Home Store In Memoriam Deborah Newsletter Forum Topics Blogfeed Blogroll Facebook MySpace Contact Us About

Who’s to Blame for Missing Shot at Taliban? Not Bush

Reported by Judy - September 14, 2006 -

The co-hosts of Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” stoked their anger Thursday (September 14, 2006) for the second day in a row over a drone photo showing a large gathering of Taliban leaders in Afghanistan that the U.S. failed to bomb. But in searching for someone to blame, the trio never thought to point at the commander in chief or the Secretary of Defense.

The way the “Fox and Friends” co-hosts handled the classified photo, published in the New York Post, also demonstrates the news channel’s double-standard when it comes to news organizations that publish secret information.

The photo showed a gathering of about 190 Taliban members at a funeral. The photo apparently was leaked to the Post by someone in the Pentagon and the newspaper published it. "Fox and Friends" co-hosts E.D. HIll, Brian Kilmeade, and Steve Doocy were irate yesterday over the failure of the military to bomb the gathering and continued harping on it Thursday.

Hill read a statement from commanders in Afghanistan saying they did not attack the gathering because they "hold themselves to higher moral and ethical standards than their enemies. A decision was made not to strike this group of insurgents at that specific location and time."

Doocy was exercised enough to interrupt Hill and demand, "Why? ... Why if there are 190 Taliban honchos lined up like sitting ducks, why didn’t they squeeze off a single shot? A person had told Fox News that perhaps it was they didn’t have the assets there to take them out effectively, although you would think that a Hell Fire missle sure would have taken a chunk out of them."

Later, he said, "We also understand that every commander up the chain gave the go-ahead but the problem was they couldn’t get the appropriate fire in time to that location in the sky just above that formation."

Although yesterday the three had disseminated information that the rules of engagement might ban shooting at the enemy at funerals, on Thursday they assured viewers that, according to Kilmeade, there is "absolutely nothing on the books that says you cannot bomb someone at a funeral while you're in a cemetery."

"That photograph is embarrassing now," Doocy said.

The trio discussed the photo in a segment, teased it throughout their two-hour show, asked guest Newt Gingrich about it, and finally went through all the information again before bringing on Bill Cowan, Fox News military analyst, to give the explanation.

After the big build-up, Cowan said the military couldn't get a plane there in time to strike it before the group broke up, although it was authorized, and that the drone that took the photo was unarmed, although other news organizations have said it was armed.

What was striking was the way Fox News never once blamed "the Bush administration" for the missed opportunity. Fox News won't say anything to raise questions about the way the Bush administration is prosecuting the Afghan war. Had President Clinton been in office, we would have needed a calculator to keep track of the times Bill Clinton would have been blamed.

The second striking aspect of the story was the lack of outrage over publishing of classified information by a newspaper. When The New York Times publishes secret information, Fox News is eager to accuse it of treason. But if a newspaper owned by their boss, Rupert Murdoch, breaches security, it's another matter entirely.

Guess you could call it a case of a double, double-standard.