As your humble servants have already reported, Fox News is going all out to slam Obama for the situation in the Middle East, and last night's Factor was no exception. Bill O’Reilly spent a good part of his program hammering home to viewers that Obama’s approach to the Muslim world - that of reaching out a friendly hand to governments who weren't our friends - has failed, and that there should be “punishment” instead.
O'Reilly used his Talking Points to berate Obama for trying to build up friendly relations with countries – he specifically mentioned Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya and particularly Egypt post-Mubarak – who will never be our friends. Obama, he said, has “an obligation – an obligation!” – to " punish governments like Egypt which allow attacks on American citizens." He suggested cutting off aid, but also implied there should be more, though he didn't say exactly what.
He then brought in Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is Muslim. Ellison started by saying O’Reilly was “grossly overgeneralizing,” and reminded him that the rioters and attack forces did not represent those countries’ governments. He noted, first, that Libyans had held up placards on TV saying they apologized and appreciated slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens (I'm checking to see if that made it onto Fox News, gentle reader, but I haven't seen it so far), then that the governments of Libya, Egypt and Yemen have apologized to the US., then that the Muslim world was much bigger than the five countries O’Reilly had specified, and finally, that the troublemakers “don’t represent the vast majority of the people who live in these countries.”
O’Reilly was having none of it. He referred repeatedly to a report that the Egyptian government had advance warning of possible attacks on the US embassy, but did nothing to stop them. (Not sure where he got the report because he didn't cite it - maybe it was this. If so, he left out an important point, i.e. that it was US intelligence who warned the Egyptians about the attack. Hmmm. If he'd mentioned it, would that have made the Obama administration look too competent?)
"The Egyptian government knew that the demonstrators were going to attack the embassy and didn’t stop it," O'Reilly challenged. "How would you punish the Egyptian government for what happened this week?” Let’s get to the bottom of it first, Ellison replied, let's get the facts. We know the facts, said O’Reilly, getting more heated by the moment. “The embassy in Cairo knew the attack was coming... So let’s not play games, Congressman.” Ellison said there should be serious conversations between the US and Egypt. There have been, shouted O’Reilly, all last year. A "spirited exchange" ensued thereupon. “You’re trying to get me to commit to a course of action before we even know all that we need to know to make a good decision,” Ellison replied determinedly. It’ll be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, said O’Reilly, that both the Egyptian and Libyan attacks were planned “on 9/11, as a deliberate act of war against the United States.” (in his mind, it’s clearly proven already). And then, the government will have to acknowledge that it's no use making nice with the Muslim world and start considering this unspecified punishment.
Fox Nation headlined its post on this interview with typical bloodthirsty hyperbole: “O’Reilly Absolutely Slaughters Keith Ellison” (who was a wee bit uptight maybe, gentle reader, but didn't look slaughtered to me.) And readers lined up to join the slaughter with remarks aimed personally at the Congressman:
That man is seriously and pathologically deluded if he thinks America can impose its will on the rest of the world through force. With only 314 million Americans total, he wants to use force against 1.6 billion (that’s BILLION) Muslims throughout the world?
Like all war-mongerers he thinks he won’t be directly affected and he may even think that using the nuclear bomb would be justified. He’s that stupid.
@Kelstar: none of the foxies are interested in the voice of calm reason. On F&F yesterday (watched it from start to finish), Congressman Rogers (R-MI), Chris Wallace and John Podhoretz (sp?) were pretty much ignored after not following the leading questions. McCain did the same and was ignored.
A fun moment on yesterday’s F&F was the exchange between Chris Wallace and Gretchen: Comedy gold.
I’m sure Keith would love to avoid O’Reilly but someone has to present the voice of calm reason. Bill didn’t slaughter anyone. To all but the lowest form of Fox viewers Bill looked like a loud mouthed bullying asshole while Keith was the consummate professional.
Well played Mr. Ellison and thank you.