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John Bolton Sneers At Fox News’ Own Reporting To Fear Monger About Islamic Extremism In Egypt

Reported by Ellen - January 29, 2011 -

Fox News’ Courtney Kealy gave an on-the-ground report on the uprising in Egypt for On The Record last night (1/28/11). Among other things, Kealy told host Greta Van Susteren that the demonstrations were secular and that there was “no extremism rhetoric whatsoever.” Kealy also said that the demonstrations were “all about Mubarek” and getting him out of office and added that they were “not the kind of protests I’ve seen in the Arab world that hinge on extremism or anger.” But immediately following Kealy’s report, Fox News contributor John Bolton sneered at and then contradicted her reporting in order to fear monger about Islamic extremism taking over. Host Greta Van Susteren didn’t even ask how he had formed such a disparate opinion.

When Bolton came on, he immediately worked to undermine Kealy’s report, saying, “I would beg to disagree a little bit with that last reporter. We are not on the verge of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius in Egypt if only the demonstrators get their way. It’s a lot more complex than that.”

According to Fox News’ bio, Kealy has been based in the Middle East for 9 years. She’s been reporting from Fox News in Baghdad since July 2005. She may have been wrong, of course, but she’s hardly a starry-eyed know-nothing about Middle East politics. Presumably, Fox sent her to Egypt because they trust her reporting. Also, she was there. Bolton was not.

Later, Van Susteren asked, “Why have we been propping up Mubarek all these years?”

Bolton replied, “I don’t think it’s really propping up Mubarek.” He added that it’s the regime we’ve been supporting, since the Carter administration, “because of the Camp David accord. We have a profound interest in the stability of the Israeli/Egyptian peace relationship. We’ve got an enormously strong relationship with the Egyptian military. Mubarek, while no Jeffersonian democrat to be sure, has been an American ally for 30 years. These are not things you toss away lightly against the promise, the hope, the aspiration for sweetness and light and democratic government.” As Think Progress noted, this is quite a turnaround for Bolton who had previously touted democracy promotion as one of his priorities while he was part of the Bush administration.

Van Susteren didn’t seem to notice that disconnect. Even worse, she didn’t seem to notice the disconnect from what had occurred moments earlier on her own show.

In almost complete contradiction to Kealy’s reporting, Bolton said,

“If the Muslim Brotherhood can bring down the government here and install an Islamic radical regime there in control of the Suez Canal, one can only wonder what will happen in the oil-rich kingdoms of the Arabian peninsula so there’s a lot that rides on the outcome of this that will have a direct impact on America’s economy and America’s security.”

I don’t pretend to know enough about the situation to say that there’s no likelihood whatsoever of radical Islamic involvement in the situation in Egypt now or in any possible future government without Mubarek. But after hearing from a seasoned reporter who was actually at the protests that it wasn’t about that and then hearing from a warmongering possible presidential candidate that it was, I think I and the Fox News viewers at least deserved some challenge from the host as to why we should believe him.

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