The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Harmonic Convergence of Fox's Baleful Idiocy

DC Media Girl a few days ago linked to Bill Reilly's latest inanity:

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, in his "Talking Points Memo," lumped together as "extremists" those "who think that documentary Outfoxed tells the truth" about Fox News with those who "admire the philosophy of the Third Reich." O’Reilly defined an extremist as a "someone who rejects facts and holds on to opinions no matter what," which he said was a "neurosis," and then provided a "short list of indicators."

Fair enough. But then consider this item from a regular Fox News contributor to Weekend Live:

LOFTUS: Well, Al-Muhajiroun has offices in both New York and London. They were the parent organization, the Finsbury Mosque, of the subway bombings. Their leadership inNew York was responsible for planning the subway bombings. What we're finding out is that they have a sister organization called Hizb al-Tahrir. And al-Tahriris, if you will, the operational or training arm, Muhajiroun is the recruiting arm. Now the Russian Secret Service says that Hizb al-Tahrir is the secret radical arm of the Muslim brotherhood. This it the granddaddy of all the terrorist organizations. It goes back to the old Arab Nazi movement of the 1940s. And they worked for the British Secret Service. Then our CIA dumped them in Saudi Arabia, where they were running schools for young kids like Usama BinLaden. But these folks have come home to roost. We have found out definitely, Bill Warner has found, that the new elected leader of the terrorist group Hizbal-Tahrir lives in Orange County, California. And that he has direct ties with the same groups in London. In fact, the group, the Islamic Thinkers Society in New York--that used to be the address, the post office box, of Iyad Kilal, also called Abu Tarik. And he lives at 500 Gerry Street, in La Habra, California--

What was that? A name and address on the air of a known terrorist? Oh my.

Here's the LA Times take on the subsequent reaction.

In what Fox News officials concede was a mistake, John Loftus, a former U.S. prosecutor, gave out the address Aug. 7, saying it was the home of a Middle Eastern man, Iyad K. Hilal, who was the leader of a terrorist group with ties to those responsible for the July 7 bombings in London. Hilal, whom Loftus identified by name during the broadcast, moved out of the house about three years ago. But the consequences were immediate for the Voricks.


A driver yelled a profanity at the family and called them terrorists as they barbecued on their patio Aug. 14. Some drivers have stopped and photographed the house, Randy Vorick said. Last weekend, someone spray-painted "Terrist" on their home. Police, who have regularly patrolled their house since the day after the broadcast, now station a squad car across the street.

It figures that the Fox News watching Yahoos can't spell terrorist.

But wait! It actually gets better because Fox managed to drag the LA Times down with it in this whole mess. It turns out the terrorist who used to live in the Voricks house is a grocery store owner who is not under investigation currently and may not even be the same person who has been named in testimony given overseas by Omar Bakri Mohamed.

FOR THE RECORD: Grocery store owner —An article in Thursday's California section reported on statements made by John Loftus, a commentator for Fox News, describing grocery store owner Iyad K. Hilal as a terrorist. Although the article accurately quoted Loftus' expression of his opinion, The Times wants to make clear that Hilal has not been charged with any illegal activity and The Times is not aware of any law enforcement agency or official that has identified Hilal as a terrorist. In addition, a previous story on Hilal, which ran in some editions of the California section on Wednesday, said that Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Muslim cleric formerly based in London, had identified Hilal last year in an interview in a newsletter as "leader of the U.S. branch" of an organization known as Hizb ut-Tahrir. Mohammed's interview actually identified a man named Iyad Hilal as the leader of a splinter group of Hizb ut-Tahrir that includes only "a few individuals." The Times regrets any ! confusion that may have resulted from these articles.

The other day I went to breakfast with a elder statesman in Colorado who lamented the deterioration of the media and the disappearance of outrage in our society. This story has gotten limited play. As has the plight of the 2 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo without charges (covered here) and the 60 Israeli Jews who were held as persons of interest after 9/11 for over two months without charges and without bond -- their crime? Their Middle Eastern background.