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Fox News Conservatives Gripe Over North Korea’s Release Of Journalists

Reported by Ellen - August 5, 2009 -

Self-styled “Great American” Sean Hannity and his guest, Fox News contributor Dana Perino, claimed to be happy last night (8/4/09) about the release of Current TV’s two journalists from imprisonment in North Korea, but everything else said and unsaid indicated otherwise. There was no joy from Hannity or Perino about two young ladies being pardoned from their sentence of 12 years of hard labor, no curiosity about how they had been treated during their five months in captivity, whether they were well and how their friends and families had coped during the ordeal. Instead, Hannity and Perino took swipes at Obama and Clinton by whining that foreign policy may have been compromised, though they never offered any evidence that it had. Elsewhere, Fox News contributor John Bolton also sneered at the release as did Fox News producers and editors. With video.

Hannity’s opening comment for the discussion set the damn-the-release-with-faint-praise tone. “Nobody’s unhappy here that these journalists were released. We’re all happy about it.” Then, without another thought for the well-being of the released journalists, he spent the rest of the segment focused on attacking Bill Clinton for negotiating with a dictator and accusing President Obama of staging the release as a PR stunt.

Perino had a similar outlook, except for the PR part. Without a drop of enthusiasm, she called it “wonderful that they are released” and then immediately said she had two questions. Neither were about the welfare of the released Americans. “One, how did they get there in the first place? I think this is a question that hasn’t been asked enough… Whose idea was it to send these young women into North Korea?” Since the two work for Current TV, owned by Al Gore, it was a clear jab at him. “I think we need some answers on that… ultimately, (Gore) is responsible.” Then, she added that she thought “the books were cooked beforehand,” meaning that some nefarious deal had been struck by the Obama administration. “What was offered and what was said in response for (the release).”

Fine, those are legitimate issues but to have them the only part of the “breaking news” to be discussed is more than a little ungracious and it shows an astonishing lack of concern for the safety of two fellow citizens.

Hannity took it a step further by suggesting that some conspiracy to undermine the country was afoot. “Did America… potentially give up something that we may not find out about for some time?”

The other guest, Alexis Glick, of Fox Business Network, was the only one to extol the successful outcome, albeit mildly. “I may be naïve in terms of diplomacy… I think it’s great!” She also later pointed out that there is no evidence of any nefarious deal.

“Kim Jong-Il didn’t do this for nothing,” Perino groused. But the only "evidence" she could offer was, “Now he’s got all sorts of pictures with him with President Clinton that he can blast all over his country.”

“Are we rewarding North Korea for their bad behavior?” Hannity asked. Why do I think that if it had been his daughter in jail that he would have seen it differently? But with her safe in his multi-million dollar mansion, he had no problem with other Americans’ kids staying in jail to suit his political purposes. “This comes perilously close to negotiating with terrorists… What if there was some special deal?” Not that he offered any indications that there had been.

But Hannity was not done smearing. “Obama’s poll numbers have been going down (actually, they’ve been ticking up), the stimulus has failed (wrong again), people have turned against health care (not really), …and then this news breaks. This is gonna be the news in every newspaper across the country, every newscast across the country… When you have bad news like this, you want to change the topic.”

Not even Perino bought that. “No, I don’t think that that’s the case… I think it’s good that they are back,” she said. Then she immediately turned sour again. “It bothers me, though, that Kim Jong-Il gets to have a chance for all the world to see… like a good guy.” I wonder how many of her children she’d sacrifice to 12 years of hard labor for that noble principle. “He has no regard for human life at all.”

“None at all,” Hannity echoed. “No, none at all.”

Funny, but I’d say the ones without regard for human life in this situation were Hannity and Perino.

It wasn’t just Hannity and Perino. Fox News producers were similar killjoys. They called their video of the segment, “Sending the wrong message?”

As Alan Colmes blogged, FNC's Bolton made similar remarks.

And on Fox Nation, they buried the story at the bottom of the page. If you look to the far right of the screen grab, you can see how low on the page my scroll button was at the point of the story.