Bill O’Reilly has put aside his crusade against the Denver Post, at least for now, and taken up his pitchfork against Tom Brokaw. Brokaw, you see, had the audacity to suggest that Americans should examine the role United States drones may have played in the radicalization of Muslims such as the Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev. O'Reilly twisted Brokaw's words to accuse him of arguing that America doesn't have "a right to defend itself." And then baselessly suggested his trumped-up mindset is that of a "cadre" of Americans.
Brokaw said on Meet The Press on Sunday:
But I think that there’s something else that goes beyond the event that we’ve all been riveted by in the last week. We have to work a lot harder as a motivation here. What prompts a young man to come to this country and still feel alienated from it, to go back to Russia and do whatever he did and I don’t think we’ve examined that enough? I mean, there was 24/7 coverage on television, a lot of newspaper print and so on, but we have got to look at the roots of all of this because it exist across the whole subcontinent, and the—and the Islamic world around the world. And I think we also have to examine the use of drones that the United States is involved and—and there are a lot of civilians who are innocently killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq. And I can tell you having spent a lot of time over there, young people will come up to me on the streets and say we love America. If you harm one hair on the—on the head of my sister, I will fight you forever and there is this enormous rage against what they see in that part of the world as a presumptuousness of the United States.
What? Suggest that anything the U.S. does might play a role in an Islamic terror attack? Why, that’s only OK if you’re a conservative on Fox. Same thing if you want to politicize the Boston bombings. Because while O’Reilly seems to have no problem with people like Sen. Lindsey Graham gratuitously inserting himself into the news to attack the administration for not charging Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an "enemy combatant" or Fox contributor Peter Johnson, Jr. saying he was “devastated” by President Obama calling for restraint and caution in the wake of the bombings or Tucker Carlson trotting out a Ft. Hood victim to baselessly suggest that the Obama administration’s “political correctness” (i.e., overly friendly to Muslims) may be to blame for both attacks – this statement by Brokaw is the kind of politicization that O’Reilly must crusade against – for the good of the country, of course.
In typical Fox-News-as-tabloid fashion, O’Reilly distorted the substance of Brokaw’s comments in order to make sensationalized, bully-boy insinuations that a newsperson who just happens to work for Fox’s competitor is anti-American.
Shaking his head with Papa Bear disgust, O’Reilly said, “Let me get this straight, Tom. We shouldn’t use drones to attack Al Qaeda leadership or Taliban terrorists hiding in the mountains of Pakistan.” O’Reilly almost surely knew – or should have known – that that’s not at all what Brokaw said. He said we need to examine our use of drones in order to better understand Muslim antipathy toward the U.S. He never said scrap the drone program. He never even called for its modification.
O’Reilly challenged Brokaw to come on the program and explain whether we should “invade”Pakistan or just “sit back and let terrorists hatch their plots.” “It’s either or, Tom,” O’Reilly said, once again conveniently missing Brokaw's point. But in a suggestion that what had really ticked O’Reilly off was some kind of personal slight, he claimed that Brokaw would never come on the Factor and “associate with the peasants.”
But any experienced Fox watcher ought to know where O’Reilly was heading: using the Boston bombings to smear the left as anti-American and, ultimately, blaming them for anything and everything that Fox can fear monger about.
First, O’Reilly stretched the truth a little further:
Now we have a cadre of Americans who, for some reason, don’t feel that America has a right to defend itself.
Then he moved in against his real target:
…It’s time to knock off the nonsense. The war on terrorism is real. The dead and wounded in Boston are real and this ridiculous left-wing moral equivalency is insulting.
What's really insulting is that a prime time news host would distort the words of a pundit, avoid the substance of his comments, then put forth the distortion as news and use that hocus pocus as political fodder against the usual Fox News targets. But this is the kind of thing that goes on daily, if not hourly, on Fox.
For “reaction,” O'Reilly brought in Mary Katharine Ham and Juan Williams. You may recall that Williams made news – and got fired from NPR – after saying that he gets “nervous” when he sees people dressed in “Muslim garb” on a plane. So it was no big surprise that Williams agreed with O’Reilly here. Never mind how O’Reilly stretched the truth or was clearly exploiting minor comments in order to hate monger during a time of national unease. Williams either missed or ignored those larger issues.
I don’t understand what they’re talking about. To me, there’s a big difference between an actor of terror, Bill, which is what happened in Boston, and an act of war, which is what the U.S. uses to go after people who are, in fact, engaging in terrorism and trying to hatch plots to kill us.
Williams gets paid big bucks to know current affairs so it’s hard to believe he doesn’t understand that many innocents get killed by American drones – and in countries like Yemen and Pakistan that are supposedly our allies. For example, in a fascinating interview on Democracy Now this morning, Jeremy Scahill, author of a new book called, “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,” said:
Because the United States doesn’t have any actual intelligence on the ground in Yemen, they’ve taken to doing these signature strikes where they develop a pattern of life, and they say, if people are in a certain region of Yemen or Pakistan or Somalia—if people are in a certain region and they’re of military age—they could be anywhere from 15 to 70 years old—and they fit some kind of a pattern of other people we believe to be terrorists, then they become legitimate targets. So it’s the most horrific form of pre-crime. They don’t know the identities of the people that they’re killing. They don’t know whether they’ve been involved with any activity. They’re killed for who they might be or they might one day become. And so, for whatever reason Abdulrahman Awlaki was killed that day, the message that was sent is that the U.S. will operate with impunity in pursuit of a small number of people, and even U.S. citizens can be killed, with no explanation as to why, by their own government.
Again, Brokaw was not saying the U.S. should never engage in such behavior, he was saying we need to consider its consequences. But substantive discussion is for other news networks, not “fair and balanced” Fox.
Instead, O’Reilly mocked Brokaw by saying, “Hey, Tom, did you ever hear of Hiroshima? Nagasaki? Dresden? Alright? How about that Tom!”
“Brokaw isn’t one of my favorites. He tends to go easy on the GOPigs.”
Naturally Visitor 55. Don’t forget who his bosses are: two DYED-IN-THE-WOOL RIGHTWINGERS named Brian Roberts (CEO of Comcast Corporation, the majority owner [51%] of NBC Universal) and Jeff Immelt (Chairman and CEO of General Electric, the #2 owner [49%]).
The issue isn’t whether someone aimed a drone at a civilian group on purpose. It’s about viewing the civilians that get killed as “collateral damage”. They aren’t just numbers on a sheet, as their families will attest.
The wildest part about this is that Tom Brokaw is by no means a left-wing reporter. He just isn’t toeing a hard enough right wing line for O’Reilly. His comments above are actually quite mild, which is typical for him. I think Ellen is on to something about O’Reilly being upset that Brokaw won’t likely be coming on his show to be yelled at in person. O’Reilly’s ego seems unsuited to admitting that he is not a legitimate journalist or an authority figure that other news figures need to answer to. O’Reilly has every right to pontificate – but he crosses the line when he expects everyone else to kowtow to him.
I’m sure Tom’s heard of all three. He’d also be ready to point out that, in ALL three cases, actual military personnel FLEW THOSE MISSIONS, putting their own lives at risk from anti-aircraft weapons on the ground, as well as enemy aircraft.
And I’m sure that Tom would also point out that all three incidents have come under a great deal of criticism as having been little different in scope than the crimes for which German and Japanese military officials were tried following WWII. Yes, yes, historians have made some distinctions but historians who work from an ethical perspective (granted, that IS a phrase with which FoxNoise folks would be unfamiliar) tend to not see a difference in the mass slaughter of innocent German and Japanese civilians at the hands of Allied weapons of mass destruction and the mass slaughter of innocent European and Asian populations at the hands of Axis weapons of mass destruction.
1 – Andrea sued me ’cause my phone calls were too respectful. How wuz I to know she was a total pervert?
2 – My calling out for the murder of Dr. Tiller is the highlight of My Life! How wuz I to know the Family Research Council would make it a closed award? I mean really! Aren’t we all Proud Lynch Mob Americans?!!!
3 – My wife bought her own house last year. She uses it to try furnishing ideas using feng shui. That way it’s win-win! She gets to play around and we both live with my decisions!!
4 – Good Parenting is easy! That’s why I love it here at Fux Nuze where I’m Daddy to all America!