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

FBI: Racial profiling targets businessmen "in the area for legitimate reasons"

Reported by Chrish - May 12, 2008 -

We have another item to add to Bill O'Reilly's record of wrongness. In this case, he smeared a major newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and sicced stalker-producer Jesse Watters on the editor at his home to demand he defend his decision to not run photos of two men deemed to be "acting suspiciously" on a ferry. Turns out the paper was correct to not participate in the unfounded fearmongering and O'Reilly owes apologies all around. Riiiight, that'll happen.

Last November O'Reilly dredged up a story from August about two men thought to be "behaving suspiciously" and attacked the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for not publishing a photo of the two "because neither man is considered a suspect nor has either been charged with a crime." With a few simplisitc sentences he erased their journalistic integrity and instead accused them of having an anti-Bush agenda:

So now we have a situation where some Americans are putting all of us in danger because they hate Mr. Bush so much.

First, last summer the FBI in Seattle wanted to question two men who were seen on a ferry acting suspiciously. The bureau asked the Seattle media to publish pictures of the men. The Seattle Times and most TV stations did, but the Seattle Post-Intelligencer would not.

The men remain at large The FBI is still looking for them. But the Post-Intelligencer remains unrepentant.

So incensed was he at the 3 month-old non-story that he sent stalker Watters to Washington to ambush the editor - at his home - to ask his similarly simplistic and loaded questions:

WATTERS: Hey, you didn't cooperate with the FBI and publish those photographs for those guys on the ferry? Do you think that was a responsible decision?

OGLESBY: I'm afraid I don't have anything to say to Mr. O'Reilly. Thank you very much.

WATTERS: Are you proud of that decision, sir? I mean, they still haven't found these guys.

OGLESBY: Thank you, guys.

WATTERS: So these guys are still on the loose. You don't have anything to say about this, sir?

Now, the FBI says men in ferry photo were innocent sightseers.

"The men appeared at a U.S. Embassy two weeks ago and identified themselves as European business consultants who were on a trip to Seattle, FBI officials said Monday.

Special Agent in Charge Laura Laughlin said the men took a couple of days off in the middle of the July visit and decided to ride a car ferry. They took photos to show relatives back home, she said.

FBI agents have seen the photos and found them to be innocuous, as were the pair's business activities, Laughlin said."

So men deemed "suspicious" by racial-profiling, paranoid Americans were made internationally infamous and had to come forward and submit to scrutiny to maintain their good names. Innocent until proven guilty, unless you're not white. CAIR's Ibrahim Cooper did not criticize the FBI for following up on the reports, but was less positive about the media handling:

"Anti-Muslim Internet hate sites; the bloggers; the ones that routinely say 'round up the usual Muslim suspects'; the extremist commentators that would be willing give up the rights of others to create a false sense of security for themselves.

"Media outlets that chose not to pander to this type of hysteria made the right choice and indeed protected the reputation of people who were doing nothing more than sightseeing."

Of course O'Reilly won't apologize or even acknowledge the wrongness of tracking the editor like a criminal, or his far-reaching smears of the paper's standards and motivation. Keep in mind that he didn't merely report about the (suspicious" men or note the paper's choice to omit the picturesHe may even use the outcome as proof that the media pressure "solved" the question of the businessmen's innocence, sine it was never presumed in the first place. But that conclusion will be all spin.