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London Bombing Anniversary: FOX News Stirs the Terror Pot

Reported by Marie Therese - July 7, 2006 -

Yesterday morning, E. D. Hill, co-host of FOX's ditzy and self-involved morning show FOX & Friends, was on assignment in London. She did a short report as a teaser for today's much more exhaustive campaign designed to work the FOX viewers into a fever pitch, a prelude to non-stop saturation coverage of last year's bloody bombings in London. The purpose, of course, is to roil the emotions of the conservative base, reducing them to a quivering mass of nerves, so fearful of the masked terrorist that they would willingly give up their freedoms just to be safe. Ms. Hill did her job as fear-monger with great enthusiasm, conjuring up gory pictures of blood-soaked streets and waxing eloquent about how England and America are united in a search to get rid of civil liberties in order to maintain public safety.

HILL: ""... [As] an American in London, you really get a sense of how much our two countries are sharing as we mark this anniversary and we think about how we're making our preparations at home to secure ourselves because they're going through the same thing here."

"Where I am is Tavistock Square and, as you recall, there were four bombings, three went off in the subway system and then one was about an hour after the initial three and that was on a bus - the number 30. Now, that bus stopped right down at the end of this street, just behind those trees, and that is where the person exploded the rucksack that he was carrying. That was Hassab Hussain. Right at the very end of the street is the Medical Association and to give you an idea - I know, I know it's breakfast - how horrendous this was, they were actually in here hosing off the building because they had to get the parts off of it that way."

"There were people there, of course, trying to figure out who's on the buses, who has been killed. In the park over there, so, you know, a good couple hundred yards from where the bus was, they found an Indian woman's hand later on and this is where they will be putting a plaque and holding a ceremony tomorrow to commemorate this - the tragedy here in London."

"At the same time the politicians here are grappling with the very issues we are at home. They're talking about immigration. They're talking about assimiliation. They're wondering what they can do - what kind of civil liberties they can curtail - yet still have freedom but keep the people here in Britain safe. And, so, you know, a lot of us are going through the exact same questions and there's not that big of a difference between (sic) the Pond today as we come up on this anniversary."

The F&F co-hosts - Mike Jerrick, Paige Hopkins and Brian Kilmeade - followed up Hill's report by saying that a panel of "terror analysts" at the Carnegie Endowment and the Center for American Progress has just released the results of a poll of terror experts.

MIKE JERRICK: "And, not shockingly, they believe that, in fact, 84% of them believe we'll have another attack on the 9/11 scale in the next five years. But, by the end of 2006 - talk about the terror, the London bombings there - almost 75% of them think that there'll be a terror attack on the scale of the London bombings or the Madrid bombings by the end of this year."

HOPKINS: "Here, on U. S. soil, which is what's so scary."

A few minutes later, after a brief discussion of comments made by the wife of the late Musab al-Zarqawi to an Italian newspaper, Brian Kilmeade finally got around to connecting two stories that earlier in the week they deliberately did not connect for their viewers.

BRIAN KILMEADE: "She said that he [al-Zarqawi] was given up by Al Qaeda and, in turn, for giving up Al Qaeda (sic), they backed off bin Laden. And isn't it unbelievable and, I'm sure, unrelated, that the CIA says 'We're callin' off our bin Laden unit' and we're gonna reassign them. The hunt for bin Laden isn't as important 'cause he's more of a symbol. 'Scuse me. He's guilty of what he did on 9-11. He's important!."

HOPKINS: "Of course he is. He's still, like, giving signals in his tapes."

JERRICK: "Especially when you hear from this wife of Zarqawi. I mean - 'I can deal with the pain as long as he [bin Laden] is alive. Wouldn't it great if she - if he wasn't alive and she could then have to deal with the pain?"

KILMEADE: "And I can't wait to hear from the other Mrs. Zarqawis 'cause I think he had multiple one (sic), including the teenager he was with, evidently, who was killed along with him."

COMMENT

The United Kingdom and its residents are far more experienced in dealing with terrorists and their cowardly acts than we are here in the United States. However, the people of Britain have learned that - whether faced with the Nazis' nightly bombing raids or the I. R. A.'s fanatic assaults - in the face of uncertainty, life must go on.

There was a stark contrast between the fear-mongering rhetoric of Hill's words yesterday and the daily routine of London life on the street behind her.

The buses were still running, cars scooted down the street and people strolled in the park and on the sidewalks.

What better way to end this post that with the words of Londoner Rachel North, a survivor of the 7/7 attacks, who is agitating for hearings in London similar to our 9-11 Commission. (You might recall that the four women responsible for that Commission have been hauled over the coals by heartless skeleton Ann Coulter and her band of right-wing dittoheads.)

Initially, Ms. North used all the buzz words E. D. Hill clearly expected to hear, and then - at the very last moment - revealed that she had a mind of her own.

NORTH: "We were very inspired by the way America took this very clear-eyed look at what had happened and not just what had happened, but tried to engage with why it had happened. Over here, the fact that we were bombed by young British men. They were the first suicide bombings on western soil and they were by four of our own, is deeply troubing and I think there are big questions that we all need to engage with. Not just practical things like first aid kits on tubes and training, but actually the bigger debate between liberty and security, between the roots of radicalization, between multiculturalism and the nature of how we manage in a 21st century, post-9-11 world."

HILL: "Do you think Brits are ready for that because after our 9-11 Commission came out with the recommendations, many haven't been followed because we say 'Wait, that infringes on my civil liberties - that infringes on my freedom. Yes, I want security but at what cost?' Are Brits willing to give up some of that?"

NORTH: "I think that there's a feeling that terrorists may seek to attack our liberties but that we don't need to, necessarily, do the same to ourselves in order to defeat them. One of the things that's come for me out of 7/7 is a feeling of unity, that on my train Asians, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, black, white, were all bombed together and we have all supported each other and we have all managed to cope, despite everything, for a year. I think it's a sense of trying to engage with ourselves as a society - rather than trying to look for things to terrify us - that's important."

So, today, as you watch FOX News use the horrible events of 7-7-05 to stoke the flames of xenophobia, hatred, fear and anger, remember Ms. North's words, spoken with the authority of a resident of a country that has seen terrorist attacks for over 50 years.

"I think it's a sense of trying to engage with ourselves as a society - rather than trying to look for things to terrify us - that's important."