Fox & Friends' one-sided coverage of Brennan's remarks widens Fox's credibility gap with its terrorism experts
Research ››› ››› ERIC SCHROECK
Since White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's February 7 appearance on Meet the Press, in which he criticized Republicans for politicizing the Obama administration's response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, Fox & Friends has repeatedly hosted only conservatives and opponents of the Obama administration to discuss Brennan's remarks and the administration's response to the plot. Moreover -- following a trend set by Fox News since the Christmas Day bombing attempt -- Fox & Friends has hosted these guests, most of whom have a history of making false or outrageous statements about American foreign policy or terrorism, undermining their credibility to discuss those topics.
Fox & Friends hosted Lt. Col. Allen West, who pleaded guilty to assaulting an Iraqi detainee
West criticized Obama administration's handling of Christmas Day bombing attempt. On February 8, Fox & Friends hosted Lt. Col. Allen West, a Republican congressional candidate in Florida, to discuss Brennan's Meet the Press appearance and the Obama administration's handling of Northwest Airlines bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. During the segment, West said, "When I look at what's going on right now with the Nigerian terrorist, it's almost like a Greek tragedy of epic proportion." West further stated that the Obama administration has "established a very dangerous paradigm with this Mirandizing" of terror suspects, "because now they're going to continue to come with more and more attacks, because we're -- they're coming here, and we're giving them lawyers."
West reportedly resigned from Army "after pleading guilty to assaulting an Iraqi detainee during interrogation." According to a December 13, 2003, CNN.com report, West admitted that he "threatened to kill" an Iraqi detainee in his custody, that he watched as "four of his soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion beat the detainee on the head and body," and that, according to military prosecutors, he "followed up on that threat" to kill the detainee by shooting a pistol near his head. A December 14, 2003, Boston Globe article further noted that a "disciplinary proceeding found that the actions by ... West were serious enough to 'merit a court-martial.' "
Fox & Friends hosted Dana Perino, who has advanced false claims about national security in attacking Obama administration
Perino advanced several dubious claims on Fox & Friends, including that Abdulmutallab "bought a one-way ticket" and that "there wasn't a system in place" for the military to hold Richard Reid. On the February 8 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor and former Bush press secretary Dana Perino criticized the Obama administration for missing "all these red flags," claiming that Abdulmutallab "bought a one-way ticket" to the United States. However, Obama administration officials have stated that Abdulmutallab flew to Detroit on a roundtrip ticket. Further, Perino attempted to rebut the Obama administration's comparison of its use of civilian trials for alleged terrorists with the Bush administration's similar treatment of shoe bomber Richard Reid by falsely suggesting that "there wasn't a system in place" for Bush to order Reid to be held by the military. In fact, such a system was in place by the time Reid pleaded guilty, as many suspects were placed in military detention before that date.
Perino: "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term." On the November 24, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity, Perino falsely claimed that "[w]e did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."
Fox & Friends hosted Michael Goodwin, who has falsely claimed Bush had "a record of zero successful attacks on America after 9/11"
Goodwin criticized Obama administration's handling of Abdulmutallab. Discussing Brennan's remarks on the February 8 edition of Fox & Friends, New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin claimed that the administration "leaked" details of Abdulmutallab's interrogation "clearly for political reasons." He further stated that "the whole thing seems like a giant mess now, and it all goes back to the White House's decision to fight the War on Terror as though it's a criminal justice matter."
Goodwin has claimed that Bush had "a record of zero successful attacks on America after 9/11." In a January 6 New York Post column, Goodwin advanced the false claim that Bush had "a record of zero successful attacks on America after 9/11." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, numerous terrorist attacks took place under Bush after 9-11.
Fox & Friends hosted Michael Scheuer, who has claimed "the only chance we have" is for bin Laden to "detonate a major weapon" in U.S.
Scheuer: Holder "should resign." On the February 9 edition of Fox & Friends, Michael Scheuer said that he thinks Attorney General Eric Holder "should resign" and further stated, "We're in the 14th year of this war, and Mr. Brennan and his folks are trying to dismantle what little defense we have against these people."
Scheuer: "The only chance we have as a country right now is" for bin Laden to "detonate a major weapon" in U.S. Scheuer, whom Fox News hosted on December 28, 2009, and January 7 to discuss the attempted bombing of the Northwest Airlines flight and the response of the Obama administration, previously said during an appearance on Glenn Beck, "The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States." [Glenn Beck, 6/30/09]
Scheuer has repeatedly made outrageous comments about the Obama administration. Scheuer previously suggested that President Obama is guilty of treason, stated that White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel wants terrorists to attack the United States, and asserted that the Obama administration is "pro-terrorist."
Fox & Friends hosted Gary Berntsen, who has said Obama's response to Iran "detonating nuclear devices" would be to talk "about sanctions"
Berntsen criticized Obama administration over handling of terror suspects. Appearing with Scheuer on the February 9 edition of Fox & Friends, Gary Berntsen said of terror suspects who are "perceived member[s] of Al Qaeda": "[L]et's direct them into a channel which allows us to have military trials on these people. They are enemy combatants that have declared war on the United States. And I just can't understand why the administration hasn't figured this out."
Berntsen: "[Obama's] performance has been weak in national security, and therefore, his speech was weak." On January 28, Fox & Friends hosted Berntsen to discuss Obama's efforts on terrorism and whether the president had "sa[id] enough" about national security in his State of the Union speech. Berntsen said that "his performance has been weak in national security, and therefore, his speech was weak"; that Obama's statements on North Korea and Iran were "ridiculous"; and he criticized Obama's withdrawal plan for Afghanistan as premature. Berntsen gave Obama a "D" for national security. Berntsen opined that Obama had been on a "charm offensive" regarding national security and foreign policy, adding, "[T]he Iranians will be detonating nuclear devices, and he'll still be talking about sanctions."
Fox & Friends hosted Marc Thiessen, who dubiously claimed that harsh interrogation techniques on KSM thwarted L.A. attack
Thiessen: "Dumbest thing we could possibly do" was Mirandize Abdulmutallab. Discussing Brennan's remarks on the February 9 edition of Fox & Friends, former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen claimed that the "absolutely dumbest thing we could possibly do" was to "tell [Abdulmutallab] that he has the right to remain silent." Thiessen further claimed that the Obama administration is "politicizing" the handling of Abdulmutallab.
Thiessen dubiously claimed that the use of harsh interrogation techniques on KSM thwarted attack in Los Angeles. On April 17, 2009, Thiessen claimed that the use of harsh interrogation techniques -- including waterboarding -- on Khalid Shaikh Mohammed "stopped an attack on the Library Tower in Los Angeles." But that claim conflicts with the chronology of events put forth on multiple occasions by the Bush administration, as Slate.com's Timothy Noah has noted. Indeed, the Bush administration said that the Library Tower attack was thwarted in February 2002 -- more than a year before Mohammed was captured in March 2003.
Fox & Friends further widens Fox News' credibility gap with its terrorism experts
Since Christmas Day bombing attempt, Fox has repeatedly hosted guests who have made false or outrageous statements about foreign policy or terrorism. Following the Christmas Day bombing attempt, Fox News has repeatedly discussed terrorism with analysts who have proved themselves not credible to discuss American foreign policy by making false or outrageous statements about foreign policy or terrorism. For example, Fox hosted Scheuer; Stephen Hayes, whose false comments about a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda had to be corrected by the Pentagon; Ralph Peters, who previously said on Fox News that if the soldier the Taliban captured had deserted his post, then "the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles"; and Judith Miller, who reported a series of stories on Saddam Hussein's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction that the Times later corrected in an editor's note.