Fox News' flagship news program aired graphic footage of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group executing a hostage, despite previously criticizing other media outlets for airing such footage they called “terrorist propaganda.”
This week the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video purporting to show the horrific murder of a Jordanian pilot being held hostage by the terrorist group. Jordan officials confirmed the pilot's death, and are currently working to authenticate the video produced and distributed by ISIS.
Fox News' Special Report aired images of the execution from the terrorists' video on February 3. Host Bret Baier explained the network's reasoning for showing the graphic images, warning viewers, “The images are brutal. They are graphic. They are upsetting,” but, “The reason we are showing you this is to bring you the reality of Islamic terrorism and to label it as such. We feel you need to see it.” After displaying the images, Baier added, “Having seen the whole video, it is something you cannot unsee. Horrific and barbaric, as well as calculating and skilled at high-tech propaganda.” FoxNews.com later uploaded the full-length, 22-minute video on its site.
Fox's justification for airing the terrorists' “high-tech propaganda” is strikingly similar to one of the network's favorite attacks on President Obama, that he refuses to acknowledge the reality of the terrorism threat.
But before Obama was in office, Fox News repeatedly criticized other media outlets for airing footage they called “terrorist propaganda,” claiming doing so threatens national security and U.S. troops. In 2004, host Bill O'Reilly declared, “the TV network Al Jazeera helps al Qaeda and other killers by broadcasting their executions propaganda.” In 2005, Fox News Watch questioned whether American journalists should continue working relationships with Al Jazeera, because “American journalists [are] helping Iraqi terrorists by showing pictures of terrorist acts provided by Al Jazeera, a TV network that seems to have strong links to terrorists.” And in 2006, Fox criticized CNN for airing footage of American soldiers being killed in Iraq, declaring they would not air the same footage and noting that “some people say the airing of what they call a terrorist propaganda video has actually put American soldiers in danger.” (Though as CNN's Brian Stelter noted, in 2004 Sean Hannity's radio program aired audio of terrorists in Iraq beheading an American.)
Transcripts found via Nexis.
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