Fox’s “fair and balanced” all-conservative, non-expert pundits discussed the missing Bob Levinson, the American not included in the recent Iran prisoner release, from one, uninformed perspective only: attacking the Obama administration.
Andrea Tantaros was, not surprisingly, the biggest griper. “I don’t think leaving an American behind is diplomacy working,” she sniped. “He should have been part of that deal. So it points to profound incompetence on behalf of an administration but also, again, one that’s comfortable leaving Americans behind in favor of legacy.”
Why? Because Benghazi!
“We saw this before on September 11, 2012,” she continued (the date of the attack on the American compound at Benghazi). “Why are they comfortable leaving Americans behind?”
First of all, this is quite a flip-flop considering how Fox keeps carping about the prisoner swap for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl that - that was done for the express purpose of not leaving Americans behind.
The 67-year-old Levinson, who served for more than two decades with the FBI before retiring, disappeared off Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007. For years the U.S. government said Levinson was working at the time as a private investigator, but in December 2013 his family acknowledged that he was, in fact, working as a freelance “spy” for a rogue CIA operation.
Family attorney David McGee told ABC News then that he felt the CIA and the FBI had betrayed Levinson and tried to hide the fact that he had a long-term relationship with the CIA, spying on Iran’s nuclear program and on the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
Whatever you think of the Obama administration and/or Iran, it's clear that the Levinson situation is sensitive and complicated and whatever talks are going on behind the scenes certainly will be disclosed while they are ongoing.
But Fox News “patriots” were more interested in conveying the impression that the government just dumped Levinson because he didn’t fit into the “diplomacy works” scenario. Even though, let me point out, not one of these tough talkers suggested an alternative.
Tantaros continued, “It does send a message to anyone else going overseas, are you on your own if you get yourself into some trouble?”
Then cohost Meghan McCain jumped in. “The thing I don’t understand is, John Kerry says he’s not sure whether he’s alive or not? At the same time, like, that seems like really weird spin at the same time. And I think the ultimate question that you raised is, are we exchanging these men, at what risk to our national security?”
“We don’t know if John Kerry is mentally alive or not. I mean, that’s more of the question at hand,” Tantaros “joked.” This is the same Andrea Tantaros who asked her radio show listeners to "do me a favor" and punch an Obama supporter "in the face."
McCain giggled heartily.
Watch what Fox calls “fair and balanced” discussion below, from the January 19 Outnumbered.
(H/T NewsHounds’ Richard)
Right — ’cause, when you want real insight on as complex a subject as international diplomatic relations, the FIRST place you should look is at a fabricated film that was a box office flop.
Then again, I guess this is what you should come to expect from the same people who thought Jack Bauer was a real person . . .
If you watch real news programming (as opposed to right-wing propaganda outlet Fox News), you might catch a real story on Levinson. I saw an interview of one of his relatives and, yep, he was admittedly a CIA contractor trying to make contact with an Iranian.
This is not me defending Iran’s lack of rule of law or prisoner abuse. Just the fact that he wasn’t some simple tourist kidnapped by the Iranian government while he was innocently photographing Azadi Tower.
While right-wing propaganda factory Fox News is spinning the heck out of the exchange story, PBS’ “NewsHour” did an excellent piece on it where they interviewed Brett McGurk, special envoy for the President, who headed the separate track negotiations. It’s a must-watch new piece to understand the deal.
Note it’s about 2-3 times longer than the typical Fox News segment but when you tell 1/2 the truth or less it doesn’t take as long.
Levinson’s family, on the other hand, are in such a frantic level of despair, understandably, that they’re lashing out at the closest target in the Obama admin., so of course Fox exploits their grief to slam Obama.
I do remember criticism of their priorities, particularly of Rice being in the pocket of Big Oil, but not in terms of her basic intelligence.
This is simply another cheap shot from Tantaros and Fox News, and should be recognized as such.