit determines are about harmless incidents.
Until now, the department stored the innocuous reports in a database for a year. That gave rise to worries among critics of the reporting program that personal information about people who had done nothing wrong could be entered inappropriately into the federal government's vast network of counter-terrorism databases and watch lists.
Once completed by an officer, a [Suspicious Activity Report] is forwarded to the department's Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau, where officers conduct a follow-up investigation to assess if there is a threat. Under the new procedures, hard copies of SARs will be destroyed and electronic versions deleted once officers conclude that the reports had no significance.
As before, information about suspicious activity will be forwarded to a regional analysis center for further vetting and, if necessary, onward for investigation by federal authorities.
And, really, that's it. Reports of suspicious activity deemed harmless will immediately be deleted from the LAPD's terror database in response to privacy concerns. The LAPD's deputy chief called it a “legitimate point” and the Times noted that the change “will have a relatively small impact.” Despite this, Fox & Friends devoted two segments over two days to fearmonger about the change.
Blaring the “PC Police” siren on Thursday, co-host Gretchen Carlson said that the LAPD is “bowing to the demands of Muslims and relaxing their terrorism programs” before asking, “Are they putting political correctness before safety?” Later, she called it an example of “political correctness maybe gone amok” while co-host Brian Kilmeade invoked the 9-11 attacks to fearmonger about the change.
On Friday, guest co-host Dave Briggs opened yet another “PC Police” segment on the LAPD's decision by asking, “Shouldn't the police be focused on keeping us safe rather than worrying about what advocacy groups think?” During the segment, Fox regular Zuhdi Jasser -- who has attacked Muslim advocacy groups and was a star witness in Rep. Peter King's anti-Muslim hearings last year -- said that “this is simply fearmongering from Islamist groups that want to control police and tell them what to do.” Watch:
Fox & Friends has been home to rampant anti-Muslim rhetoric for years. The show's hosts and guests repeatedly fearmongered over the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan. In October 2010, Kilmeade was forced to apologize after he said that “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim.”