Fox's Gretchen Carlson whitewashed the national security record of the Bush administration to suggest the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was “the first successful terror attack since 9-11.”
On three separate occasions during Fox & Friends, Carlson asked “Did the first successful terror attack since 9-11 just happen under President Obama's watch?” Carlson asked that question while teasing upcoming segments, but Fox never attempted to answer that question.
Carlson could not be more misleading on this issue. The State Department produces an annual report compiling all known instances of terrorism, which is defined as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.” In its 2008 report, the State Department counted 19 private U.S. citizens killed as a result of terrorism in 2007 alone. The report also counted more than 40,000 terrorist attacks worldwide between 2005 and 2007.
There were several high-profile terrorist attacks inside the U.S. during the Bush administration, including the anthrax attacks, the fatal shooting at the El Al airlines ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport, the DC-area sniper attacks -- all of which occurred in 2002. In addition, there was a 2003 attack on a U.S. diplomatic vehicle that killed three in the Gaza Strip. Three American security personnel were killed while transporting diplomats from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Fox has a history of reacting to violence during the Obama administration by claiming that no terrorist attacks in the U.S. that occurred during the Bush administration.
- On May 3, 2010, Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer said there were “no successful attacks in the United States” after the 9-11 attacks.
- Fox host Dana Perino said on November 24, 2009, that “we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term.” The next day, she amended her statement on Twitter, writing: “I obviously meant no terror attack on U.S. post 9/11 during Bush 2nd term.”
- On July 13, 2011, Fox host Eric Bolling said: “I don't remember any terrorist attacks on American soil” between 2000 and 2008. Bolling also followed up the next day with a clarification, saying: “Obviously, I meant in the aftermath of 9-11.” Weeks later, Bolling defended Bush by saying “not since” the 9-11 attacks “until the end of his term, was there ... not even an attempted terrorist attack on American soil.”
- Fox contributor Monica Crowley claimed on January 6, 2010, that after the 9-11 attacks, the Bush administration “had a 100 percent perfect track record in keeping the homeland safe from an Islamic terrorist attack.”