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Are You Scared Yet?

Reported by Chrish - July 15, 2007 -

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla

As I have noted, Fox frequently features the fear factor and last night’s Big Story (July 14th, 2007) was typical. Interspersed among the reports of missing white women and guys in Pamplona getting gored in the derriere was a fairly lengthy sequence of discussion about the possibility that we might be in danger based on recently surfaced Jihadist tapes that haven’t been authenticated.

Banderas started the ball rolling at the beginning of the show when she previewed the upcoming topics. Heading the list was “new threats – new terror tapes have surfaced. Video from leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Are terrorists planning a summer strike and can we stop it?” (Comment: are you scared?) Banderas later began a segment with “Breaking news in the war on terror. New videotapes of OBL are making the rounds of jihadist websites. They appear to be about five or six years old; but the timing is significant.” She then referenced a new tape from Ayman al-Zawahri and another tape from the leader of the Taliban who claims that “an attack is imminent this summer” (Comment: are you scared?) and another Al Qaeda tape that “may contain a secret signal to signal that attack."

Fox News correspondent Caroline Shively reported that officials are currently analyzing the authenticity of the OBL tape; but “even if it’s old, Osama is still praising and encouraging martyrdom.” She then went on to say that Fox’s Catherine Herridge spoke to a US official who said that “at least recently, Al Qaeda hasn’t attacked just because they released the tapes. They’re more likely to take the moment and it doesn’t mean that there’s going to be an attack.” (Comment: huh?)

Banderas added that what “worries” her about the OBL tape is that “the number 2 guy is now releasing a tape and this is no coincidence.” Islamic scholar that she is, she informed us that although al-Zawahri says “typical stuff,” he says three times in a row “May God be my witness” and “this is significant. In Islam, they warn their enemies three times before they attack.” (Comment: are you scared?)

The next segment was a discussion with Bill Gavin (former Assistant Director for the NY FBI), retired major-general Timothy Haake (who is also a Washington lobbyist whose firm has been linked to efforts to block legislation banning diamond imports from countries or groups with human rights abuses) and Scott Weber, former counsel to Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff.

What was noteworthy about this segment were not the comments of the participants; but that Banderas' questions and the predictable responses were based on e-mails from her viewers. Earlier in the show, Banderas requested e-mail responses to her questions of “do you believe that there will be a magic moment in September or have you Americans lost your patience? Thus, the stage was set for softball questions that elicited administration talking point responses.

The first MENSA e-mail (comment: e-mails from viewers or from Fox staff?) stated that the “liberals won’t let Bush win. If they just shut up, Bush could finish in September.” That led into a discussion of al-Maliki’s “mixed messages” about Iraq being able to handle its own defense. Then “it’s a shame that liberal America doesn’t have patience because we’re in it for the long haul.” That lead to the question of whether we can balance the ongoing casualties with the need to fight the war on terror. Haake, predictably, said that the “talk of withdrawal has accelerated the violence” and “could drive Iraqis into the hands of extremists.” (Comment: this started long before the “talk” of withdrawal.”) Then, this missive “if we can’t win against a group of rag-tag terrorists, how can we win against Russia or China?” The mailer stated that this sends a message that the US “runs away” when the going gets tough. This was followed by some wise and coherent (not) words from Banderas that “whether we want to be in Iraq or not, if we pull out, this could or could not doom our future when it comes to fighting a war on terror in, in all over the world.”

One mailer complained that there is too much discussion of threats (Comment: ya think!) which led to Banderas' question “are we ready for a summer strike?” The consensus was that we need to be “observant and vigilant.”

Comment: I was disappointed that one tabloid story, from the past week, didn’t get the tabloid treatment it deserved. Considering that The Big Story gave a lot of air time to the diaper wearing astronaut, it was odd that David Vitter was mentioned only as an embarrassment to Giuliani’s campaign (no specific reference to what really happened). But I digress. Are you scared, yet?

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla