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Fox News Cranks Up The Anti-Islamicism In Wake Of Christmas Terrorism Incident

Reported by Ellen - December 27, 2009 -

Fox News trotted out two Islamophobes as terrorism experts on last night’s (12/26/09) special On The Record devoted to the botched terror attack on board a Northwest Airlines airplane on Christmas as it approached Detroit. Each guest ignored the gist of Greta Van Susteren’s inquiries, in which she questioned the effectiveness of security procedures and responses, in order to push their anti-Islamic agenda and suggest that the only real security improvements needed are less political correctness and more anti-Islamicism. The second guest, Harvey Kushner, even went so far as to suggest that the suspect could not have been well trained by Al Qaeda because otherwise, he would not have chosen Detroit, which has such a high concentration of Muslims, as the nearby scene of his crime. Kudos to Van Susteren for refusing to engage on that level with either guest and for flatly rejecting the theory about Detroit. With video.

First up on the show was the discredited Islamophobe Steve Emerson. As FAIR has reported, Emerson’s work has been cited for misrepresentations and anti-Arab bias. He has also made some major gaffes, including his claim that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing showed "a Middle Eastern trait" because it "was done with the intent to inflict as many casualties as possible." As we previously reported, Emerson alleged on Hannity & Colmes in January, 2008 that radical jihadists have infiltrated the Pentagon, FBI and other U.S. agencies. Yet, when he appeared on the show again a year later, nobody asked any follow up questions.

Emerson wasted no time getting to his anti-Islamic agenda last night. Van Susteren’s main point, that she repeatedly returned to throughout the show, was that there were numerous red flags airline security should have heeded about the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. She questioned why that had not happened and the seemingly illogical responses in the wake of the incident: not allowing passengers any blankets, restricting carry ons to one item and not allowing passengers to leave their seats during the last hour of flights. Van Susteren said that the incident “shows how porous our security is… This whole thing is deeply disturbing as to how effective we are at protecting ourselves.”

Emerson ignored what she was saying in order to push his anti-Islamicism, suggesting that the whole problem with our security is that we're too sensitive toward Muslims. “Well, there’s also, Greta, the issue of political correctness because, frankly, you saw that in the case of Major Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood when no one wanted to report him as an Islamic extremist because they feared that they would be called ‘bigots’ or ‘Islamophobes.’ So I think we have to take that into account now that the political correctness has shifted the pendulum in such a way that people are afraid to actually investigate radical Islamic extremists for fear that they might be racially profiling.” He offered no evidence that fear of being called a bigot was behind the failure to flag Abdulmutallab. Emerson went on to point out “tell tale signs of somebody who’s up to no good” about Abdulmutallab’s behavior that should have triggered a security response: the fact that he paid cash for his ticket in Nigeria, had no checked luggage and only one carry-on bag, that there was some intelligence affiliating him with Al Qaeda. Interestingly, none of the warning signs had to do with the fact that he’s Islamic.

A few segments later, Van Susteren hosted Harvey Kushner, a fear monger in the guise of an “intelligence analyst.” Like Emerson, Kushner also told Fox News viewers that Islamic extremists, in cahoots with American radicals, have infiltrated a host of U.S. institutions:

"You know what (Islamic militants) are doing? They're capturing the minds of American children. What they're doing is infiltrating our universities. Our universities are hotbeds for leftist rhetoric, anti-American thought. From Columbia University to state universities are (sic) people who espouse anti-Americanism are welcome. People such as myself are booed... This is what's occurring in our universities.

"…We have to go after people who are here. We're not fighting 'em over there, they're here. This is a war that's taking place on our soil, continues to take place on our soil and if we don't realize that if the elephant is in our living room and we smell its peanuts on its breath and deal with it, we're gonna go further down the road to decadence. It's already happening. They've infiltrated Washington, they've infiltrated the beltway, certainly they're into our prisons, certainly they have charities collecting money.."

Also like Emerson, Kushner made a beeline for his anti-Islamic talking points. First, Kushner compared Abdulmutallab to “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. According to Kushner, Reid was able to board an American plane because “we don’t question people… It’s not politically correct to do this.”

Van Susteren said it was Amsterdam (where Abdulmutallab boarded) that should have questioned him.

“Yes,” Kushner acknowledged. But he also quickly pointed to the same red flags Emerson did, that Abdulmutallab paid cash, had no luggage, etc. So, Kushner said, there was no reason that Abdulmutallab should not have been questioned.

Van Susteren reiterated, “It’s so insane… (the solution) was right there in front of us,” meaning that there were so many obvious warning signs about Abdulmutallab that the airline and/or security should have heeded instead of "solving" the problem by denying passengers blankets, carry on luggage and going to the bathroom for an hour.

“That’s right,” Kushner said, and went right back to his anti-Islamicism. Without offering any evidence, Kushner also compared the incident to Fort Hood, “when nobody wanted to call this guy out… The same thing here.”

Van Susteren asked Kushner about the suspect being granted a “multi-entry visa to the United States... That’s not someone sneaking in. We considered this person,” she said. “It’s not like he slipped over the border.”

“Another interesting thing, Greta,” Kushner said. “If you had to pick a list of top ten places where you wouldn’t have an incident like that, one would pick the hub, Detroit. You’d think, going into LAX, you’d think going into Chicago, you’d think going into Miami, you’d think going into New York, why not Detroit? Detroit has the highest concentration of Muslim Americans.”

“That one – you can’t grab me on that one,” Van Susteren said.

“That’s the same logic, by looking at the…” Kushner began.

“You lost me on that one, Harvey,” Van Susteren said, shuffling her papers with obvious impatience.

“Give me a second, I’ll explain why,” he pressed. The music began, signaling the end of the segment. Kushner continued, “This individual wasn’t well trained. He just picked out some place to go… This wasn’t an Al Qaeda hit. This was just a wannabe…”

I predict we'll be seeing a lot more anti-Islamic fear mongering about this incident on Fox in the near future - in between the times they'll be using it to attack President Obama.