FOX News Chickenhawks Exploit British Captives To Beat Iran War Drums
Reported by Ellen - March 28, 2007 -
FOX News wasted no time jumping on the dispute over British captives in Iraq in order to ramp up the level of rhetoric against Iran. Contrary to its “We report, you decide” motto, it was clear from the last two Hannity & Colmes programs (3/26 and 3/27/07) that FNC execs have already decided that Americans should hate Iranians more than ever while not bothering to report the possible ramifications of an increased conflict or heightened tensions. With video.
On Monday, March 26, there was a reasonably balanced report on the situation by Sky News. But that was followed by an unbalanced discussion with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham about how the US should proceed. Ingraham has never served in the military and has no apparent credentials in foreign policy yet she was the only guest to discuss this serious situation.
Meanwhile, the FOX News producers did their best to tie this situation to the 1979 hostage crisis – and, presumably, ratchet up animosity for Iraq – by putting “Day 4” and “Hostage Crisis” on the screen.
Chickenhawk Sean Hannity did his best to get Ingraham to advocate for war. “People don’t want America to get involved but… We are really actively in this crisis, no?”
Ingraham stopped just short of calling for military action, so Hannity tried again. Citing a Wall Street Journal article, he said,“Iran was at its most diplomatically pliant after the US sank much of their Navy, and this was when Reagan was president… He took military action and that seemed to be the most effective technique.” He added that there was a report that British soldiers were ordered not to take military action as the sailors were being seized. The non-serving Hannity declared that kind of restraint “unimaginable to me.” Note to self: Add military expert to Hannity’s self-styled range of expertise.
Ingraham said Iran thinks “it can do whatever it wants, almost with impunity… As far as definitive steps to really turn them back, I don’t think we’ve done enough and I think we’re seeing the cost of that.”
“We have over 100 US soldiers in Iraq that died as a result of the weaponry being provided by the Iranians,” Hannity said, without noting that this assertion by US military officials has aroused skepticism. As the New York Times reported, US officials provided no direct evidence but said “such an assertion was an inference based on general intelligence assessments. That inference, and the anonymity of the officials who made it, seemed likely to generate skepticism among those suspicious that the Bush administration is trying to find a scapegoat for its problems in Iraq, and perhaps even trying to lay the groundwork for war with Iran.”
Alan Colmes argued vehemently against an escalation of tensions. He said there has been a softening of rhetoric from Iran. “They’re not looking to take this to the next level at this point. We shouldn’t be inflaming it. I don’t think inflammatory rhetoric helps at this point. The idea is to get a settlement and to compare this to what happened to the 444 day hostage taking in 1979, four days in when they’re already softening their rhetoric makes no sense to me.”
Hannity tried to rudely interrupt. “How about releasing the hostages?” he said, talking tough from his armchair.
Ingraham, perhaps without a better argument for her own side, stooped to the all-too-familiar FOX News custom of attacking liberals, rather than their argument. “Why are you carrying water for the mullahs?”
Colmes argued that he was not carrying water for the mullahs, then cited the Baker Hamilton Commission which offered possible solutions to the problems in the Middle East, one of which was to negotiate with Iran.
“Last time I checked James Baker was not elected President of the United States,” Ingraham said scornfully.
Last time I checked, Laura Ingraham had far fewer foreign policy credentials than Baker. But that didn’t stop her from a string of slurs against Colmes for supporting Baker’s position. “I’m just trying to figure out, Alan, why a liberal in the United States would stand up for mullahs and the government of Iran.”
Colmes had a great answer. “That is a ridiculous assertion to accuse me of standing up for mullahs. I’m standing up for peace and dialogue and a way of dealing with Iran because what we’ve been doing so far hasn’t worked very well, has it? …Stop accusing liberals of standing up for mullahs because they don’t agree with your way of foreign policy.”
Last night, March 27, the screen said “Hostage Crisis Day 5.”
Subbing for Sean Hannity was another FOX News chickenhawk, Rich Lowry. According to wikipedia, Lowry is still young enough to serve in the military. But he didn’t allow his personal reticence for military service get in the way of advocating battle for others. “Is there any real military option to go in and get these guys?” he asked Sir Alan West, former head of the British Royal Navy.
West pointed out that it would be extremely complex, particularly since it’s unknown where the British troops are being detained “and of course it would be a huge escalation.” But, he added this was “the sort of thing” that nations went to war over in the 19th Century. “One can’t allow this sort of thing to be happening.”
In a further effort to draw parallels to the 1979 crisis, another guest was a former hostage, Don Sharer. Sharer opined – and his view was accepted as fact – that President Ahmadinejad was involved in the crisis. No mention was made that Ahmadinejad has denied such an accusation.
Sharer, without any evidence other than his experience 28 years ago, opined that the British captives would be treated brutally. He added, “There’s not a lot of doubt in my mind that Ardinimajad (sic) didn’t know this was coming.” How much Middle East credibility can you give someone who can’t even pronounce the name of the president of Iran?
Lowry gave him plenty. “Does this just bring home to you that this is the same regime that engaged in that illegal act 25 of 35 years ago, that this is the same radical, anti-western regime?” Lowry asked.
Three guesses how Sharer answered.
Unfortunately, Colmes lost much of the fire for diplomacy he had shown the previous night and spent most of his segment asking Sharer questions about his captivity.
Meanwhile, with all that anti-Iranian rhetoric, nobody reported that oil prices surged as the result of the tensions. While the FOX News millionaires dream of war for others to fight and die over, the rest of us can just increase our credit card debt.
Video of the March 26 discussion with Ingraham, below. You can watch the March 27 discussion on the Hannity & Colmes website. It's called "Iran Showdown."