BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Jeffrey Joseph
In the wake of the failed terrorist attack in New York allegedly attempted by Faisal Shahzad, one would hope the nation could breathe a collective sigh of relief and move on. Unfortunately, too many have interpreted the situation as an opportunity to score political points, occasionally at the cost of logic or the Constitution. For FOX, the failed attack presented a chance to pick on a couple of favorite targets — Muslim terrorists and the rest of the media — while willfully forgetting the organization’s own skewed coverage and adherence to “Christian” values.
FOX & Friends wasted little time in pointing blame at the rest of the media for helping out Shahzad. As Brian Kilmeade asked, “Do media outlets like The New York Times aid and abet terror by leaking national security secrets? Some say, ‘Oh, they do that, including helping the Times Square bomber plan his attack without being detected.’”
In criticizing the Times for its pieces explaining what the government had done to investigate terrorism, FOX clearly meant to indict the rest of the media, or as they refer to it, the “liberal media.” Though the hosts avoided saying as much verbatim, a chyron during the segment read simply “Liberal Media Helping Terrorists?” Some may want to write off the segment as simply an obvious commercial for guest Gabriel Schoenfeld’s new book, but whatever the reason, FOX’s decision to baselessly associate members of the media outside of the network with terrorists is reprehensible and irresponsible.
Beyond irresponsible, the association was a meme that the network picked up on later in its programming as well. Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter discussed O’Reilly’s impression and apparent disgust that “some media outlets have shown sympathy with Faisal Shahzad.” O’Reilly went on to say, “When you have the fact that this guy is an Islamic extremist, why are you trying to make him sympathetic? For what reason?” He stopped short of accusing the “liberal media” of aiding a terrorist, but Coulter, in her typically abrasive, prejudiced fashion, focused on what she believed to be the heart of the story. “The funny thing about these sympathetic portrayals we’re getting in the media,” she said, is that “they are unintentionally leaving us with one conclusion. So the one thing that sets him apart from the rest of us? Oh, he was a Muslim.”
To refer to Coulter as intellectually disingenuous probably gives her excessive credit, but the list of terrorists she mentioned to support her theory is a suspicious one, at best. Coulter noticeably cherry picks around other obvious terrorist activities from white, non-Muslim individuals like Joseph Stack, who drove a plane into an IRS building in Austin, and maybe more significantly, the self-described “Christian” terrorists of the Hutaree who allegedly plotted to incite a revolution in the U.S.
Perhaps the most obvious evidence of hypocrisy from O’Reilly and Coulter comes from juxtaposing their coverage of the Shahzad case with their comments on the murder of George Tiller. Coulter rationalized the paucity of discussion on abortion because “they’re worried about liberals accusing them of being responsible [for Tiller's murder] because liberals have a peculiar cause-and-effect theory on these things.” Speaking of “peculiar cause-and-effect” theories, Coulter should probably reconsider her own prejudiced stance on terrorists since she makes unsupported claims about the ties of Islam to terrorism.
Nonetheless, O’Reilly conceded that he was not happy about Tiller’s murder and referred to his murderer as a domestic terrorist, though he then proceeded to explain his reasons against Tiller continuing his profession, which, by his own standards, would appear to evidence sympathy with the terrorist. Coulter diminished the crime from the “Christian” terrorist even further, crassly telling O’Reilly, “I don’t really like to think of it as a murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester.”
FOX would like the world to believe that other media outlets “aid and abet” terrorists, specifically Muslim terrorists, because it would like to ignore or diminish the actions of other terrorists, especially those of self-proclaimed Christians. If O’Reilly, Coulter, or anyone contributing to FOX wanted to take a serious stand against terrorism, they could probably start with one of the largest shareholders in the network, Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, alleged to have given donations to the families of suicide bombers and who has boasted about manipulating coverage on the network.
Given the content of the network, FOX hardly lives up to the Christian values it pretends to support, using Christianity only as it fits the agenda. Sure, Megyn Kelly, not exactly a model of tolerance, denigrated the way she expected Comedy Central to portray Jesus, but not without the network making it clear that Kelly, and the network, did so to set up a contrast with Islam.
Several of the shows also intentionally air salacious content, such as some scandalous Miss USA photos that an anchor said FOX could only show once because it was “so out of bounds” that the legal team would only allow as much. Subsequently, the content appeared at least twice on FOX & Friends, suggesting that the intention is to seduce viewers with sexy, though supposedly “out of bounds,” content.
Murdoch’s media conglomerate has shown a willingness to encourage sex for conservative politics abroad, too, considering he had Page 3 women pose topless in support of conservatives in England. To FOX, and its Republican party extension, putting the lascivious on display is just fine if it boosts ratings or you can manipulate it to look like the idea of your political opponent. Then viewers must be reminded of Christian inhibitions all over again.
FOX would like to have its viewers believe it is the paragon of honest media and that every other outlet is a terrorist sympathizer. Realistically, by FOX’s own standards the network has a certain amount of terrorist sympathizing to answer for, often simply coupled with racial and religious profiling beforehand. From the salacious, agenda-driven programming of the network, FOX and its contributors reveal themselves to be far from the ideal of a news outlet or a model of the Christian values they claim to hold dear. Viewers should demand that FOX aim to actually live up to its “fair and balanced” mantra and offer less prejudicial, disingenuous exploitation of current events or more seriously commit itself to being a full-time, openly biased Christian network — and in the meantime, choose to Turn Off FOX.
Originally posted at Turn Off FOX.