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Double Standard for incoming Democratic leadership

Reported by Chrish - December 12, 2006 -

On The Big Story today 12/11/06, John Gibson and guest Erick Stakelbeck, "Terror Analyst," discussed an interview where incoming Intelligence chief Silvestre Reyes incorrectly identified the majority of Al Queda followers as Shia when he should have said Sunni. The guest was even-handed in his criticism, saying it's appalling how many in Congress are uninformed about our enemies, but Gibson emphasized that the incoming chief is a Democrat. Too bad he doesn't hold the "commander-in-chief" to such a standard.

Mr. Stakelbeck, according to his bio at CBN (Christian Broadcasting News),

"holds a B.A. in Secondary English Education from Holy Family University. Prior to joining CBN, he worked as a senior writer and analyst at the Investigative Project, a leading counterterrorism think tank in Washington, D.C. His articles on Islamic extremism, global terrorism and U.S. foreign policy have appeared in the Wall Street Journal Europe, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, New York Post, New York Sun, Jerusalem Post, and National Review Online, among other publications."

The story behind the BS is an interview of Reyes by Jeff Stein at Congressional Quarterly which revealed that the incoming Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence did not know the make-up of Al Queda or Hezbollah, troubling indeed. Klein did temper his criticism saying that

"To his credit, Reyes, a kindly, thoughtful man who also sits on the Armed Service Committee, does see the undertows drawing the region into chaos.

For example, he knows that the 1,400- year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia.

That’s more than two key Republicans on the Intelligence Committee knew when I interviewed them last summer. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., and Terry Everett, R-Ala., both back for another term, were flummoxed by such basic questions, as were several top counterterrorism officials at the FBI. "

Despite his right-wing resume, Stakelbeck did make sure to inform viewers that Reyes was far from the only member of the House and the Senate who doesn't know the basic background of the long-running conflicts in the Middle East. Both Republicans and Democrats, AND a number of leading counter-terrorism officials in the FBI, are apparently ignorant of the fundementals in the fight. He acknowledges that Reyes is "not a wimpy guy" - he served in Viet Nam and is a former Border Patrol agent - but questions whether he is fit for the post.

But Gibson kept coming back to the point that Reyes is "taking charge" in January and that he is a Democrat (thereby, at FOX, representative of all Democrats - they all look alike. Wait, no, that's what Senator Trent Lott (R-MS) said when he was asked about the Sunni-Shiite differences: “It’s hard for Americans, all of us, to understand what’s wrong with these people . . . They all look the same to me.”)

Stakelbeck asked whether there is any "intellectual curiosity" on the part of these officials, or do they "live in a such a bubble" in D.C. that they can't do a simple web-search on the difference between Sunni and Shia? He lamented that most members of Congress have probably never even picked up a Koran or Hadith, and many think jihad is just a spiritual struggle.

Stakelbeck played along in the final moments of the segment, when Gibson asked if "we should be worried that a person who is actually in charge of some aspect of the war on terror doesn't know these things?" Stakelbeck replied that we should be immensely worried and it's a problem for the Democrats to be portrayed again as weak on terror, but that many Republicans are equally clueless, and more disturbing still is the revelation that many FBI counter-terrorism "experts" are also unknowledgeable. (Note again that it is all Democrats, not just Reyes, yet when he spoke of Rs and the FBI he amended his comments with "many.") It's very troubling, he concludes, and Gibson eggs him on: "But, it's a Democrat that's in charge now, right?" Yes it is, he got his agreement, and ended the interview.

Gibson resurrected the "clueless" label later on in his "My Word" segment, where he used it SIX times to describe DEMOCRAT Reyes.

Gibson attempted to cover Bush's ass (that is item one in his job description, after all) with

"People are going to say Bush doesn't know much either. Well, I think he's learned that much, and these are the people who are proposing to take control of the war from him. So if they're going to assert control they could at least be an improvement."

apparently referring to the fact that the commander-in-chief, two months before formally committing Americans to fight and die in Iraq, was clueless about the Sunni and Shiite differences and how they factor in the Middle East way of life.

We anticipate many many more instances of FOX News pointing out shortcomings and errors that will inevitably be made by the new majority, unlike the free ride they've given the Republican-controlled Congress of the past. Gibson was showing blatant partisanship and glee at a "find", even though it was repeatedly pointed out that Republicans (and the FBI, oy) are equally confused on the issue.