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Fox News Airs Call for 'Muslim-Only' Line

Reported by Judy - August 15, 2006 -

A Fox News guest proposed having a "Muslims only" line for airport travelers, an idea that "Dayside" co-host Mike Jerrick called attention to it so that viewers did not overlook the proposal.

Conservative radio host Mike Gallagher suggested the idea during a segment Tuesday (August 15, 2006) with constitutional lawyer Michael Gross discussing racial profiling.

"Dayside" co-host Juliet Huddy set up the debate by noting that all terrorists have been Muslim extremists, and Jerrick claimed that some people oppose racial profiling as "politically incorrect."

"It’s not just a matter of political correctness, please," responded Gross. "It’s illegal, it’s unconstitutional, unethical, immoral, it shouldn’t be done. We do not in this country prejudge a person based upon their race, creed, color, country of national origin and it’s wrong to do so and it addition it’s not effective. It doesn’t work. It actually perpetuates the problem. That is, it separates us."

Gallagher responded that Gross's statements were "absolutely absurd" and claimed that the Traffic Safety Administration is aggressively targeting uniformed members of the military. "Let's have a Muslim-only line," Gallagher said, as Gross started to talk.

Jerrick asked Gallagher to repeat what he said.

"It’s time to have a Muslims check-point line in America’s airports and have Muslims be scrutinized. You better believe it, it’s time," Gallagher said, garnering tepid audience applause.

Gross attacked the proposal as "absolutely wrong" because "most Arabs are not Muslims, most Muslims are not Arabs. You don't even have your facts straight. How would you feel if we had a line for the Irish, which the English proposed during the IRA problems?" He pleaded not to turn the United States into a "tyrannical, imperial country." Still, a woman in the audience asked a question about being "politically correct" by not allowing racial profiling.

Gallagher claimed that opposition to racial profiling amounted to not wanting to hurt people's feelings.

"Most Americans want prejudice. Let’s be prejudiced against those who want to slaughter innocent American men, women and children. It’s time we start exercising some prejudice and stop these bloody terrorists," Gallagher said, this time drawing more robust applause.

The segment had all the attributes of a typical "fair and balanced" debate. Although Gross was effective with his comments, Fox News did all it could to favor Gallagher. Jerrick's set-up downplayed the significance of the issue by labeling opposition to racial profiling as merely "politically incorrect" rather than unconstitutional, creating a larger burden for Gross.

Then, when the two men first appeared on the screen, Gallagher's image was on the left and Gross's on the right. When Gallagher complained, Fox News flipped the images to accommodate him.

Nor did Huddy or Jerrick attempt to press Gallagher as to the specifics of the proposal. How, for example, would the airport screeners determine whether someone is a member of the Muslim religion? Or would Gallagher make all Arabs, including Christian ones, go in the "Muslim-only line"? And how do we tell who is an Arab? Jerrick might have asked Gallagher for these kinds of specifics when he asked him to repeat the proposal, but he chose not to, making the idea seem more plausible and feasible than it is.

And when it came time for the wrap-up, Jerrick went first to Gross, allowing Gallagher to go last so that his fear-mongering rhetoric could go unrebutted.

With such a lax journalistic performance, Jerrick and Huddy deserve to go from the national Fox News Channel line-up to that morning show for a Chicago station that Roger Ailes has planned for them. The sooner the better.