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John Gibson's Big Story Big on Misrepresentation

Reported by Judy - July 20, 2005

John Gibson did not just put words into the mouth of a guest on Wednesday (July 20, 2005). He stuffed a whole dictionary into the man's mouth, including the very dirty word of "Blackmail."

Gibson was doing a segment touching on a comment by London Mayor Ken Livingstone who said British foreign policy could have been a cause of the July 7 bombings there. Instead of interviewing the mayor, however, Gibson interviewed Ibrahim Mogra, one of several Muslim clerics from Britain who met with Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday.

Gibson began the segment by saying that the Muslims told Blair that the bombings are "really all the fault of the British government for going along with the Americans in the Iraq war. You think that's true?"

Mogra calmly replied, "That's not quite an accurate depiction of what was discussed. ... There is a relation between our foreign policy and terrorist activities in our country. It is not the only cause. It is not the only reason." Mogra said Muslims had told Blair before the Iraq war that the invasion would be "the most successful recruiting sergeant for those who wish to cause chaos in our world." He said, thought, that was no justification for the bombings. As Mogra spoke, Fox News displayed a banner that read, "Who's Blaming Britain for the London Bombings?"

After Mogra spoke, Gibson asked if that did not mean that Britain would have to change its foreign policy and if that meant terrorist bombers were dictating Britain's foreign policy. Mogra said that Britain needed to deal more "even-handedly" with all countries.

Gibson cut off Mogra rather abruptly at that point and went to his next guest, former FBI investigator and security consultant Bill Daly. "What did you think of our last guest, who said, this is really bad, we condemn bombing, but you know it's really the fault of the people who constructed this foreign policy and if you would just change your policy you would have less problem with bombers?"

As Daly started to answer, Gibson interrupted him with, "Blackmail. But did you actually hear a blackmail threat, if you don't stop this you're going to get more of it?"

Daly declined to play along. "I didn't hear it exactly that way. The subtlety of it was that if the policy changes, maybe these go away" (a view Daly did not agree with).

Subtlety? Daly was expecting Gibson to listen for subtlety in a guest's comments? Gibson had made up his mind what he wanted to hear from Mogra before the guy ever opened his mouth. What's more, he waited until he had dismissed Mogra before springing the "blackmail" argument.

This is one of those cases where a guest can prepare for an appearance on Fox News, have facts at hand, articulate the important points, and rebut everything Gibson throws out. But it all can go for naught once Gibson starts misstating what happened seconds before.

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