Pompeo called Hamas the “responsible party” for attacking Israel but he spent more time blaming President Joe Biden, all but accusing him of bankrolling the assault.
Unlike host Neil Cavuto did yesterday, Fox News Sunday anchor Shannon Bream offered no pushback to the political exploitation of Israel’s tragedy against Biden. In fact, she helped enable it.
In typical Fox News fashion, the Democratic guest, Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer appeared first, thus giving former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the advantage of having the last word.
Just before talking to Finer, Bream showed Fox anchor Bret Baier saying, “Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Senator Lindsey Graham both called this attack an intelligence failure.” She began, “Let's start there on the intelligence failure. There are fingers pointing at Israeli intelligence but also at U.S. intelligence that we didn't pick this up.”
As if the two things were equally responsible for the attack.
Finer responded that Biden has a 50-year record of solidarity, support and resolve for Israel and is focused on making sure they have everything needed to respond to the attack. He added, “There will be a time and place to look back on exactly how this happened, who knew what when, but that moment is not now when we're still in the throes of the attack. As your reporting just showed, this is still ongoing.”
Well, that’s only true if you care about facts more than propaganda. Since we know for sure Fox cares more about propaganda than facts. Why wait for facts when they might get in the way of the propaganda?
Just like Republican Rep. Kevin Hern, Bream kept suggesting that $6 billion of Iran’s own money, which the U.S. unfroze in exchange for the return of six Americans played a role in the attack.
BREAM: And a number of administration officials have been clear to come on and talk about the $6 billion in Iranian funds that were recently unfrozen, saying not a penny of that has been spent. It would not have had any way to flow into this particular conflict.
But "The Wall Street Journal" Editorial Board, when news of that unfreezing came said this: What stands out in this deal is a $6 billion ransom.
They refer to the secretary of state. They say: Though Mr. Blinken says it will only be available for humanitarian trade like food and medicine, the reality is that the waiver now frees up funds for Iran's nuclear program, terrorism and proxy wars.
Finer called those criticism “not well-founded and, frankly, inaccurate.” He said, “not a single dollar of that money has yet been spent.” He reiterated that the money can only be spent on humanitarian items. He added, “We're going to be watching that very closely as well and if Iran spends that money in ways that it's not supposed to, we will know."
Just as expected, Finer’s words went down a memory hole when Pompeo came on for GOP cleanup. He wasted no time suggesting the $6 billion was a direct cause of the attack.
POMPEO: You know, I was on this very show a few weeks back talking about the fact that when the United States pays a billion dollars per hostage, there will be more hostage-taking. Look what happened yesterday -- more hostages taken by the Iranian regime's proxy, Hamas, in Gaza.
This is a bad set of policies. When I hear Mr. Finer talk about the fact that that decision to give them $6 billion didn't matter, we can't forget too, we gave Palestinians $230 million on nearly day one of the Biden administration.
The responsible party here are the leadership, the terrorists in Gaza Strip, Hamas. They are funded by Iran and the United States policy to cozy up to Iran has created enormous risk for Israel which we are seeing play out today.
And you should know, too, the Gulf States all are watching what Iran is doing here. They can see. This was a moment of clarity for the world.
Do not avert your eyes. I hope the world will continue to watch what's taking place here because this is precisely why we built out a structure, which isolated Iran, caused at least four countries to normalize relationships with Israel and why when the Biden administration disrupted that, there's so much risk for the American people as well.
Bream sort of pushed back, quoting the National Review saying the attack "presumably scotches years of diplomacy quietly shepherded by both the Trump and Biden administrations.” She said nothing about the $6 billion not having been spent.
Instead, she opened the door for Pompeo to pre-blame Biden for any further spread of trouble. Referring to China, Russia, Ukraine and the U.S, she asked, “What do you make of the potential for broader impact as you just sort of touched on?” However, she fact-checked Pompeo’s assertion that the Biden administration “demanded” that Israel “allow this massacre to continue.”
POMPEO: Look, we have to focus on what's on -- what's going on the ground there today. There is an immediate crisis there. This was a massacre of innocents and civilians, and the Israelis must be provided everything they need to respond to this in a way that deters this from ever happening again.
That was the mistake. You know the opening moments after this attack, the Biden administration's team on the ground in Israel said, gosh, can't we all just get along? They issued a statement demanding that the Israelis essentially fold their tent and allow this massacre to continue. That was indecent --
BREAM: Just so we know that -- that was retracted. Just so folks know.
But Pompeo didn’t care about any retraction! Not when he had the chance to use a tragedy to smear a political opponent (and maybe help his chances for a top job in a GOP administration).
Pompeo went on to blame Biden for just about every single conflict in the world.
POMPEO: That's right. It was their first response. It was their instinct, Shannon. That's exactly right. This is the Biden administration's instinct. Appease at every turn. And it's how you get, precisely what you described. You described the fact we had 13 Americans killed in Afghanistan. We've seen coups in Africa. We have a ground war in Europe. We have a Chinese Communist Party that is threatening every one of its land-based neighbors and sea-based neighbors.
When America refuses to do the right thing and lead and use American power in ways that deter adversaries, they -- like the old Southwest Airlines line, they feel free to move about the cabin, Shannon. And that's bad for the United States of America. We now have a strategic petroleum reserve with just 17 days of oil amongst the lowest in our American history.
We've put America on its back foot. And when you do that, the Iranians will run roughshod over us. And I worry greatly that Hezbollah and Lebanon, the Iranians on the ground in Syria today, will seize this moment to do even more harm to the peace that we had built out in the Middle East over our four years in office.
Whenever Democrats decry U.S. lax gun laws after a mass shooting, Fox and their GOP pals attack Democrats for “politicizing tragedy” (which is really their sly way of doing exactly that). But calling for better protections from guns is a response that bears directly on the tragedy and offers a potential solution.
Pompeo did none of that here.
You can watch him politicize and exploit tragedy in Israel below, from the October 8, 2023 Fox News Sunday. Underneath, you can watch Finer sincerely and substantively discussing the matter.
I actually think Bream is a principled conservative and she’s not bad as Fox people go. She goes along to some degree with Fox propaganda and messaging. I usually highlight it not to make a point about her so much as to show how Fox’s propaganda permeates even it’s most “serious news,”
Still, I think Bream strives to be truthful and fair, at least to some degree. It probably helps that she’s not on a show where her role is to enable the likes of Watters, Guttfeld and Pirro, as Perino’s is.