CNN's Beck, Fox & Friends continued smearing Pelosi over Syria trip


On the April 2 edition of his CNN Headline News program, Glenn Beck characterized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) trip to Syria as "a little sun and sand and an ... unauthorized negotiation with our enemies" and referred to it as "Nancy's little play date in the Middle East." Beck also hosted deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino, who said that Pelosi's trip "does sort of defy common sense" because "[w]e, as an administration ... discourage them [U.S. officials] from going to Syria. It does not help the situation." At no point, however, did Beck mention that a delegation led by Republican Reps. Frank Wolf (VA), Joseph R. Pitts (PA) and Robert Aderholt (AL) met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Damascus on April 1.

On the April 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr also attacked Pelosi, with Kilmeade suggesting the Pelosi-led trip is "bad for America" and Carr claiming that Pelosi is "helping out terrorist sponsors." Co-host Steve Doocy reported that Pelosi responded to the White House's criticism of her visit to Syria by noting that three Republican congressmen recently met with Assad as well. Carr, however, dismissed that fact, saying, "I've never heard of two of those three Republicans. ... They don't get much more obscure than that." Kilmeade appeared to agree with Carr's response, responding, "Neither did I."

Later, co-host Gretchen Carlson noted that Pelosi's office stated that Pelosi was following the recommendation of the Iraq Study Group (which Carlson wrongly identified as the 9-11 Commission) that the United States "actively engage Iran and Syria in its diplomatic dialogue." Carr also dismissed that claim, saying simply, "I don't buy that, Gretchen."

Carr also falsely claimed that Pelosi "refused" to take up a resolution proposed by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), which calls for "the immediate and unconditional release of [15] British marines and sailors held captive by Iran" because, according to Carr, "she said the House had no business trying to do foreign policy for the United States." In fact, as the Associated Press reported on March 30, "Pelosi's spokesman Brendan Daly said the speaker was reluctant to weigh in on the incident without knowing that such a message would do more good than harm."

As Media Matters for America documented, Fox & Friends attacked Pelosi on April 2 for her visit to Syria while ignoring the Republican delegation's April 1 trip and the White House's inconsistency in criticizing Pelosi but remaining silent on the GOP-led visit.

From the April 2 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Actually, Nancy, I don't think there is a new Congress in town. The real story tonight: Is it the new, spineless, overspending Democratic Congress that replaced the old, spineless, overspending Republican Congress has left for a vacation? Yeah! With no troop funding yet approved. Nancy led a delegation, including a Republican, for a little sun and sand and an authorized -- unauthorized negotiation with our enemies in Syria. But don't worry, don't worry. The new Secretary of State Pelosi says everything's going to be just fine.

PELOSI [video clip]: We think it's a good idea to establish the facts, to hopefully build some confidence between us. We have no illusions, but we have great hope.

BECK: Oh. Oh, well, all we have to do is just hope that the nutjobs in Syria will listen to reason. No, no, that's -- why didn't you just say that? You know, maybe you can swing by Iran, you know. We could use a little of that hope to maybe free the hostages and end the nuclear program standoff. Go ahead. It's great.

Unfortunately, Nancy's little play date in the Middle East is distracting everyone from what she's not doing here. Hello? Is anyone concerned about the emergency part of the emergency war spending bill?


BECK: Quickly, Pelosi, what does this say to people like -- you know -- the leaders of Syria when we have the leader of the House coming over to do a fact-finding mission and try to build trust between each other?

PERINO: Well, it does sort of defy common sense. We, as an administration, have a policy of asking all U.S. officials to, you know, to be -- we discourage them from going to Syria. It does not help the situation.

President Assad likes to have these photo opportunities. He likes to broadcast them to the world. It does not make him change his behavior one bit, and it alleviates the pressure on him to change it.

From the April 3 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

CARLSON: Welcome back, everyone. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits Syria as part of her Mideast fact-finding tour, but is it her place to be discussing foreign policy on behalf of the U.S.?

KILMEADE: See, I don't know the answer to that, but I bet you Howie Carr does. He's live from Boston. He's got an opinion on everything. Is this bad for America, Howie -- welcome back, by the way -- for the speaker of the House, the third most powerful person in the country, to be out there talking with Bashar Assad?

CARR: Yeah, I think it is, Brian. I don't think that she has any business doing this. Remember when [former House Speaker] Newt Gingrich [R-GA] was just running around the United States, he didn't even leave the country, and he was accused of having delusions of grandeur when he was attacking Clinton. Now she's in a foreign country.

This is the same woman -- last week, the Senate passed a resolution condemning Iran for taking the British Marines and sailors, and she refused to take it up in the House because, she said, the House had no business trying to do foreign policy for the United States -- and now she's over in the Mideast. Her colleague Tom Lantos says they're presenting an alternative Democratic foreign policy. That's wrong.

DOOCY: Yeah. The White House, Howie -- Dana Perino said, you know, "We just discourage this sort of thing. It's a bad idea" and, yet, yesterday, Madam Pelosi responded: "What are they talking about? There were three Republican congressmen over here just this weekend."

CARR: Yeah, I don't know about you guys, I've never heard of two of those three Republicans.

KILMEADE: Neither did I.

CARR: They don't get much more obscure than that. And the White House responded, "Well, we didn't want them to go either." I don't know. What is she going to talk with Bashar Assad about in Damascus this morning? The fact that she tried to kill the John Doe bill in Congress last week that would have protected whistleblowers --

DOOCY: That's a good ice-breaker.

CARR: -- from being sued if they reported --

CARLSON: But Howie, she says that she's going because the 9-11 Commission [sic] came out and said that this is what politicians should do.

CARR: Well, I just don't -- I don't buy that, Gretchen. I think that she's presenting an opportunity for people who sponsor terrorists to get a photo-op with an American leader. It advertises the discord in American foreign policy -- which, granted, there is -- but should she really be helping out terrorist sponsors? These guys are the people who are one of the groups behind Hezbollah, which has killed hundreds of Americans over the years --


CARR: -- if you count the Beirut bombing.

KILMEADE: But the message is --

CARR: Ninety percent of the suicide bombers come over from Syria.

KILMEADE: Howie, the message is --

CARR: What is she doing?

KILMEADE: Yeah, wait out this president. We don't like him either. It'll be a lot better -- blue skies are coming in 2008, perhaps.

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